The National Pavilion United Arab Emirates’ exhibition, 1980 – Today: Exhibitions in the United Arab Emirates, in the 56th International Art Exhibition, received over 500,000 visitors.
1980 – Today: Exhibitions in the United Arab Emirates was a retrospective on contemporary art exhibitions in the Emirates over the last 40 years. Through an unprecedented grouping of over 100 works, Sheikha Hoor structured the exhibition to create dialogues between artists and across practices, highlighting the diversity and the history of the art scene in the UAE.
It is the fourth exhibition of United Arab Emirates at the International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. The exhibition share essential works from this key period in the UAE’s art scene as well as to build links for future, contributions to the development and advancement of the larger discourse on art from the region.
The exhibition featured work by fifteen Emirati artists: Ahmed Al Ansari, Moosa Al Halyan, Mohammed Al Qassab, Abdul Qader Al Rais, Abdullah Al Saadi, Mohammed Abdullah Bulhiah, Salem Jawhar, Mohammed Kazem, Dr. Najat Meky, Abdulraheem Salim, Ahmed Sharif, Hassan Sharif, Obaid Suroor, Dr. Mohamed Yousif, and Abdulrahman Zainal.
Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi is President and Director of the Sharjah Art Foundation. She is a practicing artist who received her BFA from the Slade School of Fine Art, London (2002), a Diploma in Painting from the Royal Academy of Arts (2005) and an MA in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art, London (2008). In 2003 she was appointed curator of Sharjah Biennial 6 and has continued as the Biennial’s Director since that time. She is Chair of the Advisory Board for the College of Art and Design, University of Sharjah; and Member of the Advisory Board of both the Khoj International Artists’ Association, India and the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing. She serves on the Board of Directors for MoMA PS1, New York; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; the International Biennial Association, Gwangju; and Ashkal Alwan, Beirut. Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi is the first Emirati to be appointed as the curator for the National Pavilion UAE la Biennale di Venezia.
1980-Today: Exhibitions in the United Arab Emirates, a selection of works from different decades highlighting the emergence of art practices in the United Arab Emirates.
This exhibition presents a selection of works from different decades highlighting the emergence of art practices in the UAE. The Emirates Fine Arts Society, a non-profit association that was formed in 1980 in Sharjah, has served as a main point of focus and inspiration for research.
The National Pavilion of the UAE reflect on and honor a significant period of the UAE’s art history, a look back at exhibitions from the 1980s, a number of interesting art works, mainly sculptures and paintings by now-established artists, as well as works by lesser known ones. The art works show the diversity of art practices, and the history of the art scene in the UAE at this period in time.
1980 – Today: Exhibitions in the United Arab Emirates is built upon extensive research involving archives of newspaper articles, artists’ writings, and catalogues, as well as interviews with artists and cultural practitioners. Reflecting personal and geopolitical trajectories, the research focused on the underexposed historical record and evolving practices of some of the UAE’s most important modernist and contemporary artists.
Over the last decade the UAE art scene has experienced a surge in international recognition and appreciation, the show helps to aware of the depth and diversity of our artists, who have been working decades longer than the current art boom, this exhibition represents an opportunity to document, share, and expand upon a key period for the country’s art history.
The exhibition was built upon extensive research involving archives of newspaper articles, artists’ writings, and catalogues, as well as interviews with artists and cultural practitioners. Reflecting personal and geopolitical trajectories, the research focused on the underexposed historical record and evolving practices of some of the UAE’s most important modernist and contemporary artists.
A publication including previous writings and articles on the art scene in the UAE since the 1980s, as well as some personal memoirs from a number of artists is presented alongside the exhibition.
National Pavilion UAE
The National Pavilion UAE – la Biennale di Venezia endorses the UAE’s contemporary art and architectural practices on an international platform and promotes the nation’s diverse and developing cultural scene, through the organization and management of the UAE’s participation in the exhibitions of la Biennale di Venezia. The UAE’s participation at la Biennale di Venezia commenced in 2009 with a national pavilion at the 53rd International Art Exhibition, and has continued in subsequent editions of the art exhibition since. 2014 marked the UAE’s first participation at the International Architecture Exhibition.
The National Pavilion UAE la Biennale di Venezia is commissioned by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, and supported by the UAE Ministry of Culture, Youth and Community Development.
Venice Biennale 2015
The 2015 Art Biennale closes a sort of trilogy that began with the exhibition curated by Bice Curiger in 2011, Illuminations, and continued with the Encyclopedic Palace of Massimiliano Gioni (2013). With All The World’s Futures, La Biennale continues its research on useful references for making aesthetic judgments on contemporary art, a “critical” issue after the end of the avant-garde and “non-art” art.
Through the exhibition curated by Okwui Enwezor, La Biennale returns to observe the relationship between art and the development of human, social and political reality, in the pressing of external forces and phenomena: the ways in which, that is, the tensions of the external world solicit the sensitivities, the vital and expressive energies of the artists, their desires, the motions of the soul (their inner song ).
La Biennale di Venezia was founded in 1895. Paolo Baratta has been its President since 2008, and before that from 1998 to 2001. La Biennale, who stands at the forefront of research and promotion of new contemporary art trends, organizes exhibitions, festivals and researches in all its specific sectors: Arts (1895), Architecture (1980), Cinema (1932), Dance (1999), Music (1930), and Theatre (1934). Its activities are documented at the Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts (ASAC) that recently has been completely renovated.
The relationship with the local community has been strengthened through Educational activities and guided visits, with the participation of a growing number of schools from the Veneto region and beyond. This spreads the creativity on the new generation (3,000 teachers and 30,000 pupils involved in 2014). These activities have been supported by the Venice Chamber of Commerce. A cooperation with Universities and research institutes making special tours and stays at the exhibitions has also been establihed. In the three years from 2012-2014, 227 universities (79 Italian and 148 international) have joined the Biennale Sessions project.
In all sectors there have been more research and production opportunities addressed to the younger generation of artists, directly in contact with renowned teachers; this has become more systematic and continuous through the international project Biennale College, now running in the Dance, Theatre, Music, and Cinema sections.