DUBAI: The Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) has brought back its “Portrait of a Nation” exhibition series after the first iteration captured the UAE’s imagination.
Currently on display at Manarat Al-Saadiyat until April 16, the three-month exhibition is an exploration of the transformation of the UAE’s visual art scene in the last 50 years, shining a light on the people, history and stories that helped shape the country’s creative landscape.
Organized in conjunction with the 19th edition of Abu Dhabi Festival, the event is being held under the theme “Crafting the Emirates State of Mind: Creation, Innovation and Joy.”
“Portrait of a Nation” was curated by Maya El-Khalil and Roxane Zand, and the exhibition features works by artists, curators and gallerists who were born in the UAE or who have made the country their home, including the late artist Christo and his partner Jeanne-Claude.
The duo’s relationship with Abu Dhabi goes back to 1979 when they first visited the emirate. They have returned many times since, creating a longstanding friendship with the people of Abu Dhabi.
In light of this, “Portrait of a Nation” is paying homage to the late artists by way of a tribute that “highlights Christo’s pivotal role in nurturing young artists and his dedication to supporting creative talent in the UAE and the world,” Huda Ibrahim Alkhamis, founder of ADMAF and artistic director of Abu Dhabi Festival, said in a statement.
“The development of ‘Portrait of a Nation II: Beyond Narratives’ has been, from the beginning, a process of approaches — to people, histories, and stories,” said El-Khalil in a press statement.
“We present ways of tending to culture as space not time, recognizing that art is shaped by and through encounters that may lay dormant then return, that relationships accumulate significance in and with the places of their genesis and that people assimilate the ideas of their world into their activities. What emerges is a portrait of a multivalent and polyphonic community forged through camaraderie and exchange.”
More than 100 artworks — including 15 special commissions — are featured, telling the story of the country’s artistic growth over the past five decades.
Additionally, the exhibition features loans from esteemed art institutions including the Barjeel Art Foundation, the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, the Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah Museum, Art Jameel and NYU Abu Dhabi, among others.
Guests can also enjoy a number of productions, talks and workshops that are also taking place during the event.
Other highlights include the screening of Emirati director and artist Nujoom AlGhanem, who is presenting her short film “Passage,” commissioned by the National Pavilion UAE at the 2019 Venice Biennale, which was filmed in the UAE and Italy.
The Abu Dhabi Festival is also presenting its latest production of albums in an installation as part of the “Composers’ Platform” at Abu Dhabi Festival.
Art lovers can enjoy new music, including fresh productions from US-Saudi pop singer Tamtam, and Ihab Darwish, Omar Rahbany and Cairo Jazz Station, who debuted their first album at the event.
For more information visit abudhabifestival.ae.