Does the UAE have an art scene? A group of European curators concluded it did not, after they visited in search of contemporary art and artists in the 1990s. In fact, that decade was a vibrant period in the UAE, and a tightly-knit cluster of artists was experimenting with the outer limits of what art can be. At the heart of that group was Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim. Maya Allison curated his solo exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2022, and in this presentation, she traces why the UAE’s art history evaded the radar of those curators in the 1990s, while giving rise to Ibrahim’s locally rooted, cosmopolitan art practice, and ultimately, the vibrant, fast-changing art scene readily apparent today. She also touches on the problem of “outsider” and “self-taught” categories beyond European-American contexts.
Maya Allison, Executive Director, The Art Gallery at NYU Abu Dhabi, NYUAD
In conversation with
Mayssam Latif, Cultural Affairs Advisor, UAE Consulate General in New York
In Collaboration with
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