An artwork by Amine El Bacha that will be among other works by more artists in the 'Dubai Collection' exhibit in November Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Artworks from the collection of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will be included in the first physical exhibition of the ‘Dubai Collection’.

The exhibition, called ‘When Images Speak: Highlights from the Dubai Collection’, will be held at the Etihad Museum in Dubai on November 6. Admission to the exhibition is included in the museum ticket.

The Dubai Collection was developed last year in collaboration with the Art Dubai Group, which continues to be the primary point of contact for its full operations, running activities on behalf of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority.

Built through an innovative partnership model, the collection brings together works of art from both private and corporate collections for public appreciation and international scholarship.

Curated by Dr Nada Shabout, the exhibition will present a selection of modern and contemporary art from across the region, tracing a historical survey of Arab modernism and its progression into contemporary trends, while highlighting the Gulf region’s role in documenting the history of the Arab world’s art.

Key milestone

Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, chairperson of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and chair of the Dubai Collection’s Steering Committee, said: “The opening of ‘When Images Speak’ is an important milestone in the Dubai Collection’s trajectory, as it presents the actualisation of an innovative initiative conceptualised right here in Dubai. This could not have happened without the trust of our patrons and their belief in the ambition of this project that seeks to bring art in the Emirate to the public and public spaces in the UAE and abroad; connect patrons with locally based artists; and collectively build Dubai’s art collection supporting its cultural sector.”

Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Image Credit: Supplied

She added: “We are delighted to feature in our first exhibition artworks from the collection of [Sheikh Mohammed]. Having His Highness’ collection featured in Dubai Collection’s first ever physical exhibition reflects his support for the growth of the creative sector in Dubai. The exhibition will present a rich narrative of 20th century Arab art, which will also highlight the role the Gulf played in documenting this artistic period. We look forward to welcoming the public to our inaugural exhibition at the Etihad Museum in November.”


Dr Shabout said: “With the aim of creating a historical survey of modern and contemporary art from the region, ‘When Images Speak’ will feature some of the most influential and progressive artists, all of whom have played a pivotal role in shaping modern movements in the region and throw light on the socio-cultural dynamics of their time.”

Entitled ‘Abstract Variations’ and featuring pivotal artworks by prominent artists from the region including Dia Al Azzawi and Omar El Nagdi, the first chapter of the exhibition will survey the topic of abstraction in modern Arab art.

The second chapter, ‘Societies in Transition’, features artists’ investigations into society, history, family, mythologies, and culture. Works by artists such as Baya Mahieddine, Naziha Selim, and Asaad Arabi articulate the artists’ understanding and dialogues of the self through societal relationships.

Published alongside the show is an eponymous digital catalogue featuring research by Dr Shabout, which helps contextualise the works on show.

Digital Museum

The first physical exhibition will coincide with the launch of the ‘Digital Museum’ of the collection, which will feature a catalogue of works included in Dubai Collection and biographical information on each of the artists, alongside editorial content on the history of collecting in the UAE, profiles of prominent patrons involved in the initiative and further information about the works.