Cultural Foundation, an arts centre managed by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, has announced three new exhibitions as part of its upcoming fall season. Opening to the public on 13 October and running until 2 February 2023, the diverse exhibitions will introduce audiences to a wide variety of artistic expression, spanning seminal pieces by internationally celebrated, regionally-based female artists to newly commissioned work from local artists.

The season’s flagship exhibition, Fahrelnissa and the Institutes: Towards a Sky, celebrates the work of the female artists who pioneered the Modern and Contemporary art scene in Jordan, including internationally acclaimed artist Fahrelnissa Zeid, Wijdan, Hind Nasser, and Ufemia Rizk. By surveying the dynamic role of these avant-garde women, this exhibition sheds light on a chapter of art history that has been overlooked so far. Through their valuable contributions, these artists were instrumental in creating a progressive and bold legacy of artistic practices, and helped to establish the thought and educational frameworks that shaped the art scene in Jordan as we know it today. Each artist in the exhibition is showcased individually with a dedicated section, and an archival room displays the rich institutional history of these female artists. Fahrelnissa and the Institutes is curated by Cultural Foundation Director Reem Fadda, with assistant curators Noor Almehairbi and Zuhoor Alsayegh.

Life is a Circus is a group exhibition wherein the Cultural Foundation revisits its first digital art exhibition, which it hosted in 1996 with the work of Emirati artist Jalal Luqman. In Life is a Circus, Luqman returns to the Cultural Foundation alongside 22 UAE-based digital artists, all of whom have been commissioned to produce work specifically for the show. The exhibition looks at how digital art has evolved over the years, through a theme that explores the ironies of contemporary life. It is also the Foundation’s first NFT (non-fungible token) art exhibition, with visitors able to purchase the artworks online. Life is a Circus featured artists include Rafeea Alkhyeli, Hamdan Al Shamsi, Zainab Mohamed, Rafiaa Hussain, Rashid Al Mulla, Sarwa Abdul, Aisha Al Hashmi, Saggaf Al Hashmi, Liza Ramos, Reem Al Mazroei and others. It is curated by Sumayyah Al Suwaidi and assistant curator Aysha Al Aseeri.

The third and final showcase of the season is the children’s exhibition Lullabies: A Journey Through Song, curated by Reem Al Hashmi. Lullabies presents a collection of sleep songs from various regions around the world, including the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, taking parents and caretakers on a nostalgic journey through lullabies from their childhood. The exhibition highlights the history, context and use of each song through different media forms like video animations, interactive games and exploration zones.

Reem Fadda, Director of Cultural Foundation, said: “Our diverse new season of art exhibitions at the Cultural Foundation will showcase fresh perspectives to our audiences. The flagship show, Fahrelnissa and the Institutes: Towards a Sky, brings to Abu Dhabi the incredible work of avant-garde contemporary female artists living and working in Jordan, including artist Fahrelnissa Zeid, who was an influential mentor. Meanwhile, Life is a Circus not only focuses on digital work as an art form, but also sheds light on emerging artists from the UAE. This is at the core of what we do at the Cultural Foundation – introduce audiences to critically acclaimed work from the region and beyond as well as support local artists who are forging their paths in the art world.”

A public programme of talks, film screenings and events relating to the three exhibitions will be hosted by the Cultural Foundation, details of which will be announced at a later date.

Cultural Foundation is open from Saturday to Thursday from 9 am to 8 pm, and on Fridays from 2 pm to 8 pm. For more information, visit