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Abu Dhabi Art 2012


While Saadiyat Island and its grand museums are coming out of the ground, Abu Dhabi Art, which will take place from the 7-10 November at the Saadiyat Cultural District, is doing its bit to promote the capital Emirate as a “catalyst for art and culture – locally, regionally, and internationally.”

These are exciting times for art in the Middle East, as buyers are cash rich and keen to further enhance their collection with more contemporary and daring artworks.

The event creates the opportunity for gallerists, collectors, artists and art aficionados to meet, acquire new artworks, share ideas and exchange information. Providing a wide spectrum of the visual arts including painting, sculpture, drawing, installation and photography as well as video and digital art by more than 400 artists, Abu Dhabi Art showcases both renowned and emerging artists.

More than 17,000 visitors attended Abu Dhabi Art in 2011. Abu Dhabi Art is part of Abu Dhabi’s broader vision to attract 1.5 million visitors per year by 2018.


Interview with Amel MakkawiDirector of Art Sawa Gallery, Dubai,

Why should one go to Abu Dhabi Art?

You should go because you will see amazing works from galleries, museums and foundations as well as discover new talents.

Who is the typical Abu Dhabi Art visitor

The typical Abu Dhabi Art visitor is cultured and curious.

How would you describe the Arab sensitivity towards art?

The market is becoming progressively more interesting, it’s more open to new ideas, practices etc.

What is your answer to the clichéd saying: “Middle Eastern buyers have the cash but not the taste?”

That’s such a cliché, and not true in my opinion. The event is not about the Middle Eastern buyer or his taste, it’s more about the practice of buying art. The process of collecting art is very recent here. The market is new and really picking up very fast. From our perspective, collectors are less keen to get advice from professional galleries or art consultants.

Which Arab artists should we keep an eye out for?

The ones Art Sawa works with and for the following reasons: they are talented professionals, with very strong academic backgrounds. I’d say to keep an eye on Mohammad El Rawas, Ahmed Askalany, Zena Assi, Wael Darwesh Marwa Adel.


Images: 1, 3, 4, 5: Stuart Haygarth, courtesy Abu Dhabi Art, 2012, 2: Stuart Haygarth, courtesy Tony Shafrazi Gallery, Abu Dhabi Art, 2012