Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office, Abu Dhabi Art 2019 has come to a close, concluding a successful 11th edition of the leading art fair which welcomed scores of art lovers and industry insiders to its wide array of exhibits and programming on Saadiyat Island and in Al Ain.
The international art fair witnessed a fruitful collaboration between Art D’Egypte and Karim Francis gallery to present some of the best works by a number of Egypt’s stellar contemporary artists.
Founded by Nadine Abdel Ghaffar, Art D’Egypte is an art consultancy aims to raise the profile of Egyptian contemporary art while promoting and preserving the nation’s heritage sites. Abu Dhabi Art saw the first time that Art D’Egypte participate in an international fair, having focused their activity on exhibiting at Egyptian heritage sites in the past.
Hana El Beblawy, Executive Director at Art D’Egypte, said: “A lot of people have a certain image about Egypt and they always think about only one thing when Egypt comes up: the Pyramids, the Pharaohs, ancient history. They focus only on the history of Egypt not the contemporary or modern themes, so we want to shed light on this and to showcase contemporary and modern Egyptian artists who are living and creating and impressing the world with their art.”
Art D’Egypte’s exhibit was held in collaboration with Karim Francis gallery. Founded in 1995, Karim Francis Gallery aims to highlight contemporary Egyptian artists in a variety of styles and mediums, by presenting their work nationally, regionally, and internationally.
“This is the first time that we see a collaboration between two art platforms: Karim Francis Gallery and Art D’Egypt” said Karim Francis, owner and founder of the gallery. “We are exhibiting the works of four artists from different generations and who have different styles. First, we have the great artist Adam Henein with two works, a sculpture and a painting. Then, you will find an artist from the generation after him, Hazem El Mestikawy, who mainly works with cardboard and paper and similar materials. We also have arts by Ahman Askalany, who is one of the standout Egyptian artist, in addition to three works by Nihal Wahby.”
Abu Dhabi art saw an influx of visitors, collectors and art enthusiasts engage with exhibits from 50 galleries from across the globe, with Art D’Egypte and Karim Francis Gallery’s collaboration as one of the highlights of the fair as the first ever Egyptian partnership at Abu Dhabi Art.
“Everything [at Abu Dhabi Art] has been great so far and the team have been very helpful” said El Beblawy. “…We are impressed with [the art scene in Abu Dhabi]. We were happy to see that the government is really supporting the art. This is the kind of support that arts need… It’s a collective effort, and the outcome has been amazing.”
Abu Dhabi Art 2019 offers an exciting and engaging public program, with the leading art fair presenting a series of stimulating talks on such topics as the role of art and cultural identity, rising contemporary art centres and the perspective of new artistic generations. The program also featured daily performances, workshops and master classes that will provide visitors with the opportunity to engage with participating artists and learn more about their experiences.
Abu Dhabi Art expands beyond the notion of a traditional art fair, in placing strong emphasis on a diverse public engagement programme, including art installations and exhibitions, talks and events that take place in different locations throughout the year.
The culmination of this year-long programme is the Abu Dhabi Art event in November, which provides an important sales platform for participating galleries whilst also offering these galleries an opportunity to showcase ambitious installations and site specific works by their artists to an audience of over 20,000 visitors.