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Participating Curators and Artist Commissions Announced for Abu Dhabi Art 2023

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Abu Dhabi Art has today announced its forthcoming exhibitions and artist commissions for 2023.

The 2023 programme will include artists Almaha Jaralla, Samo Shalaby, and Latifa Saeed commissioned for Beyond Emerging Artists (BEA), curated by Morad Montazami; the 2023 Gateway exhibition, entitled Maqam, presenting a survey show for Emirati artist Hashel Al Lamki curated by Venetia Porter; and commissioned works in cultural sites across the emirate by established artists Nujoom Al Ghanem and Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim. The exhibitions and commissions will open to the public on 22 November and remain on view until the end of January 2024.

Since 2017, Beyond Emerging Artists (BEA) has provided three emerging artists in the UAE with a platform from which to develop their practice and realise ambitious art projects. The selected artists undertake a year-long programme of workshops and studio visits under the mentoring and the supervision of a guest curator which leads toward the realisation of new projects for the Abu Dhabi Art Fair in November. The works remain on exhibition to the public for several months beyond the fair dates.

The three appointed artists for BEA 2023 are Almaha Jaralla, Samo Shalaby and Latifa Saeed. Currently working on new commissions, the artists will be revealing their work at the Fair in an exhibition curated by art historian, publisher, and curator Morad Montazami.

Montazami commented: “It is a pleasure and honour to be appointed as the curator for the groundbreaking Beyond Emerging Artists programme for the 15th edition of the Abu Dhabi Art Fair. I am delighted to be collaborating with all three artists who have impressed me with their technical skills and interdisciplinary approach, but also their mindset and vision. Beyond their clear differences as artists, there are also shared concerns which connect them and bring them together. All three navigate an interesting path between private and public space, or the subjective and the collective. Even more importantly, each artist seems to look forward to taking a meaningful step in their career, in producing an innovative installation for BEA 2023.”

BEA is supported by the Friends of Abu Dhabi Art. Launched in 2021, Friends of Abu Dhabi Art is made up of individuals who are actively committed to supporting art and culture in the emirate.

Gateway Exhibition: Maqam
The annual exhibition Gateway, which highlights local and international artists through unique perspectives, this year is curated by Venetia Porter, who has chosen to present a survey show for Emirati painter and multi-disciplinary artist Hashel Al Lamki.

The exhibition, entitled Maqam - after the residential neighbourhood of Al Ain where Al Lamki grew up - invites visitors to journey alongside him as he unveils his artistic odyssey. Like the melodic compositions of the maqam in music - a traditional pattern of melodic elements - this exhibition weaves together Al Lamki’s past works and current creations, offering a comprehensive understanding of his artistic evolution and his ambitions for the future. Within this creative journey, the interplay between natural landscapes and human intervention echoes as a profound underlying theme.

Venetia Porter commented: “I first saw Hashel’s work at the Lyon Biennale (2022), Manifesto of Fragility, curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, and loved his large installation Rodinia. I was intrigued to find out more about him, and when I was invited to curate the Gateway show at 2023 Abu Dhabi Art, I immediately thought of him. Spending time with Hashel, I have been struck by the complexity and range of the art he has been making this past decade and his ambitions for the future. This show will reflect that, while also highlighting the depth of his love for Al Ain where he grew up, and his fascination with the geology and history of the UAE.”

Artist Commissions in Cultural Sites
Launched in 2017, Artist Commissions in Cultural Sites sees established artists invited to create site-specific works across Abu Dhabi emirate. The works by the commissioned artists will be revealed during the fair in November and remain on show to the public for two months afterwards.

This year’s commissioned artists are Nujoom Al Ghanem and Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, whose work will be showcased in Al Jahili Fort and Al Ain Oasis.

Renowned Emirati poet, artist, and multi-award-winning film director, Al Ghanem, commented: “I’m truly honoured to take part in this edition of the fair and I’m looking forward to sharing with its audience the work I’ve been creating since 2020. I spent a lifetime working in solitude under shades of colours and materials without knowing where my work will end up. Without realising it, art has become my magnificent companion and refuge. It has given me another medium of expression which turned out to be the most significant activity of my days.”

Through its year-round exhibitions and artist commissions, Abu Dhabi Art plays an integral role in supporting the art ecosystem in the region. The annual art fair continues to grow at a rapid pace as it reaches its 15th edition this November, recently announcing a record lineup of 90+ galleries from 31 countries in its biggest edition yet.

For further updates about the fair and programme, visit:

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