Abu Dhabi Art 2012 closes with unprecedented number of visitors (final add)

Abu Dhabi: Dignitaries. H. H. Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, Chairwoman of Abu Dhabi Art’s Host Committee and founder of the Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, who has a personal passion for art and has been a supporter of the arts for more than 30 years, bought works this year as did Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al Nahyan.

New relationships and more of a diversity of collectors were reported by galleries this year including museums, corporate collectors and private collectors flying in from all over, particularly the region. Public programmes were full to capacity, education workshops were oversubscribed and children and school groups came to Abu Dhabi Art in droves.

“More collectors and visitors combined with quality art, performances and music made for a vibrant atmosphere at Abu Dhabi Art this year,” said Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism ‘&’ Culture Authority, the organisers of the event.

“The quality of the 2012 edition and the positive feedback received, firmly establishes Abu Dhabi Art on the international art circuit and as a cultural hub linking east and west,” he said.

Abu Dhabi Art had the distinct honour of hosting titans of art and culture for a series of rare conversations amongst other cultural idols. Pioneer performance artist Marina Abramovic’s first visit to the Middle East culminated with a fascinating talk by the artist discussing her 40-year career and the profound impact of her visit to the Arabian Desert.

Subodh Gupta and Bharti Kher, considered two of India’s most important contemporary artists, spoke together for the first time in an illuminating discussion on their shared passion for addressing social and political issues in their country through their work.

Anish Kapoor elaborated on his three decade career which has included groundbreaking installations at the Grand Palais in Paris, Tate Modern in London and the Guggenheim in Bilbao, New York and Berlin. Egyptian artist Ghada Amer and conceptual Saudi artist Abdulnasser Gharem led an intimate and engaging dialogue about their complex relationships with their families, their respective homelands and their profound desire to inspire the next generation of young artists.

Contemporary artist Pascale Marthine-Tayou from Cameroon spoke about his work as deliberately mobile, elusive and linked to the idea of travel.

An expanded Design programme at Abu Dhabi Art highlighted an understanding of the innate aesthetics of the UAE through the study, exploration, experimentation and promotion of the roots of Emirati creativity – a design language based on transient states, freedom of movement, mobility, and constant change.

It comprised of a series of distinct workshops and discussions highlighting centuries-old traditional crafts reinterpreted by visionary Emirati artisans and contemporary artists, informal conversations by leading art personalities and a daily spoken-word performance.

Exhibition Art, Talks ‘&’ Sensations, curated by Fabrice Bousteau, explored the theme of The Island / A Game of Life through a series of avant-garde performances and installations featuring works by artists Subodh Gupta, Camille Henrot, Fabrice Hyber, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Matthieu Orlean and Camille Zakharia. Another exhilarating highlight of the week was a performance by the London-based electronic music collective Noise of Art as well as Jordanian rock-band Autostrad, which both took over the main stage at Manarat Al Saadiyat to the delight of the many visitors and fans in attendance.

Abu Dhabi Art was held in the Saadiyat Cultural District on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. Its Principal Sponsor was Bulgari and Associate Sponsors were Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Dolphin Energy.

Abu Dhabi Art was visited by members of the Host Committee as well as some members of its circle of collectors; Sheikha Latifa bint Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Sheikha Mariam bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Sheikha Shams bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Sheikha Maitha bint Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Sheikha Latifa bint Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Sheikha Sheikha bint Surur Al Nahyan, Sheikha Fatima bint Surur Al Nahyan, Sheikha Alyazia bint Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan, Sheikha Shamsa bint Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Sheikha Osha bint Mubarak Al Nahyan and Sheikha Mariam bint Sultan bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan.

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