The NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery Announces its 2022 Program

Nasser Al-Yousif, Our Green Land, 1977. Oil on canvas, 70 x 100 cm. Courtesy of Mahmood Nasser Al-Yousif.

With landmark exhibitions both in the UAE and abroad, in 2022 The NYUAD Art Gallery continues its record of exhibitions that evolve and expand contemporary and modern art and art history.

The NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Art Gallery has announced two major exhibitions for Spring and Fall 2022, in addition to projects globally, including the National Pavilion UAE at Biennale Arte 2022 in Venice, and the UAE’s 50th anniversary exhibition at the Middle East Institute in Washington D.C. The NYUAD Art Gallery’s program of exhibitions and collaborations reflects its ongoing commitment to supporting artists, curators, and scholars who expand the study and knowledge of art from across the globe.

On Tuesday, March 1, The NYUAD Art Gallery will open Parthenogenesis: Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, Hesam Rahmanian. The artists, originally from Iran, have adopted the UAE as their home. They are known for their immersive, surreal projects, performances, paintings, and animations, which have exhibited internationally, at multiple biennials and major museums (including Liverpool, Sydney, and Toronto biennials, and Kunsthalle Zurich, ICA Boston, MACBA Barcelona, and a forthcoming project at the Hayward Gallery, London). In their first institutional solo exhibition in the UAE, the artists create a landscape in the gallery that traces how an artwork grows itself through an artist’s relationships with others. Parthenogenesis is a testament to their 13 years in Dubai as artists living and working together, creating a landscape and tapestry of continuously evolving ideas and dialogues with collaborators, artists, and visitors to their home. 

Fall 2022 will feature Khaleej Modern, a landmark historical survey of the last century of modern art movements across the GCC states, collectively known as the “Khaleej.” Curated by Dr. Aisha Stoby – who was recently announced as curator of the inaugural Oman Pavilion to the Venice Biennale – Khaleej Modern is based on her research, tracing the region’s pre-‘boom era’ of the early/mid-20th century through 2008. By analyzing the Gulf’s modern art history together for the first time, the exhibition promotes a wider conversation on more inclusive narratives relating to comparative modernities and art movements in the region, and will play a vital role in illuminating the art history of the Gulf. Dr. Aisha Stoby is an art historian and curator who has published and lectured widely on modernism in the Global South, with a particular interest in modern art movements in the Arabian Peninsula.

In addition to this year’s program, Executive Director of The Art Gallery Maya Allison is curating the National Pavilion UAE at the Biennale Arte 2022 in Venice, which opens to the public on April 23. The project grows out of her long series of curatorial collaborations with the artists. Titled Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim: Between Sunrise and Sunset, this major new installation of human-sized, abstract, and organic sculptural forms draws from Ibrahim’s deep connection to the local environment of his hometown of Khor Fakkan, on the rocky eastern coast of the UAE. Ibrahim is one of the UAE’s leading experimental artists and an influential member of the historic group of experimental, conceptual artists who have led the vanguard of visual art in the UAE since the 1980s.


“I’m deeply gratified to see the many ways that, in 2022, we will celebrate and make visible existing art histories, and investigate art practices that flourish beyond traditional art world frameworks. Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim is a veteran experimental artist rooted outside the urban centers of the region, while Dr. Aisha Stoby’s groundbreaking research shows that clusters of artistic communities have thrived throughout the modern Gulf, often as informal, self-supported collectives, as she will trace in Khaleej Modern. I am compelled by the depth and complexity of the work of these artists, long-recognized by their peers, but only now entering the canons of modern global art history."

Executive Director of The Art Gallery Maya Allison

Allison continues, “Similarly, for our partnership with the Middle East Institute in Washington D.C., both the curator, Munira Al Sayegh, and the artists she selected for their current exhibition, all thrive in the context of present-day UAE’s art scene. That ecosystem includes the artists in our Spring exhibition, and I look forward to welcoming audiences to discover the radical rethinking of artistic practice by Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, Hesam Rahmanian, who have found inspiration in their art community of the UAE. Supporting the research of scholars such as Dr. Aisha Stoby, curator Munira Al Sayegh, and the art practice of Ramin, Rokni, and Hesam, together makes up  a core tenet of The Art Gallery’s mission, both in championing and growing the work of artists, and in documenting the journey that led us to this moment.”

Meanwhile, The Art Gallery’s current exhibition, Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish, and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Weed Grey Collection is open until February 5th. With iconic painting and sculpture from the 1960s, the exhibition challenges Western-centric narratives of modern art. It also includes the collector’s personal archives, which make visible how the featured artists drew on their specific heritages while also engaging in global discourses around key issues of modernity.