Abu Dhabi Art has announced that the programme’s Beyond Emerging Artists (BEA) will be shown during this year’s Venice Biennale. 

The artists, Almaha Jaralla, Samo Shalaby, and Latifa Saeed, will exhibit their work at Marignana Arte gallery in Venice from 16 April – 15 May, coinciding with the opening of the 60th edition of the Biennale, which holds the theme of Foreigners Everywhere this year.

Participating artist Samo Shalaby commented: "As an artist, being invited to exhibit in Venice is both an honour and an exhilarating opportunity to showcase my work on a global stage. I'm particularly excited to present What Lies Beneath, my latest installation that debuted at Abu Dhabi Art in November 2023. Through a fusion of personal narratives expressed through painting, installation, antiquity, and multimedia elements, I aim to create an immersive experience that invites viewers to explore the complexities of identity and perception.

"For emerging artists like myself, platforms like this are vital spaces where we can push boundaries, challenge conventions, and offer fresh perspectives on art and culture. As a Middle Eastern artist, it's crucial to elevate diverse voices and bring them to global attention. I am grateful to the BEA platform for their support and advocacy for emerging artists, and I look forward to sharing my vision with audiences in Venice and beyond."

Latifa Saeed said: "I am most excited about the opportunity to weave my narrative into the rich tapestry of this global cultural haven. For emerging artists, such opportunities are vital; they offer a global stage, fostering growth and dialogue. Visitors to Venice can expect my work to be a reflection and representation of my region’s essence, I will be showcasing a dissection of a natural phenomenon observed in the Gulf desert landscape under the title Dust Devils, creating a dialogue between nature and innovation. The experimental artworks evoke a sense of wonder and contemplation inviting viewers to explore nature’s selective, intricate harmony of the four elements: air, fire, water, and earth."

Since 2017, Abu Dhabi Art’s Beyond Emerging Artists programme has provided three emerging artists in the UAE with a platform from which to develop their practice and create ambitious art projects. The artists participate in a year-long programme of workshops and studio visits under the mentorship of a guest curator, before showcasing their works at the annual Art Fair in November at Manarat Al Saadiyat. The curator for this edition of the BEA programme is art historian, publisher, and curator Morad Montazami.

Designed to introduce emerging UAE-based artists to a global audience, this is Abu Dhabi Art’s second iteration in Venice, and its fourth international presentation. In timing the exhibition to coincide with La Biennale di Venezia, Abu Dhabi Art offers the young artists an opportunity to exhibit their work on an international stage and engage with art professionals, collectors, and fellow artists.

Almaha Jaralla commented: "Showing in Venice with Abu Dhabi Art is really interesting for me because of the history of pearl trading between our part of the world and Europe – in particular Venice. Pearl diving was crucial for our economy before the oil boom that was to change our urban fabric. As our towns and cities transform even further, how will we remember the architectural remains of our not-so distant past, that are already disappearing? Venice, like Abu Dhabi, is an island but whilst we grapple with radical change, in what seems an incredibly short time frame, Venice has suffered centuries of flooding and damage to its building and architecture. I think there are interesting conversations to be held about the architectures of both places, about the context of showing my exhibition, Crude Memory, in Venice."

Latifa Saeed added: "I would like to express gratitude to our leadership for their unwavering support of local and regional artists. Their vision is fostering a vibrant and contemporary renaissance for the region."

Dyala Nusseibeh, Director of Abu Dhabi Art, said: "Abu Dhabi Art is committed to nurturing emerging artists and providing them with a platform to broaden the reach of their work. We are grateful to Friends of Abu Dhabi Art, whose support has provided UAE based emerging artists with an unparalleled international platform. The Venice Biennale presents a remarkable opportunity for these young artists to reach new audiences and represent the UAE on a global stage."