Visitors at Abu Dhabi Art during an earlier exhibition. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Art, organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), is the first art fair in the world to collaborate with Cromwell Place, London’s new exhibition space and membership organisation, to host an exhibition in London as part of the fair’s official programme.

In its first-ever exhibition abroad, Abu Dhabi Art is presenting commissioned works created in 2020 as part of the annual programme ‘Beyond: Emerging Artists’ at Cromwell Place London from June 2-13.

The three emerging artists included in the exhibition, who are all from the UAE, were supported in the development of their commissions in 2020 by curator Maya El Khalil. Their works are being shown alongside presentations of UAE-based galleries Tabari Artspace, Lawrie Shabibi, The Third Line and Isabelle Van Den Eynde across five galleries in 2,3 and 4 Cromwell Place.

First shown at Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi in November 2020, the commissions explore in diverse ways the theme of memory, with works by Hind Mezaina, Afra Al Dhaheri and Afra Al Suwaidi.

Emerging performance artist

Alongside these new commissions and by invitation from Abu Dhabi Art, Tabari Artspace is showing recent works by emerging performance artist Maitha Abdalla, whose work crosses mediums to explore adolescence and transitional moments.

Lawrie Shabibi is showing works by the UAE’s most established contemporary artist, Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim, who will represent the UAE at the Venice Biennale in 2022. Dubai-based galleries The Third Line and Isabelle Van Den Eynde are presenting a selection of MENA-based artists including Anuar Khalifi, Sara Naim, Sophia Al Maria and Manal AlDowayan.

Art dealers, advisers, curators, collectors and institutions have year-round access to exhibition space, viewing rooms, offices, art storage and logistical support, bringing to London a programme of art and antiquities, all accessible to the public.

Valuable international exposure

Dyala Nusseibeh, Director of Abu Dhabi Art, said: “Our annual initiative ‘Beyond: Emerging Artists’ takes a step forward this year in becoming a programme that exhibits abroad, enabling emerging local artists that we have commissioned and supported, to gain valuable international exposure for their work. Cromwell Place was a natural partner for our first exhibition abroad, as several of our gallery exhibitors at the fair are also members at Cromwell Place. They are ready to join us in an art week that highlights emerging and established UAE-based artists and galleries to a UK audience this June as London comes out of lockdown.”

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May Calil, Membership Director, Cromwell Place, said: “Cromwell Place has become a new community in central London with flexibility and collaboration at the heart of our business. We are thrilled to partner with Abu Dhabi Art fair, and to provide a home for fairs looking to connect with UK audiences, collectors and clients. I am excited by this opportunity to debut commissioned works by emerging UAE-based artists in our galleries alongside complementary exhibitions from some of our members, including Tabari Artspace, Lawrie Shabibi and The Third Line.”

Abu Dhabi Art 2021 will return to Manarat Al Saadiyat in a physical format this year, taking place from November 18-21, 2021, with an opening event on 17th November, 2021. Following the success of last year’s virtual fair, Abu Dhabi Art will also continue to have a strong digital presence through a number of online initiatives.