The fourth edition of Emirati Expressions will open on November 12th, exhibiting works by 15 Emirati artists at Manarat Al Saadiyat and throughout the city of Abu Dhabi, alongside an exciting public programme of talks, workshops and publications.
The exhibition, entitled "Emirati Expressions IV: Conventions of Arts", which will be on display until March 31st 2016, will feature the work of Emirati artists whose projects oscillate naturally between design and fine art, combining languages of form and use to produce a communal, cultural art practice that is embedded in the social fabric of the UAE. Artworks will include wearable textiles, photography, furniture design, interactive video installations, paintings, illustrations, large-scale sculptures, and a live studio where artists will be working throughout the exhibition.
Alongside the main exhibition at Manarat Al Saadiyat, artists have been invited to produce site-specific works inspired by Abu Dhabi’s diverse and historic social clubs, including the Emirates Writers Union, Armed Forces Officers’ Club, Abu Dhabi Theatre, the Sudanese Club and the Yacht and Sailing Club. "Emirati Expressions IV: Conventions of Arts" will present especially commissioned artworks inspired by the dynamic archives of these interactive spaces for community engagement, interpreting them as precursors to modern cultural institutions.
Throughout the exhibition, "Emirati Expressions IV: Conventions of Arts" will also present a series of public events, artists’ talks and workshops that engage with the UAE arts community and wider population. The public programme of events will launch at Abu Dhabi Art in November 2015 and continue throughout the duration of the exhibition, Artscape, the popular event celebrating the arts of the UAE, will also return in February.
"Emirati Expressions IV: Conventions of Arts" is curated by Maisa Al Qassimi, Programmes Manager, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and Reem Fadda, Associate Curator, Middle Eastern Art for the Abu Dhabi Project of the Solomon R. Guggenheim, with Muneera Al Sayegh, Programmes Officer, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.
"Each edition of Emirati Expressions is driven by a unique curatorial idea that reflects the shared themes interwoven in the diverse practices of contemporary Emirati artists," said Maisa Al Qassimi. "For the 2015 exhibition, we engage with a theme of function and usability in art, arguing that fine art could be applied for use and dynamic interaction. Objects steered towards social engagement produce tangible cultural relationships that enhance and further their identities as artworks. The arts of the UAE have traditionally sought a more communal, socially based practice inspired by dynamic cultural institutions, and blend functional design with aesthetic creativity. In setting these artists and artworks into dialogue, the exhibition itself has become a process of artmaking, reflection and engagement with diverse participants and the wider societies of the UAE."
Reem Fadda said,"The diverse cultural production of the artists exhibited in "Emirati Expressions IV: Conventions of Arts" finds a common theme embedded in the social fabric of the UAE, where responsiveness to society is important and is reflected through art. The UAE’s various cultural clubs, which celebrate activities from the arts to sports and facilitate interactions between diverse communities, form hubs of social engagement with multicultural memberships and rich archives. Research into the historic and contemporary identities of these social clubs was the backdrop for this exhibition, allowing the artists and us to reflect on the community and city. By replacing the strictures of disciplinary and conceptual separation with multidisciplinary experimentation, this generation of Emirati artists is developing a body of immersive, engaged, socially relevant artwork."