His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office and Patron of Abu Dhabi Art, attended a virtual preview tour of Abu Dhabi Art 2020, accompanied by His Excellency Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) and Abu Dhabi Art curators.

Abu Dhabi Art Virtual Tour

Now in its 12th year, Abu Dhabi Art is holding its first ever virtual edition for 2020, taking place from 19 – 26 November. The fair will feature more than 300 works from 15 countries, displayed through independent booths and in dedicated curated sectors, with participation from a record 68 galleries and 200+ artists. This includes seven new galleries presenting contemporary art from across the African continent and 13 new South Korean galleries.

For the first time at Abu Dhabi Art, internationally renowned guest curators have worked with galleries and artists to highlight works from different geographies and present them online. The guest curators drew on diverse perspectives for the most global iteration of the fair to date.

This year’s Abu Dhabi Art retains everything that makes it so special – a diverse global roster of galleries, fresh curatorial perspectives, and thought-provoking programming – and is now more accessible to audiences around the world than ever before

Mohamed Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi 

HE Mohamed Al Mubarak, said: “Profound dedication, hard work and creative thought have gone into the latest edition of Abu Dhabi Art, opening to the public on Thursday. Adaptability and innovation have been crucial to DCT Abu Dhabi’s strategic initiatives and practical operations this year, and our work around the fair has been no exception.

“Staging our flagship art fair as a digital event for the first time is a remarkable achievement that cements Abu Dhabi’s commitment to promoting the arts and nurturing culture. But, faced with a new landscape filled with unique challenges and opportunities, we strived to swiftly and successfully pivot to adapt to the changing circumstances. This year’s Abu Dhabi Art retains everything that makes it so special – a diverse global roster of galleries, fresh curatorial perspectives, and thought-provoking programming – and is now more accessible to audiences around the world than ever before.”

Abu Dhabi Art Virtual Tour

HH Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed’s virtual tour covered the modern and contemporary galleries as well as a focus on the curated sections. Abu Dhabi Art Director Dyala Nusseibeh provided an overview of the Modern and Contemporary section, which this year boasts participation by 37 galleries hailing from 15+ countries around the world, with works exhibited in virtual booths offering curatorial frameworks for each presentation.

His Highness’ private tour continued with the curator of The Day After, Simon Njami, helming the fair’s first ever sector dedicated to contemporary African art. Bringing together works from seven new galleries, The Day After explores concepts of time during the pandemic.

Abu Dhabi Art Project Head Alanood Al Hammadi then took gave a tour of Sung woo Kim’s curated section Material-Real, a new sector exploring contemporary art from South Korea with 13 new galleries.

Curator and gallerist Ashwin Thadani, who has returned to Abu Dhabi Art to present contemporary works from across the Indian subcontinent in India Today, presented all six participating galleries.

Then Beyond: Emerging Artists curator Maya El Khalil discussed this year’s three commissioned artworks, giving a presentation of the work created by emerging Emirati artists Afra Al Dhaheri, Hind Mezaina and Afra Al Suwaidi. 

HH Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed’s private virtual tour concluded with a presentation of the performance programme In the Round by curator Rose Lejeune, providing an overview of four new performance art activations by international artists.

Abu Dhabi Art Virtual Tour

Abu Dhabi Art 2020

The fair’s first-ever virtual edition will be live from Thursday, 19 November to Thursday, 26 November 2020.

The Modern and Contemporary section will feature 37 participating galleries including: 1x1 Art Gallery (Dubai), Agial Art Gallery (Beirut), Aicon Contemporary (New York), Almine Rech (New York, London, Paris, Shanghai), ATHR (Jeddah), Ayyam Gallery (Dubai), COLNAGHI (London), Custot Gallery (Dubai), Galerie Elmarsa Gallery (Dubai), Etihad Modern Art Gallery (Abu Dhabi), Galerie Brigitte Schenk (Cologne), Galerie Janine Rubeiz (Beirut), GALERIST (Istanbul), GALLERIA CONTINUA (San Gimignano), Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde (Dubai), Gallery Lee & Bae (Busan), Gazelli Art House (London), Giorgio Persano (Turin), Hafez Gallery (Jeddah), Hanart TZ Gallery (Honk Kong), Hunar Gallery (Dubai), Le Violon Bleu (Carthage), Leehwaik Gallery (Seoul), Leila Heller Gallery (Dubai), Marian Goodman Gallery (New York), Meem Gallery (Dubai), October Gallery (London), Pi Artworks (Istanbul), Sabrina Amrani (Madrid), Salwa Zeidan Gallery (Abu Dhabi), Sapar Contemporary (New York), Zawyeh Gallery (Dubai), The Park Gallery (London), Tabari Art Space (Dubai) and Lawrie Shabibi (Dubai).

Simon Njami is working alongside a record seven participating galleries for The Day After, dedicated to contemporary art from across the African continent. The galleries include Afriart Gallery (Kampala), representing Richard Atugonza and Ahmed Abushriaa; Catinca Tabacaru Gallery (Bucharest), representing Chioma Ebinama and Terrence Musekiwa; Galerie Cécile Fakoury (Ivory Coast), representing Ouattara Watts and Dalila Dalléas Bouzar; Galerie Maia Muller (Paris), representing Hassan Musa and Myriam Mihindou; Galerie MAM (Cameroon), representing Patrick Yonkeu and Joel M’pahdoo; Septieme Gallery (Paris), representing Kaloki Nyamai and Yvanovitch Mbaya; and OH Gallery (Senegal), representing Gopal Dagnogo and Aliou Diack.

Sung woo Kim’s Material – Real, looking at contemporary art from South Korea, features 13 participating galleries including A-Lounge (Seoul), representing Sunny Kim; Arario Gallery (Seoul), representing Jang Jongwan; Gallery Baton (Seoul), representing Chung Heeseung; Gallery Chosun (Seoul), representing Jeong Jeong-ju; Gallery Hyundai (Seoul), representing Lee Seulgi; GALLERY2 (Seoul), representing Jeon Hyunsun; Gana Art Hannam (Seoul), representing Back Seung Woo; Hakgojae Gallery (Seoul), representing Lee Woosung; Johyun Gallery (Busan), representing Lee Bae; P21 (Seoul), representing Choi Jeong Hwa; PIBI Gallery (Seoul), representing Chun Eun; Whistle (Seoul), representing Ram Ham; and SPACE Willing N Dealing (Seoul), representing Baek Kyungho.

India Today, a curated exploration of the Indian subcontinent by Ashwin Thadani, features six galleries including Exhibit 320 (New Delhi), Galerie Isa (Mumbai), Gallery Espace (New Delhi), Grosvenor Gallery (London), Threshold Art Gallery (New Delhi) and Vadehra Art Gallery (New Delhi).

Nada Raza will work alongside five participating galleries for A Picture Held Us Captive, a section on contemporary artists represented by UAE galleries. The galleries include The Third Line (Dubai), Carbon12 (Dubai), Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde (Dubai), Green Art Gallery (Dubai) and Grey Noise (Dubai). 

Abu Dhabi Art’s Beyond: Emerging Artists programme, curated by Maya El-Khalil, will explore the theme of memory and feature three new commissioned works by emerging Emirati artists Hind Mezaina, Afra Al Dhaheri and Afra Al Suwaidi. Works can be viewed online and at Manarat Al Saadiyat, where they will be exhibited to the public from 19 November through the end of December 2020.

The 2020 virtual fair will also host a public Performing Arts Programme, curated by Rose Lejeune. The programme presents four new works by Alice Theobald, Raed Yassin, Maitha Abdalla and Nastio Mosquito, created during the pandemic and filmed in 360 degrees in Berlin, London, UAE and Lisbon. The works will be available for online visitors to view through downloadable VR goggles using their mobile phones, and for visitors based in the UAE to visit in person at Manarat Al Saadiyat.

A Talks Programme will be available online, offering a series of stimulating cultural conversations featuring some of the art world’s leading figures, which aim to engage audiences in discussions related to the complex history of the UAE and contemporary art practice in the country and around the world.

For more information on Abu Dhabi Art 2020 and its year-round programmes, visit abudhabiart.ae and follow Abu Dhabi Art on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.