Art can breathe life into a city, bring people together, and illustrate ideas that find no home in words nor images. Over the last year, The Art Gallery and The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi celebrated half a decade of playing a leading role in elevating the cultural status of Abu Dhabi. From eclectic circuses to fantastical depictions of landscapes to supporting nascent projects that demonstrate importance to the artistic environment of the region, art has had a standout year in NYU Abu Dhabi. Here are five memorable projects of 2019.
1. A Diplomat’s Passion on Display
As part of a class taught by Associate Professor Practice of Art History Salwa Mikdadi, a group of NYU Abu Dhabi students curated an exhibition from His Excellency Zaki Nusseibeh’s private collection. The exhibition, Go Back to Move Forward, navigates the sociopolitical landscape of the Arab world by bringing together a series of artworks, through which 14 artists reimagine reality via collective memory.
2. National Land, National Hands
The NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery showcased a survey of work by four UAE-based artists as part of their most recent exhibition, Speculative Landscapes. In this exhibition, The Art Gallery provided a rare platform to four rising artists in premiering their largest commissions to date. From reimaging a yoga studio to a room full of pink sand, the exhibition was received as a blooming start for these promising artists.
3. Art in Motion
The Arts Center hosted a number of high profile events and artists including Flight Sufism, Kaki (Data Not Found), and Circus Abyssinia. These were all incorporated as part of a series of successful events that put on display the global nature of NYU Abu Dhabi.
4. Unbound Potential
The Art Gallery launched their first ever curatorial fellowship in the museum field. The rotating curatorial fellowship has been designed exclusively for NYUAD alumni who have bilingual literacy in Arabic.
5. Imaginative Reality
The Art Gallery hosted Swiss artist Zimoun's first ever solo exhibition in the Middle East. The exhibition featured five immersive audio-visual installations, including a major new commission, an expansive room-sized installation.