The lack of gallery space in Abu Dhabi is something that may seem ironic to many, given the fact that on Saadiyat Island, building work is well under way on two of the world’s most important art museums.
But Ahmed Al Yafei, the founder and owner of Abu Dhabi Art Hub, has different ideas.
“In my opinion the Government is taking a really interesting strategy,” he says. “The decision to have the museums on Saadiyat is a thousand miles ahead of where we are now. But what they have done is make a big target that is far away, and now it is our duty to make steps so that we can be at that level.”
With that in mind, Al Yafei came up with the idea for Abu Dhabi Art Hub – an artist’s community in Mussaffah, the capital’s industrial area.
The 2,500-square-metre space is home to multiple exhibition spaces, workshops and studios to rent and has accommodation for up to 16 people, which houses their monthly residents who fly in from all over the world.
As well as regular exhibitions in the Art Hub, Al Yafei works hard at taking the art out to the community with a new gallery space open now in Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and a forthcoming hub in the desert city of Liwa.
“Art Hub is a chance for us to prepare the community to be there, so that the community can interact with art on a different level and they can appreciate the new museums in a different way. That is why now I am working on implementing public art so it becomes part of everyone’s life.”