PLACE AND UNITY: WORKS FROM THE ADMAF COLLECTION AT MARAYA ART CENTRE
EXHIBITION RUNS FROM OCTOBER 31, 2016 – JANUARY 31, 2017
SHARJAH, UAE – OCTOBER 26, 2016 | Maraya Art Centre has selected a group of works from the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) Art Collection drawn together under the title Place and Unity. With an emphasis on Emirati practice, the ADMAF Art Collection is composed of over eighty works that are reflective of artists in the UAE and the Arab world with the goal of engaging, educating and informing the public about the region’s art scene. Place and Unity highlights works by fourteen Emirati and U.A.E. based artists, including a striking new commission, Foresta Sommersa by Rand Abdul Jabbar, who was selected to participate in the ADMAF Artist Mentorship Programme in the spring of 2016 with leading Italian artist Fabrizio Plessi. The exhibition runs from October 31, 2016–January 31, 2017 at Maraya Art Centre.
In these selected works, the inter-generational artists address themes of home, identity, communication and nomadism by referencing various countries and cities from the UAE and Palestine to Geneva and Shanghai. They examine what unites people of different ethnic backgrounds living in the United Arab Emirates today. The nomadic Bedouin, native to this region, offer a cultural backdrop to this exhibition. They have survived inhospitable terrains for centuries and established a code of hospitality to travellers. Place and Unity confronts questions about culture, identity and the sense of belonging to a land, be it spiritual, physical or philosophical.
‘Countless artists have used their work to express and question ideas about home, identity and commonality between peoples. We are so pleased to have collaborated with ADMAF on the important occasion of this exhibition that showcases selected works by Emirati and UAE-based artists which emphasise the intensely personal and timeless concepts of identity and connection to a land.’ says Giuseppe Moscatello, Director of Maraya Art Centre. ‘We are committed to supporting and advancing local and UAE-based artists and designers as well as collaborating with organisations such as ADMAF. We consider this approach key in cementing Maraya Art Centre as a regional art hub’.
‘The ADMAF Art Collection exemplifies the power of creative dialogue. Each piece articulates an original perspective upon the time in which we live and the contexts we experience. As a whole, the Collection contributes to a cumulative expression of our nation and era. Only through culture may we develop and refine this unique sense of shared identity.’ H.E. Hoda I. Al Khamis Kanoo, Founder of Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF).
She added: ‘In the works presented, place and its relationship to unity is brought to the fore. Artists have a rare capacity to situate us emotionally and spiritually within our environs. Their expressions are essential in allowing us to consider the similarities and differences that shape us as individuals, as communities and as a nation. Place is the common ground that unites us; a fertile soil, where tolerance and understanding can grow.’
The works on display include Shanghai from 2008 by the late, much mourned and highly respected Emirati master Hassan Sharif. A new commission, Foresta Sommersa by Rand Abdul Jabbar, is on display for the first time at Maraya Art Centre as part of Place and Unity. The commission – an installation of sound, light and glass – embodies her experience of the city of Venice where she was mentored by the esteemed Italian artist Fabrizio Plessi. Place and Unity also showcases Coast Collision, 2016 by Zeinab Al Hashemi and Hind Bin Demaithan’s Sadu-Pixel, 2016.
About Maraya Art Centre
Established in 2006, Maraya Art Centre is a three-storey non-profit creative space located in Sharjah, UAE. Since its inception, Maraya has offered the public an innovative exhibitions programme, showcasing the work of leading Middle Eastern and international artists. The centre also boasts multi-media facilities, a video archive, an art library and a regular public programme of workshops and events designed by its in-house team and guest curators. Outside of the main building, Maraya also has several public park art sites within its local vicinity that feature interactive projects and sculptures.
About Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation
Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) believes that the arts hold the keys to releasing a nation’s creativity. Through a dynamic range of year-round arts-based programmes for children, young people and adults, it seeks to benefit society and advance the vision of Abu Dhabi.
ADMAF is an independent, not-for-profit organisation under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development. It was established in 1996 by Her Excellency Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo. and delivers initiatives for audiences of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities through annual educational and community programmes, special projects and the Abu Dhabi Festival, often in partnership with national and international institutions.
ADMAF invests in the visual arts sector in several ways. It contributes to the professional development of artists through The Nationals’ Gallery, which seeks to enhance and elevate the UAE art scene through publications, consultations, discussions, grants, commissions and exhibitions as well as an online directory of artists’ profiles. In schools and universities, initiatives such as The Gulf Capital–Abu Dhabi Festival Visual Arts Award, The Christo & Jeanne-Claude Award as well as workshops and lectures with national and international artists inspire and inform the next generation. In celebration of International Museum Day, ADMAF stages events that reference the rich history of the United Arab Emirates, Middle East and North Africa.
ADMAF also tackles social issues through the visual arts. Silent Voices is an annual exhibition by the human trafficking survivors of Ewa’a Shelters for Women & Children. Emirati artist-led workshops in orphanages across the UAE build children’s cultural identity as well as creativity and soft skills.