Emirati artists rising on the revelation of reality

Emirati artists rising on the revelation of reality

With the opening of the Louvre on the shores of Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi at the end of 2015, as well as Guggenheim in the works for 2017, artists are urging that the time is just ripe for the UAE art culture to step into the scene.



By Jasmine Al Kuttab

Published: Mon 22 Jun 2015, 12:48 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:09 PM

A visitor takes a photograph of Art of the Emirates.- KT photo

Abu Dhabi: Emirati artists have called for the creation of authentic art, which should not only reveal reality, but also be a genuine expression of one's own self.

The call came on the sidelines of the ‘The Art of the Emirates’ book launch by the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation.

The first volume explores the vision and the creativity of local artists Khalil Abdul Wahid, Jalal Luqman and Sumayyah Al Suwaidi. It highlights leading figures, who helped shape the UAE art scene through their inspirational expression.

“Reality has an immense power on one’s talent,” Khalil Abdul Wahid told Khaleej Times. “You might have something in your mind that you want to express,” he explains, “whether it’s good or bad, you must express it, and I do that through my art.”

The artist also believes that art, whether it is pleasurable for the sight or not, has a hidden and deep meaning. There is somewhat of a reality beneath the surface of the material, and that is something Khalil wants audiences to see. “I want the viewers to understand that there is a deeper meaning than just an image, a painting or a video,” he said.

With the opening of the Louvre on the shores of Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi at the end of 2015, as well as Guggenheim in the works for 2017, artists are urging that the time is just ripe for the UAE art culture to step into the scene.

“The time is excellent,” Jalal Luqman tells Khaleej Times. “The Emirati art will soon become richer as this is the peak. However, it might become more challenging as art is rapidly growing from all over the region.”

Although one may feel that art comes naturally, the key component is to stay true and authentic. “I rarely see something and copy it,” explains Jalal. “I try to express my art through my own ideas and keep my work as close to what I feel inside.”

Jalal believes that art and reality should be joined as one. This belief parallels to 19th century French Realism painters like Gustave Courbet, who strove on not depicting the ideal, but rather the reality of his time. “Reality isn’t always beautiful, thus art doesn’t necessarily have to look beautiful, it should just speak the truth,” Jalal points out.

Although having European museums making Abu Dhabi their second home is an immense move in the art world, staying true to original local and cultural talent might become challenging for future generations. “The challenge would be to maintain our identity. The Louvre, for example, will have an impact on local artists and local tastes,” explained Jalal.

Sumayyah Al Suwaidi also believes in being an honest artist. “My art is like my personal diary, it is a representation of my daily life,” she told Khaleej Times.

The growth of local art might however seem ambiguously uncomfortable at times, believes Al Suwaidi. “UAE art is growing, and it’s growing too fast that we might neglect to differentiate between the real artists and the wannabes.”

Emirati art is, however, clearly prevailing and Abu Dhabi is now becoming one of the art centres of the world. “The nation always knew that the art movement would sooner or later progress in the UAE, and now we are starting to see proof and evidence through all these local talents,” Khalil said.

Nevertheless, the faithful notion of these artists is to depict purely what they see and feel. “At the end of the day we are true art historians,” said Jalal. “Those who have the power to write history should only write the truth.”

jasmine@khaleejtimes.com


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