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Is There an Art Scene in Abu Dhabi?

  • Maya Allison (a1)
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1 When a member of this art world over here (West Asia) enters that art world over there (US, UK, Europe), she faces the reality that her practice, and sometimes, her existence, needs to be “translated” into the new context. I notice the struggle writers have to discuss the work out of context. One can feel the temptation of phrases such as “the Picasso of India” (MF Hussain of India), or “the Keith Haring of the desert” (referring to Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, a core member of the longest-standing avant-garde in the UAE).

2 These two were represented in Ways of Seeing, a recent exhibition at the NYUAD Art Gallery guest-curated by Sam Bardouil and Till Fellrath, which included art from around the world, in dialogue with the idea of different viewer perspectives.

3 Traditional Emirati gowns, unlike the black Abayas worn over clothes, are covered in large brightly colored dots, known as teela fabric. Teela is also the name of a marble-type game played locally – two more points of resonance with the brightly colored dots of Sharif's fabric packages.

Is There an Art Scene in Abu Dhabi?

  • Maya Allison (a1)

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