Abu Dhabi Art Curators Introduce Performances and New Commissions
Rose Lejeune introduces a work by Rand Abdul Jabbar, while Sam Baradouil and Tell Fellrath discuss the three new commissions.
Christopher Joshua Benton, The World Was My Garden (2021). Courtesy Abu Dhabi Art. Courtesy the artist and Abu Dhabi Art.
Forty-five galleries are showing at Abu Dhabi Art this week from 17 to 21 November at Manarat Al Saadiyat, an art hub on Saadiyat Island.
In addition to 45 gallery booths, the fair includes a performing arts programme curated by Rose Lejeune, and three new commissions by emerging artists that were developed by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath.
Lejeune, who is the founder and director of Performance Exchange, chose four performances that implicate the audience, asking them to respond and participate. One work she chose to highlight was Every Act of Recognition Alters What Survives (2021) by Rand Abdul Jabbar.
'The work emerged from a participatory process, in which women of the Iraqi and Arab diaspora in London engaged in conversation around the role of memory in relation to place and history,' Lejeune told Ocula Magazine.
'The performative element of the work is the personal story of London-based Syrian writer and performer Entissar Hajali's experience of arriving in London, the re-learning of seemingly simple things like shopping and moving through the landscape, but also encounters with the river and her memories of home,' she continued.
The other artists giving performances during the fair are French duo Louise Hervé & Clovis Maillet, Palestinian artist Mays Albaik, and Russian artist Taus Makhacheva.
Another three artists are taking part in Beyond: Artist Commissions, a programme the fair initiated in 2017. They are UAE-born artists Hashel Al Lamki and Maitha Abdalla, and American-born UAE-based artist Christopher Joshua Benton.
'What has impressed us is how much each of the three artists pushed their initial ideas to create truly immersive installations that are made up of different individual components,' said Bardaouil and Fellrath. 'Much more than creating singular works, they are each telling their own stories, directly engaging the visitors into their unique universe.'
Despite challenges that arose from not being able to meet with the artists in person, they said working with the artists had been 'a wonderfully constructive experience'.
'Now that we have installed the works, it is wonderful to see how the three artist rooms are at once a kind of solo exhibition of their diverse practice and at the same time beautifully form a coherent group exhibition,' they said.