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Tenth Edition of Abu Dhabi Art Concludes After Successful Four-Day Fair

Annual event attracted prominent local and international collectors, museum groups and cultural figures

Abu Dhabi Art 2018 featured exhibitions, specially commissioned installations, performances and workshops



Abu Dhabi Art

The tenth edition of Abu Dhabi Art, which was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, concluded on Saturday 17th November after a successful four-day event which featured an extensive programme of talks, workshops and performances delivered by leading international artists, curators and creative professionals.

The milestone year for the event, which was opened by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, brought together 43 galleries from 19 different countries and reinforced Abu Dhabi’s reputation as an artistic hub on the international stage.

Abu Dhabi Art 2018 was attended by dignitaries including HH Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, HESheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance, HE Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, HE Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development and HE Zaki Nusseibeh, Minister of State. 

“As the tenth edition of Abu Dhabi Art comes to a close, this is the perfect moment to reflect on how far our annual art fair has already come, and also how far we may yet go in the future,” said HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi). “Abu Dhabi Art is now firmly established as a cornerstone cultural event on the arts calendar, not just locally, but also regionally and internationally, with galleries from across the world attracted to our emirate for this key event. Our amalgamation of the very best in Modern and Contemporary art with a vibrant public programme and an engaging community focus means that Abu Dhabi Art is going from strength to strength every year.

“The platform it provides has allowed a decade’s worth of attendees to engage with and purchase art, whilst also offering the tools to develop their knowledge of art practices. Just as we feel pride in what we have achieved so far, we are also conscious of the need to constantly evolve and grow along with both our local artistic communities, and also the international art scene. With everything we have achieved in our ten years so far, I am confident we have the tools and expertise to continue to provide a world-class art fair for decades to come.” 

Dyala Nusseibeh, Director of Abu DhabiArt said: “Abu Dhabi Art closed this year with strong sales for galleries, enthusiastic visitor attendance both at the Fair venue and to view works by commissioned artists in historic locations in Al Ain, an extended programme for Durub al Tawaya and a research-driven talks programme that broadened art conversations relating to the region. Our guest curators conceived and contributed thoughtful and expansive exhibitions whilst the strong numbers of artists present reflected the increasingly important role Abu Dhabi Art is beginning to play in the local and regional art community. We were happy to mark the decade with these highlights and look forward to growing the fair further in years to come.”

The four-day event also saw leading international curators, museum directors and board members touring the galleries.

Key sales during Abu Dhabi Art 2018 included a sculpture by Tunisian artist Khaled Ben Slimane which sold for $60,000 from El Marsa Gallery, Carpet Diem by Antonio Santin and works by Joseph Tong and Annie Morris from Mumbai-based Gallery Isa and a work by Eun-Mi Chae priced at $247,000 from Lee & Bae Gallery. Galleria Continua sold one work by Lorris Cecchini and the installation Towers of Love by Moataz Nasr, Aicon Gallery sold several works by Anila Quayyum Agha, the Naqsh Collective made several sales with prices from $7,500 to $72,000, three works by Etel Adnan sold from Sfeir-Semler Gallery and Lisson Gallery sold a work by Christopher Le Brun.

Newcomers to the Fair did equally well; Zawyeh Gallery sold key works by Nabil Anani, Plutschow Gallery sold works by Heinz Mack and Artside Gallery sold a large scale work by Jae Young Kim.

In the Focus section of the fair, artworks by Mohamed Kazem, from Isabelle van den Eyde, sculptures by Mona Saudi at Lawrie Shabib and works by Ahmed Morsi from Gypsum Gallery sold as well.

Both the regular and new programmes at this year’s event, which were curated by Dr. Omar Kholeif, Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, Hammad Nasar, Salwa Mikdadi, Nada Shabout, and Tarek Abou El-Fetouh, also saw high levels of community engagement with a number of elements of the fair’s programming set to continue over the coming weeks and months. Programmes including Beyond, Gateway, Letters, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection Commission andDurub al Tawaya will continue past the fair’s closing date.

Abu Dhabi Art 2018 featured Beyond: Artists Commissions, which in its second year presented a series of large-scale sculptures and installations across Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. Established Contemporary artists Imran Qureshi, Moataz Nasr and Ammar Al Attar were commissioned to create these site-specific works at Al Ain Oasis, Qasr Al Muwaiji and Al Jahili Fort. These installations will run until 26th January 2019.

The Beyond: Emerging Artists initiative curated by Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim provided three up-and-coming artists in the UAE with a platform to develop their skills and realise ambitious art projects, with this year’s artists being Ahmed Saeed Al Areef Al Dhaheri, Taqwa Al Naqbi and Dhabiya Al Rumaithi. 

During the fair, Manarat Al Saadiyat also welcomed children, teens and adults through an array of daily workshops and masterclasses.   

Abu Dhabi Art 2018 also featured a selection of food trucks from Pinza, Monkey Cookies, EAT, Karak House and XO Coffee, as well as local participation from Homegrown Market, Court 9, Al Ghadeer UAE Crafts and Azra, through a first time collaboration at the fair with festival organisers Festember. 

For more information on the full Abu Dhabi Art 2018 schedule, visit and follow Abu Dhabi Art on social media: FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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