Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority Presents Emirati Expressions IV: Conventions of Arts

The 2015 edition explores the functionality and usability of art through works by 15 accomplished Emirati artists, displayed at Manarat Al Saadiyat, and in the community clubs around the city of Abu Dhabi

The fourth edition of Emirati Expressions will open on November 12th 2015, exhibiting works by 15 Emirati artists at Manarat Al Saadiyat and throughout the city of Abu Dhabi, alongside an exciting public programme of talks, workshops and publications.

The exhibition, which will be on display until March 31st 2016, will feature the work of Emirati artists whose projects oscillate naturally between design and fine art, combining languages of form and use to produce a communal, cultural art practice that is embedded in the social fabric of the UAE. Artworks will include wearable textiles, photography, furniture design, interactive video installations, paintings, illustrations, large-scale sculptures, and a live studio where artists will be working throughout the exhibition.

Alongside the main exhibition at Manarat Al Saadiyat, artists have been invited to produce site-specific works inspired by Abu Dhabi’s diverse and historic social clubs, including the Emirates Writers Union, Armed Forces Officers’ Club, Abu Dhabi Theatre, the Sudanese Club and the Yacht and Sailing Club. Emirati Expressions IV: Conventions of Arts will present specially commissioned artworks inspired by the dynamic archives of these interactive spaces for community engagement, interpreting them as precursors to modern cultural institutions.

Throughout the exhibition, Emirati Expressions IV: Conventions of Arts will also present a series of public events, artists’ talks and workshops that engage with the UAE’s arts community and wider population. The public programme of events will launch at Abu Dhabi Art in November 2015 and continue throughout the duration of the exhibition; Artscape, the popular event celebrating the arts of the UAE, will also return in February.

  • Emirati Expressions IV: Conventions of Arts is curated by Maisa Al Qassimi, Programmes Manager, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority and Reem Fadda, Associate Curator, Middle Eastern Art for the Abu Dhabi Project of the Solomon R. Guggenheim, with Muneera Al Sayegh, Programmes Officer, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.

”Each edition of Emirati Expressions is driven by a unique curatorial idea that reflects on the shared themes interwoven in the diverse practices of contemporary Emirati artists,” commented Maisa Al Qassimi. “For the 2015 exhibition, we engage with a theme of function and usability in art, arguing that fine art could be applied for use and dynamic interaction. Objects steered towards social engagement produce tangible cultural relationships that enhance and further their identities as artworks. The arts of the UAE have traditionally sought a more communal, socially based practice inspired by dynamic cultural institutions, and blend functional design with aesthetic creativity. In setting these artists and artworks into dialogue, the exhibition itself has become a process of artmaking, reflection and engagement with diverse participants and the wider societies of the UAE.”

Reem Fadda says: “The diverse cultural production of the artists exhibited in Emirati Expressions IV:  Conventions of Arts finds a common theme embedded in the social fabric of the UAE, where responsiveness to society is important and is reflected through art.. The UAE’s various cultural clubs, which celebrate activities from the arts to sports and facilitate interactions between diverse communities, form hubs of social engagement with multicultural memberships and rich archives. Research into the historic and contemporary identities of these social clubs was the backdrop for this exhibition, allowing the artists and us to reflect on the community and city. By replacing the strictures of disciplinary and conceptual separation with multidisciplinary experimentation, this generation of Emirati artists is developing a body of immersive, engaged, socially relevant artwork.”

Artists exhibiting at Emirati Expressions IV: Conventions of Arts include:

Ghaya Bin Mesmar, who has designed the striking logos, posters and branding for Emirati Expressions IV: Conventions of Arts; her designs will be available to purchase as tote bags throughout the show.

Ammar Al Attar, a photographer whose work documents makeshift prayer rooms and mosques from around the UAE. His photographs have been acquired by local and international institutions include the Sharjah Art Foundation and Barjeel Art Foundation.

Hind Bin Demaithan, who will be presenting an interactive video installation inspired by the majlis and commenting on social interactions mediated by technology.

Emirati Expressions IV List of Artists:

  • Ammar Al Attar
  • Afra Al Dhaheri
  • Zeinab Al Hashemi
  • Farah Al Qasimi
  • Salem Al Qassimi
  • Maryam Al Suwaidi
  • Sumayyah Al Suwaidi
  • Hind Bin Demaithan
  • Rami Farook
  • Lamya Gargash
  • Alia Lootah
  • Ghaya Bin Mesmar
  • Khalid Mezaina
  • Nasir Nasrallah
  • Khalid Shafar

A publication exploring the theme of the exhibition, including research on Abu Dhabi’s cultural clubs and essays that contextualise the work of featured artists, will be released in early 2016.

Emirati Expressions was first held in 2009, when 64 Emirati artists presented more than 165 paintings, sculptures, drawings, calligraphic works, prints, photographs, videos, mixed media works and installations. The second edition (2011–2012) reflected on Emirati cultural heritage through the thematic lens ‘Movement of Thoughts’, which included photographs by Emirati artists as well as visiting photographers with a global viewpoint. In 2013, Emirati Expressions: Realised showcased the newly commissioned artworks of six distinguished Emirati artists from across the UAE.

For Press Inquiries: 

Reem El Tal

Brunswick Arts


+971 50 708 0232


Emirati Expressions aims to position Emirati artists at the core of Abu Dhabi’s art scene, and to nurture and support their talents through a series of exhibitions that display their works, commission artworks, and provide a platform for active and continuous interaction with world art experts.

The first edition of Emirati Expressions exhibition was held in 2009. It presented 64 Emirati artists through more than 165 paintings, sculptures, drawings, calligraphy, prints, photographs, videos, mixed media works and installations. It was curated by Anne Baldassari, Director of the Picasso Museum in Paris.

The second edition, 2011-2012, reflected on the ‘movement of thoughts’, and particularly on Emirati cultural heritage, through an exhibition of photographs by Emirati artists and visiting photographers through a view that was inherently global. The exhibition was a tool where artists interacted to create a new aesthetic expression as they found a voice to express that moment of their own creative path. The exhibition featured photography by Afra Al Dhaheri, Afra Bin Dhaher, Alia Al Shamsi, Ammar Al Attar, Fatima Al Yousef, Hadeyeh Badri, Lateefa Bint Maktoum, Maitha Demithan, Mira Obaid Al Qaseer and Salem Al Qassimi. The work exhibited was the result of a series of photography workshops with artists led by photographers Stephen Shore, Artistic Director of the exhibition, JR, who is known for larger than life photographic installations in public places, and Tarek Al Ghoussein, artist and Professor of Visual Art at NYU Abu Dhabi. The exhibition also featured a rich public programme of workshops and lectures tailored to audiences of all ages, including Artscape Emirati.

The 2013-2014 edition, Emirati Expressions: Realised, showcased works based on the “unrealised” projects of six Emirati artists: Abdullah Al Saadi, Ebtisam Abdulaziz, Layla Juma, Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim, and Mohammed Kazem. Recognised for the breadth of their artistic practice and history of involvement in shaping the contemporary visual art scene in the UAE, the featured artists presented works that revealed commonalities in their visual languages and artistic practices. These artists share a linked history of connected experiences distinguishing them as a generation of established Emirati artists. Emirati Expressions: Realised was curated by Reem Fadda and Maisa Al Qassimi. The exhibition also invited artists from across the UAE, including Abdul Qader Al Rais, Dr. Najat Makki, Jalal Luqman, Sumayyah Al Suwaidi, and Mattar bin Lahej, to take part in a series of public talks and educational workshops, and share expertise on the contemporary art scene in the UAE.


Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi)  

Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority conserves and promotes the heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi emirate and leverages them in the development of a world-class, sustainable destination of distinction which enriches the lives of visitors and residents alike. The authority manages the emirate’s tourism sector and markets the destination internationally through a wide range of activities aimed at attracting visitors and investment. Its policies, plans and programmes relate to the preservation of heritage and culture, including protecting archaeological and historical sites and to developing museums, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. The authority supports intellectual and artistic activities and cultural events to nurture a rich cultural environment and honour the emirate’s heritage. A key authority role is to create synergy in the destination’s development through close co-ordination with its wide-ranging stakeholder base.

Photo Credit: VisitAbuDhabi.ae