The National Pavilion United Arab Emirates exhibition Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play opened yesterday at the 57th International Art Exhibition la Biennale di Venezia.

Curated by Hammad Nasar, the exhibition explores the concept of ‘playfulness’ as a connecting thread across multiple generations of artistic practice in the UAE through the work of a group of artists including Nujoom Alghanem, Sara Al Haddad, Vikram Divecha, Lantian Xie and Dr. Mohamed Yousif.

Commissioned by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, with the support of the UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, the National Pavilion UAE is located in Venice’s Arsenale – Sale d’Armi.

2017 marks the UAE’s fifth participation in the International Art Exhibition, which will be open to the public from May 13th to November 26th, 2017, and expects to attract more than half a million visitors.

Commenting on this year’s participation, Her Highness Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan said that the UAE is known for its rich heritage and strong arts scene, reflecting the country’s national identity, which continues to be passed on from one generation to the other. She added that the UAE’s participation in the Venice Biennale is important in presenting works of art that reflect the country’s true cultural essence.

Her Highness also reinforced that the UAE’s exhibition this year features five artists across different generations who call the UAE home. Their work is diverse, but shares unifying themes and approaches which create a nuanced and intriguing narrative about contemporary art practice in the country. Her Highness then highlighted how the Venice Biennale is a prominent moment in the art world, and the participation of the Emirates offers the opportunity to tell the untold stories of the UAE to an influential and knowledgeable international audience.

This year, Emirati artists Hassan Sharif and Abdullah Al Saadi have been featured in the Biennale’s central exhibition, Viva Arte Viva, curated by Christine Macel, reinforcing the UAE’s reputation as an emerging global arts capital.

Notable guests who were welcomed at the opening included: Staff Brigadier General Essa Rashid Obaid Al Ali, UAE Military Attache in Italy; Mr. Hmoud Buzinjal, Director of Undersecretary Office at the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development; Mr. Waleed Al Jalaf, Director of the Office of Internal Audit, Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development; Ms. Zainab Al Saber, Media Consultant, Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development; Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, President and Director of Sharjah Art Foundation; and Ms. Khulood Al Atiyat Manager of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation.

Throughout the duration of the Biennale, the National Pavilion UAE will be staffed by participants in the Venice Internship, an ongoing program which offers experience and training opportunities to young residents of the UAE.