Abu Dhabi: The UAE offers so many possibilities of artistic expression, with the desert and the cities providing so many landscapes, a top French diplomat said while inaugurating the painting and sculpture exhibition of eight French and Emirati women.

“Contrary to the cursory opinion some might have of the Arab world, the eight artists prove how free and independent they can be in the UAE — free to paint, free to sculpt,” said Alain Azouaou, the French Ambassador to the UAE.

“In one word they are free to let their feelings jump into reality. This is an outstanding message abut the social welfare here in the UAE,” he said.

Azouaou said the exhibition of female artists’ paintings shows women’s status is good in the country.

He was opening the exhibition titled “Watchwomen and Dreamcatchers” on Friday evening within the framework of the International Women’s day and the “Month of La Francophonie”, a whole month of celebrations by French-speaking people. This exhibition of the works of contemporary female artists — five French and three Emiratis — in the UAE will continue at Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche until March 23.

Institut Français des Emirats Arabes Unis, the French cultural agency in the UAE, in partnership with Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi is organising the exhibition.

The exhibition is a bi-cultural look at contemporary art in the UAE and an event to pay tribute to women’s talents in the country.

It presents artworks from Emirati artists including the renowned Dr.Najat Mekki and the promising young talent Alia Lootah, and internationally recognised French artists such as CHRITCH, Bénédicte Gimonnet, Karine Roche and Isabelle Riou-Teisseire.

Karine Roche has created a jungle fantasy by transforming vegetal and urban structures inspired by UAE cities into labyrinthine landscapes.

The paintings of Bénédicte Gimonnet engraved with Arabic writings and concealed poems are a visual poem. She said she sincerely loves Arabic culture that reflects in her works. “I have been learning the Arabic language for the past three years,” Gimonnet said.

The meditative works of Alia Lootah depicts the scenery of a dreamy place through a window. The collaborative artwork “Humane” created by CHRITCH is rather an actual dream of a successful quest for humanity by the means of art. Finally, the sculptor Florence Vial shows phases of wandering with a series of sculptures around stages of human life.

Denis Douveneau, Institut Français director, said that “celebrating women talents in the UAE comes in line with Institut Français’ commitment to organise artistic exchanges and public debates and to provide new ways in which to engage the people of the UAE in creative pursuits.”