ABOU DHABI, September 29, 2021 (WAM) – Abu Dhabi Art has announced the names of guest curators and commissioned artists for the 13th edition of its fair which will take place from November 17 to 21, in Manarat Al Saadiyat.
The list includes Simon Njami and Rose Lejeune who will be guest curators, while works commissioned by artists Aya Haidar, Hazem Harb, Dr. Najat Makki, Rasheed Araeen and Richard Atugonza will be included in the Beyond: Artist Commissions program.
Alongside these works, additional works by exhibiting artists, notably Alfredo Jaar represented by Giorgio Persano Gallery (Turin), Hera Büyüktaşcıyan, represented by Green Art Gallery (Dubai), Siah Armajani represented by Rossi & Rossi (London, Hong Kong ) and Zineb Sedira, represented by The Third Line (Dubai), will also be featured as part of Abu Dhabi Art, In & Around’s special installations sector.
Each year, distinguished guest curators work closely with a number of galleries exhibiting at the fair to present selected gallery sectors and programs. This year, Njami’s Galleries Sector will connect artists through the language of music, while Lejeune will bring together a new performance art program.
The Beyond: Artist Commissions program was launched in 2017 to showcase new in situ public installations by established artists in public spaces across the emirate. This year’s program is the most ambitious yet, with works presented in historical and cultural sites in the capital.
Beyond: Artist commissions will be launched during the fair and will remain open for three months as part of Abu Dhabi Art’s year-round programming. Each year the fair also features In & Around, with spaces spread throughout the fair venue for galleries to showcase large-scale installations outside of their booth space.
Commenting on the event, Dyala Nusseibeh, Director of Abu Dhabi Art, said: “We are delighted to be able to bring a physical experience to our visitors this year. It was important to allow our guest curators to bring their exhibits and research into the material. form at the fair this year, to allow gallery exhibitors to reconnect with our audience and show their work in real life, as well as commission new artists to create site-specific works for the emirate. a constant focus on a diverse and accessible public engagement program, on providing an important meeting point for international and local artists and galleries, and on supporting the local artistic ecosystem through our flagship event in November.”
For the very first digital edition of the fair in 2020, Njami hosted ‘The Day After’, dedicated to contemporary art from across the African continent, in an online-only format. This year, Njami will spotlight selected artists and galleries in a new curatorial setting, Kind of Blue.
The title of the exhibition refers to an album by Miles Davis, Njami positioning jazz music as a metaphor for the open parameters of the exhibition. Kind of Blue equates galleries to orchestras, each presenting musicians who together create a collective project larger than their singular expression. Kind of Blue refers to the improvisation exploited by the creation of jazz music as a means of creating a space for exploration and dialogue for these works to be understood together. Njami will present his curatorial vision at the fair, giving the public the opportunity to explore and experience this dynamic position firsthand in November.
“I am always interested in showcasing contemporary African art and for this year’s edition of Abu Dhabi Art, the African artists I have selected have unique techniques and ways of approaching contemporary issues,” said declared Njami. “They also come from various places, not just mainland Africa. Kind of Blue is based on a masterpiece album by jazz legend, Miles Davis. I chose jazz music as a metaphor for bringing people together. galleries that I invited to participate in this edition of the fair because, in my eyes, jazz is the best representation of the issue of ‘Contemporary African Art’. ”
“I am interested in bringing my theories and my vision to Abu Dhabi to initiate a new dialogue here, as I believe there is a cultural divide between the Middle East and Africa. Abu Dhabi can play a role in bridging this pit.”
Lejeune, curator of the fair’s public performing arts program in 2020, is also back for the 2021 edition with a diverse lineup of performances in different venues in Abu Dhabi. Lejeune will commission four artists including Louise Hervé and Clovis Maillet, French artists who explore projections of the future and anthropological knowledge through the language of performance and cinema; Mays Albaik, interdisciplinary Palestinian plastic artist mixing poetry, socio-politics and geography; Rand Abdul Jabbar, an Iraqi multidisciplinary artist based in Abu Dhabi whose socially engaged works intersect architecture and the visual arts; and Moscow-based Taus Makhacheva, whose Dagestan cultural origins inform his practice of installation and performance art.
Each commissioned artist will select a site for a live performance in different locations around Abu Dhabi and at the fair with the aim of providing an abstract and poetic experience of different monuments and sculptural landscapes around the city.
Lejeune said: “I am delighted to be invited to host a performance at Abu Dhabi Art again this year. Having worked in the ‘always live’ digital space in 2020, my 2021 program will put audiences back in the spotlight. temporal and physical space of the artists’ work; exploring the transformative power of storytelling to create a series of journeys through stories, memories and fictions – both at the fair and through the city itself. ”