American media artist James Clar with one of his works at Abu Dhabi Art at Emirates Palace. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Art fair this year proved a huge success with thousands of people attending.The second annual four-day event, held at the Emirates Palace Hotel, not only showcased art from local, regional and international galleries, but held a number of discussions and workshops.

Organised by the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) and the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture (Adach), it was held under the patronage of General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

"This is the first time that I have visited Abu Dhabi Art and I was very impressed by the range of galleries. It was interesting to see what kind of artworks there are on the market. I also managed to attend some of the discussions, which offered an amazing range of topics. I will definitely come back next year," Nicholas Brown, an expatriate from the UK, said.

Over 50 galleries participated in this year's art fair. For some it was their first time; others took part last year.


"This is the second time we participated in Abu Dhabi Art. We were impressed by the quality of last year's fair and this year, the organisers managed to increase the quality. There are a lot of good galleries with artworks here. Also, there are many collectors and we have managed to sell several of our pieces," Jerome Pauchant, a representative of the Galerie Jerome De Noirmont, which is based in Paris, said.

For UAE-based galleries, Abu Dhabi Art has provided them with an opportunity to not only showcase the works of the artists they represent, but also to interact with other galleries from different parts of the world.

"This year's Abu Dhabi Art has completely exceeded all of our expectations. It was very well organised and the programme, talks and personalities are not usually found at an art fair. It has created a new standard and I'm sure in a few years, everyone in the art world will want to be a part of it," Salwa Zeidan, the founder of Salwa Zeidan, an Abu Dhabi-based gallery, said.

According to James Clar, an American expatriate based in Dubai, and Abdul Nasser Garem, a lieutenant colonel in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia army, who exhibited their pieces together at the Traffic gallery stand and participated in a panel discussion about their work, Abu Dhabi Art allowed them not only to interact with visitors, but also to observe works by their fellow artists.

"Abu Dhabi Art this year was very good. There was a lot more diversity in terms of galleries and art. The art scene in the UAE is great and there is great support here for artists and events such as the fair help to highlight their work and also show different possibilities in terms of styles and genres both from around the world and the region," Clar said.