Portrait of a Nation to showcase Emirati artworks

Portrait of a Nation to showcase Emirati artworks
Lateefa Bint Maktoum, Family, 2016. Courtesy of the artist. Part of the ADMAF Art Collection.Supplied photo

Abu Dhabi - ADMAF will cut the ribbon of an art show displaying 20 artworks commissioned specially for this exhibition from 20 Emirati artists.


Silvia Radan

Published: Sat 9 Apr 2016, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sat 9 Apr 2016, 10:20 AM

On Sunday evening, the French soprano and baritone Natalie Dessay and Laurent Naouri will launch the 13th Abu Dhabi Festival's (ADF) main programme with a concert of classical French songs, at the Emirates Palace auditorium here.
On the same evening, the festival's art exhibition, running alongside ADF's performing arts programme, will also open at Emirates Palace. This year, the exhibition is particularly special, as the organiser of ADF, the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF) is turning 20 years old.
Instead of cutting a cake, ADMAF will cut the ribbon of an art show displaying 20 artworks commissioned specially for this exhibition from 20 Emirati artists. Portrait of a Nation will also feature an additional 30 artworks by another 30 Emirati artists, whose works reflect upon their UAE homeland.
"Portrait of a Nation offers a rare opportunity to commission 20 new artworks by artists, many of whom have had longstanding ties with the foundation since its inception in 1996," said Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, founder of ADMAF.
Ever since she established the foundation, and later on the festival, Al Khamis-Kanoo tried to bring local communities - and nations - together through international cultural partnerships, educational arts programmes and community art events.
"In today's ever-complex world, it is more important than ever to seize what the artistic expression can offer; the opportunity to stand back and explore the many similarities and differences that shape us as individuals, communities, nations and regions," said Al Khamis-Kanoo.
Through their different artistic perspectives and styles, the 50 artworks are a "nation" in themselves, portraying the individual thought and creativity of 50 different artistic minds, inspired by the same land.
Running until May 10 at the Emirates Palace, Portrait of a Nation is divided in seven themes: Nation and Unity, Geography and Nature, Architecture and Urbanism, Portraiture and Identity, Religion and Spirituality, Language and Calligraphy as well as Tradition and Heritage.
From large-scale sculptures to paintings, drawings, photographs, collages, videos and installations, the exhibition captures the ever changing face of the visual arts in the United Arab Emirates today.
This year, ADF did not stop at just one art exhibition. Its visual arts programme also includes Picture This, an exhibition of artworks created earlier this year by autistic children, including students of The New England Centre for Children Abu Dhabi, The Future Centre for Special Needs, GOALS UAE and The Autism Society, The exhibition will run until April 30 at The Galleria, Al Maryah Island here.
The Islamic Arts Exhibition, created by the people of Sharjah, will open on April 18 and run until April 30 at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation.
Both exhibitions are part of ADF's education and community programmes, which this year take a front seat on the festival's agenda.
"The community and education programme is a very important element of the annual Abu Dhabi Festival, offering access to free grassroots cultural events for people across the UAE to experience," Al Khamis-Kanoo told Khaleej Times.
This year's programme features 21 events, including Ministry Of Science Live!, a popular science event for families to enjoy and The Bullet, a light comedy about love and mortality," she added.
The programme also features Back To School, which will bring young students from local schools to watch the rehearsals of the headline performers of ADF 2016.
The Music Club along with Zayed Higher Organisation's Abu Dhabi Autism Centre will engage autistic children in a series of music workshops.
The community highlight is the Storytelling Tour, which will visit nurseries across the UAE to give toddlers a gateway into the wonderful world of literature, part of the UAE 2016 Year of Reading.

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