Gallery event aimed at encouraging new Abu Dhabi art collectors
ABU DHABI // As the Sun set over Abu Dhabi’s port on Wednesday, art enthusiasts and experts converged at an event aimed at attracting collectors.
Six galleries that regularly participate in Abu Dhabi Art, the city’s annual art fair, had set up small booths of low-priced art works.
People started to arrive at Galleries Week as evening fell and the galleries opened their doors. Visitors from across the Emirates came to see the art as well as listen to a presentation about collecting it while a DJ played relaxing music.
“This event is a fantastic idea,” said Salwa Zeidan, an art collector and dealer with an eponymous gallery in Abu Dhabi.
Her gallery was one of the six participating in the event and she had a selection of work in her booth from Emirati artists.
“I made sure to take this event seriously and offer art made in the UAE as this is what the young collectors are looking for,” Ms Zeidan said.
In her booth she had prints from Abdul Qader Al Rais, one of the most prominent artists in the UAE, as well as small works by Fatema Al Mazrouie and some collages by Hussein Sharif, the brother of Hassan Sharif, who died last year and was probably the best-known Emirati artist.
Galleries Week is the first event of its kind in the city. It is a tie-up between Abu Dhabi Art and Warehouse 421, the art hub located in the port.
The idea was to filter the selection of art so that for those looking to start a collection, some of the work was already finished. Although there was a maximum price tag of Dh30,000 set on the artworks on offer, most were much lower than that, with some beautiful etchings by a Tunisian artist Halim Karabibene on sale for Dh3,150 at Elmarsa Gallery from Dubai, and drawings by Emiratis Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim and Nasir Nasrallah at Cuadro Gallery for under Dh10,000.
“For us, this was a fantastic experience,” said Bashar Al Shroogi, the founder of Cuadro gallery. “It changed our perspective and forced us to think about how to present art to a new audience and how to make it accessible. Contemporary art can sometimes be quite intimidating and events like this can help reduce that.”
Also on show were calligraphy pieces by Abdulaziz Al Rashidi at Athr Gallery from Jeddah and some highly detailed pencil drawings by an Italian artist known as Serse, who lives in Trieste in northeastern Italy and draws images of nature such as the sea, the horizon and storm clouds.
“Abu Dhabi has great potential,” said Lilia Ben Salah, the owner of Elmarsa Gallery. “There is a growing art scene here and having something beside the annual art fair for people to come and enjoy and experience art is vital to nurture that growth.”
Galleries Week runs until next Wednesday and as well as the art on sale there is a strong line-up of music performances.
Soul and funk outfit Abri and Funk Radius will be playing on Thursday night and the rock and roll, funk and blues band Carl and Reda Mafia will take to the stage the following night. Sima Dance Company from Syria will entertain audiences on Saturday as will Adam Baluch, a performer who plays the keyboard, guitar and trumpet.
Although the event is aimed at art lovers, anyone interested in art and culture is encouraged to attend.
The event is at Warehouse 421 in Mina Zayed and entrance is free. It will run from 4pm to 10pm today, 3pm to 10pm tomorrow and Saturday, and 4pm to 10pm Sunday through Wednesday. It will be closed on Monday.