x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Artistic licence

Abu Dhabi Art Fair brings a new level of activity to the city's cultural scene.

Abu Dhabi can claim its share of superlatives, but "vibrant art scene" is not the first that comes to mind. London, New York, Paris - these are the places where art lovers flock.

But through Saturday at least, "vibrant" is the only way to describe the artistic explosion taking place on Saadiyat Island. Manarat Al Saadiyat, host to the fourth Abu Dhabi Art Fair, is heaving with creativity, as world class galleries display the stunning and surreal works of artists, architects, designers and creators.

It's all for sale. And lucky for most, it's also free to admire. There's plenty to take in, from works by emerging artists like Hamdan Al Shamsi or Shamsa Al Amera, or pieces by those who need only one name - such as Picasso. Opening night on Wednesday was electric, with thousands of visitors strolling the galleries and exhibition halls, many to hear the world's leading architects share their views on the "golden age" of design. Today, the performance artist Marina Abramovic will be on hand.

It is, we hope, only a taste of what's to come. Over the next few years branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim will open, as will the Zayed National Museum. "Everything is happening here," the French architect Jean Nouvel said Wednesday. It certainly is.