Much has been written about the pressing need for non-governmental organizations in the Gulf and the useful role they can play. Abu Dhabi’s UAE Unlimited was founded and supported by its Patron, HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, one of the youngest and most prominent art patrons in the region. This NGO was established as a satellite platform to showcase emerging Emirati and UAE-based artists, producing and promoting their works through strategic collaborations with art and culture organizations in the country.
CALCIFIED LANDSCAPE, HATEM HATEM
Headed by its able Executive Director, Shobha Pia Shamdasani who also acts as Art Advisor and Director of the Modern and Contemporary Middle Eastern Art Collection of His Highness, UAE Unlimited strives to encourage young talent and contribute to the overall cultural production in the Emirates. New works are produced to a theme and showcased in a different Emirate, annually, with discussions. How fitting that the new, purpose-built Warehouse 421 – Abu Dhabi’s hub for art and culture, design and creativity in the heart of the historic Mina Zayed district - should host the current exhibition called Bayn, exploring the transformation of the UAE through the artworks of eight multidisciplinary artists.
TALAL AL ANSARI, SARA AL HADAD, KHULOOD AL ATIYAT, NASSER ALZAYANI, SHOBHA PIA SHAMDSANI AND MUNIRA AL SAYEGH
PICTURED WITH INHALE, SARA AL HADAD (FRONT OF IMAGE)
As His Highness has remarked, the third iteration comes at a time when we are all examining our identities in the light of the rapid shifts happening around us in the world. His Highness’s generation has taken on the responsibility of moving the narrative forward towards a more nuanced understanding of the contexts of home and belonging. The curatorial thought-process by Munira Al Sayegh, this year's emerging curator guided by Maya Allison highlights an urgent need for re-thinking fixed notions of identity, inviting us to redefine what it means to be part of this new wave of thinkers that are constantly moving forward.
MARYAM WISSAM DABBAGH AND MUNIRA AL SAYEGH PICTURED WITH ACCUMULATION, TALIN HAZBAR
Bayn seeks to question, and expand on the threshold found between a starting point and its end. Throughout the exhibition, the state of in-between is highlighted as equally important to both the definitive beginning of the young, 45-year old nation, and its end goal – the future. Fascinating works by Maytha Al Shamsi, and celebrated guest artist, Manal Al Dowayan, captivate the viewer by drawing their attention to a multiplicity of meanings and through a variety of media.
MUNIRA AL SAYEGH AND NASSER ALZAYANI PICTURED WITH CONTEMPORARY ARCHAEOLOGY, NASSER ALZAYANI
The future seems promising for this important cultural initiative that is already presenting inspiring works and talented artists.