x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

A new side of Abu Dhabi Art emerges

Abu Dhabi Art will showcase the UAE's maturing art sector, which in a few years should be known around the world.

When the latest edition of Abu Dhabi Art kicks off today, it will involve more than the usual offerings.

Like previous fairs, this showcase of visual art, design and performance will feature workshops, talks and discussions. Works of art by emerging and established talent will be exhibited at several sites across the city. But this year’s Abu Dhabi Art is different because it marks the first fair since tangible progress has been made on Saadiyat Island’s cultural district.

The initial project, the construction of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, is now well underway. When it opens in 2015, it will display art, manuscripts and objects of historical and cultural significance. The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and the Zayed National Museum will follow before the end of this decade. And when the museums open their doors, they will bring other benefits to this country: not least to the tourism industry, as art lovers from all over the world will beat a path to Abu Dhabi to see the architecture, the exhibitions and the sights.

Art fairs play an essential role in creating and encouraging a love of the arts within any community, anywhere in the world.

They are an important tool in educating and engaging the public and, via the work they showcase, help open a window onto the world and the region we live in. They stimulate minds, they start conversations and they forge connections.

A sustainable art scene in Abu Dhabi will rely on an interlocking web of events, exhibitions, curators, collectors and institutions, if it is to properly stimulate enough cultural production to fill the vast museums that will soon open on our doorstep.

All this helps explain the expanded programme for this year’s fair, which reflects an art sector that, like the Louvre Abu Dhabi, is beginning to emerge from the sands of Saadiyat Island.