Emirati artist Ebtisam Abdulaziz
In its mission to enrich cultural life for the Sharjah community and its regional, national, and international visitors, the Sharjah Art Museum brought together leading figures from the Emirati arts scene, who delivered a high-powered talk and
explored the past, present and future of arts in the UAE
The artists - Ebtisam Abdulaziz, Mattar Bin Lahej, Khawla Darwish and Naser Nasrallah - spoke about a range of subjects concerning arts during the event.
Looking back over the history of art in the country, they explored many of the issues around its development going forward - including the role of media and social media, the evolution of plastic arts and installations, and highlighted the importance of encouraging communication and cooperation between artists from different generations.
The event was moderated by Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al Qasimi, a UAE based commentator on Arab Affairs, who writes for many publications across the globe.
The participating artists are renowned for their work through a diverse range of media and themes.
Ebtisam Abdulaziz, recently named one of the 100 most powerful Arab women of 2013, incorporates issues of identity and culture through installations, videos, photographs, performance pieces and works on paper. Her work has been exhibited in many of the art world's leading cultural centres, from Dubai to Venice to Paris.
Self-taught Mattar Bin Lahej is accomplished in painting, sculpture and photography, and cites movement as his main inspiration. He is heavily involved in community projects, nurturing young talent at summer camps in his own gallery and running workshops all over the UAE.
For the past two years, Khawla Darwish has been a key participant in the Sikka Art Fair in Dubai, which showcases local talent. Her work has been displayed at many exhibitions throughout her career, most notably at the 53rd edition of the Venice Biennale in 2009.
Naser Nasrallah has also displayed his work in a wide range of exhibitions across the UAE, while holding numerous volunteer posts over the past decade. His work is distinctive for transforming consumer items - including buttons, wood, and even small pieces of hardware, which, as he puts it, is "a form of intellectual recycling of industrial, consumerist components into a work of art that uniquely stands distinctive from the norm." Sharjah Art Museum is the largest art museum in the Gulf, with temporary exhibitions and permanent collections by renowned local, Arab and international artists.