Abu Dhabi Art, much more than an art fair, is a platform for modern and contemporary art and public programmes, bringing together a selection of leading art galleries from across the world.
That being said, Saadiyat Cultural District hosted for the 4th year Abu Dhabi Art Fair from November 7 to 10 , creating a festive – educational – cultural venue for collectors, artists, galleries and visitors to share their love of art under one space.
Abu Dhabi Art 2012 brought together 43 international & regional modern & contemporary galleries represented the world’s most respected art dealers and collectors and offered exceptional pieces by both renowned artists, cutting-edge newcomers & a top selection of art from the Middle East.
In the 15,400 square metre arts and culture centre (Manarat Al Saadiyat) featured masterpieces in two arenas by Picasso, Omar Onsi, Damien Hirst, Shereen Nashat, Halim Al Karim, Ahmed Mater, Keith Tyson, Ayad Alkadhi, Samia Halabi, Khaled Hafez and more. The artworks varied between painting, photography, sculptures and installations.
What’s a fair without influential talks and programmes? Everyone was talking about the number and quality of talkers in Abu Dhabi Art 2012 programmes to exchange ideas and develop concepts, inviting you to question and participate. The hall was packed in all talks, discussions, book launching, panel and workshops. Participant speakers included influential artists, collectors, gallerists, writers and curators such as: Anish Kapoor, Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh Frank Gehry and Richard Armstrong, Hala Ali, Ali Bakhti, Edward Tyler Nahem, Kamel Mennour, Sunny Rahbar, Thaddaeus Ropac and Andree Sfeir-Semler, Joanne Cohen and more.
Culture, Children & More!
Now two of the most interesting things in Abu Dhabi Art are: Children Programmes and Nonprofit culture and art centers participation. The children programmes included workshops, Children’s Tours, interactive exhibition titled ‘Eco Future’ and more. I thought it is very essential to see this much focus on children and make them part of the cultural and art movements & developments, this type of exposure expands and builds up their knowledge and creativity.
The nonprofit corner included booths of foundations, institutes and intiatives based in UAE as a platform for visitors to interact with venues who provide support to emerging artists and writers or anyone interested in a career in the art field; such as Tashkeel, Art For All intiative by Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, The National Pavilion of United Arab Emirates. The booths showcased digital art by Antonin Fourneau, graffiti by Karim Jabbari, works by Maitha Bin Demithan.
Chairs for Abu Dhabi
As part of Abu Dhabi’s fourth annual art fair, Japanese artist Tadashai Kawamata created a round tower made of thousands stacked chairs. Called “Chairs For Abu Dhabi”, the approximately 20-foot tall sculpture took Kawamata about five days to build. The artist has installed previous versions of the piece in France, but the Abu Dhabi artwork is very unique. “This time it’s not a specific chair at all,” he said. “It’s more of a mixture of all kinds of wooden, metal, colorful chairs – everything. An empty chair is waiting for people to sit down, and then a chair is connecting to other chairs,” he explained. “So it’s really like a waiting spot, open for everybody to sit down. That’s kind of the metaphor we’re using.” Source.
Abu Dhabi Art 2012 was a success in every sense. The crowd was huge and visitors were very impressed with the quality of works, programmes and performances. Manarat Al Saadiyat was packed with people from around the world to witness this artistic and cultural celebration, this proves the amount of efforts Abu Dhabi Art team put together to bring out such a festive fair and set the standards high for upcoming Abu Dhabi Art fairs and all fairs in the region.