This fall, NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Art Gallery, the University’s academic museum-gallery, invites viewers into the imagined worlds of four UAE-based artists who have each emerged in the Gulf, and are rising internationally. Open to the public from September 16 – December 7, 2019, the exhibition is curated by Chief Curator at NYU Abu Dhabi and Executive Director of the NYUAD Art Gallery, Maya Allison. Through close study of their surroundings in the UAE, each of the artists here reflect on our shared futures: Areej Kaoud, Ayman Zedani, Jumairy, and Raja’a Khalid.
Speculative Landscapes presents a series of new installations through which each artist explores the very concept of environment (natural, artificial, virtual). Each raises a question: how do organisms – whether human or other – create, survive, and inhabit our natural, artificial, and virtual worlds? The four artists in this exhibition have developed their practice in the UAE, establishing a strong regional track record, as well as an emerging international presence. They share a speculative practice, extrapolating imagined worlds within existing ones.
Each installation offers an imaginary journey derived from the artists’ real-world observations of everyday life. In Khalid’s performative installation, she invites viewers to embrace personal well-being as a commodifiable trend, while Kaoud’s playground keeps visitors on high alert to ever-present risk. In two very different landscape installations, Zedani and Jumairy each propose worlds in which our natural bodies and the landscape around us manifest biological or artificial intelligence.