Abu Dhabi: Books, magazines, newspaper stories, brochures and every other type of document connected to the UAE’s art scene for the last 35 years are being digitised through the UAE Art Archive.
The huge project, which chronologically lists the documents and events, was undertaken by the Emirates Fine Arts Society two years ago, with the archive officially launched during the Abu Dhabi Festival.
With this launch, artists, historians, researchers, and the general public can now have access to the evolution and history of the UAE’s visual art scene, with the digitised archive being made available online at uaearchive.ae.
“Our archive is a website that will show the history and development of the art scene in the UAE,” Nasser Abdullah, Chairman of the Emirates Fine Art Society, told Gulf News.
“At the moment, we are in the first phase. What we launched at the Abu Dhabi Festival [with the opening of the website] was just a small sample of what is going to be included from our physical archive. Once complete, the online archive is going to be very big with information and documents related to UAE’s art sector going back to 1980,” he added.
Abdullah noted that the archive was significant for the UAE as it is one of the first specialised archives to be launched in the country.
“This is a specific type [of archiving] rather than a general one. For example, we already have the UAE Archive, but this one is solely focused on the art scene in the UAE.
“Through the website, people will have access to all this knowledge and historical information in one place, which will be invaluable for the art movement in the UAE,” he said
The archive will also be live, according to Abdullah, with the latest developments and events in the UAE’s visual art scene being incorporated in it.
“This is a project for life,” he said.
“It is thanks to the efforts of the artists from the past that we find ourselves in the strong position we are in today. We have more than 200 art galleries in the UAE, and we will have the Louvre Abu Dhabi soon followed by the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. The greatest artists from around the world are coming to the UAE to showcase their exhibitions and art work.
“All these are major achievements for UAE’s art scene. For the artists of the past, this would have been a dream, but now we can say it’s a reality. And we are going to go on to bigger and better things,” he added.