ART ABU DHABI
The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) announced late last month that the city-state will participate in next year’s 53rd Venice Biennale of Visual Art, entitled “Making Worlds,” a first for the oil-rich Gulf state.
Rather than renting a national pavilion, as most recent arrivals to the event do, Abu Dhabi will contribute the “ADACH Platform for Venice,” to be curated by Paris-born curator Catherine David. David has worked Venice before, presenting her “Contemporary Arab Representations” at the Biennale’s 50th edition, “Dreams and Conflicts,” in 2003. She is perhaps best known for having been artistic director in 1997 of documenta X, a highly conceptual multifaceted art event that takes place every five years in the German city of Kassel.
In an ambitious attempt to become a cultural hub, Abu Dhabi has recently initiated partnerships with many high-profile institutions such as the Frankfurt Book Fair and the New York Film Academy, and will soon be host to outposts of the famous Guggenheim and Louvre museums.
“Why are we looking at the Gulf?” asked David. “In front of you, you have India, Iran, Pakistan. It’s not in an island.”
Although she could not provide much in the way of details, as much of the content of the platform is still under discussion, she did imply that her selections would not hail exclusively from Abu Dhabi.
“To be frank, there are only five or six very interesting artists from the Emirates,” she said.
Perhaps some of her choices will be drawn from her recently curated show “In the Middle of the Middle,” on until March 2009 at the Sfeir-Semler Gallery. This features 12 artists living and working across the Middle East, particularly in Cairo, Beirut, Damascus, and Occupied Palestine.
Jawad Al Malhi
Yasser Alwan has lived in Switzerland and Lebanon and studied photography in America. Evocative and intimate, his portraits of people working or passing by the streets of Cairo are inscribed in the long tradition of documentary photography. His photographs have been exhibited in Cairo, New York, Frankfurt, San Francisco, London and Canterbury.
Walid Sadik is an artist and writer from Lebanon. He is currently assistant professor at the Department of Architecture and Design at the American University of Beirut.
- Dubai art market and its future December 2008
- First UK survey of female Iranian photographers video artists November 2008
- Tate Musuem acquires video of Lebanese artist Akram Zaatari October 2008