Lively discussions at the Abu Dhabi Art Fair 2018.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features writer
Abu Dhabi Art (ADA) has announced its largest edition yet, with this year’s diverse gallery offering featuring a record-breaking 78 galleries from 27 countries. ADA will also welcome renowned art historian Rachida Triki, gallerist Jade Yesim Turanli and art journalist Riccarda Mandrini as guest curators and collaborating gallery partners.
The 14th edition of the fair, taking place from November 16th to 20th in Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi, will highlight artists from North Africa, Turkey and the wider region. ADA 2022 is the culmination of the fair’s year-round visual arts program. Last year’s event resulted in a record number of 45 galleries returning for 2022 while also attracting the participation of 33 new galleries, demonstrating the international art world’s confidence in the post-COVID region.
Coming from countries around the world – including Italy, Colombia, South Korea, Denmark and India – this year’s selection of local, regional and international galleries allows visitors to discover a wide range of artworks by both established and emerging artists.
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ADA has invited art historian, philosophy professor and curator Triki as guest curator of the Focus section under the theme of New Tomorrows. The segment highlights galleries and artists from North Africa and examines the artistic development of the region. ADA has also appointed gallery owner Turanli from Pi Artworks and Mandrini as guest curators, each bringing a number of new galleries.
Turanli will focus on galleries and artists from Turkiye, including first-time exhibitors Dirimart and Galeri Nev Istanbul, while Mandrini will bring together galleries from around the world with diverse programmes, including galleries Mazzoleni, P420 and Dep Art Gallery. Dyala Nusseibeh, ADA Director, said: “Since the first fair in 2007, Abu Dhabi Art has played an integral role in the arts ecosystem in Abu Dhabi and the wider Emirates, fueling the region’s appetite for art.
Over the years, we have managed not only to strengthen the growth of the country’s cultural and creative industries, but also to promote local talent. “By collaborating with guest curators such as Rachida Triki, Jade Yesim Turanli and Riccarda Mandrini, we continue to enable the presence of diverse perspectives at the fair and ensure that Abu Dhabi Art continues to be a place of discovery for our art collectors and the wider public.” Triki said: “As curator of this year’s Focus section, I have had the pleasure of bringing together vibrant galleries showcasing the work of established and emerging artists from the North African region.
The works were chosen based on the theme of the section, which combines legacy and creation as a continuous rebirth for New Tomorrows.” Mandrini said: “For this section, I wanted to bring together a diverse group of galleries and artists from different historical eras and regions. The artworks presented by the galleries create an open narrative and a shared dialogue, writing a new page in art history that we as individuals, regardless of our cultural and geographic affiliations, can feel a part of.”
Turanli commented, “The content of the fair is very diverse and appeals to a wide audience. For this edition, six Turkish galleries will be exhibiting exceptional works by established and emerging Turkiye artists. The selected galleries are both local and international pioneers and cover a whole spectrum of art.” Triki (b. 1949) is a Tunisian philosopher, art historian, art critic and art curator.
She is Full Professor of Philosophy at the University of Tunis, specializing in Aesthetics, and board member of the Euro-Mediterranean Association for Art History and Aesthetics (AEPHAE).
A specialist in North African art, in 1994 she co-produced a series of 24 documentaries about Tunisian painters at work. She has also been curator of numerous international art exhibitions in Europe and Africa.
Jade Yesim Turanli.
Turanli is a seasoned art professional who has worked in the international contemporary art industry for a quarter of a century. Pi Artworks is a contemporary art gallery with offices in London and Istanbul. Mandrini is well acquainted with the arts scene in the United Arab Emirates: she has written extensively about the Jameel Arts Center and Alserkal Avenue, among other places. Here is what she wrote (2018): “For over a decade, the United Arab Emirates has focused on expanding the country’s cultural offerings. The quest for an art model that offers opportunities for exchange between the present and history has produced different responses in different cities.
“Sharjah, one of the Emirates, is widely regarded as the country’s cultural capital. There, the Sharjah Art Foundation offers a lively program of events all about modern and contemporary Arabic culture. These will be alternated with initiatives on contemporary international culture.
“Abu Dhabi was chosen as the location for the major museums, most notably the Louvre Abu Dhabi…Dubai is the city where international art galleries and Christie’s auction house are located. It’s also where many Middle Eastern artists have settled…” The Modern & Contemporary section of the ADA Fair will feature 44 participating galleries. In addition to the main Modern & Contemporary section, 37 galleries will present curated booths in categories including Special Projects, Focus and Emerge.
In addition to the physical fair, ADA will continue to offer a virtual platform for collectors to explore works, accessible at explore.abudhabiart.ae. The show will provide more details on its programs, industry themes and planned events in the months leading up to the opening.