August 29, 2017 - me Collectors Room Berlin - Portrait of a Nation
August 29, 2017

me Collectors Room Berlin

Khalid Al Banna, Cycle of change (detail), 2016. Fabric collage, 130 cm diameter. An Abu Dhabi Festival 2016 Commission. Courtesy of the artist. Part of the ADMAF Art Collection. © ADMAF.

Portrait of a Nation
Contemporary Art from the United Arab Emirates featuring works from the ADMAF Art Collection
September 13–October 29, 2017

Press preview: September 11, 11am–1pm, on the occasion of Berlin Art Week 2017
Opening: September 13, 11am–1pm

me Collectors Room Berlin
Auguststrasse 68
10117 Berlin
Hours: Wednesday–Monday 12–6pm

T +49 30 86008510
F +49 30 860085120
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The exhibition Portrait of a Nation offers a glimpse into the creative practices of 50 contemporary artists from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Visitors are invited to explore the country through the individual perspectives of the participating artists who call it home. The exhibition is divided into seven themed rooms: Nation & Unity, Geography & Nature, Architecture & Urbanism, Portraiture & Identity, Religion & Spirituality, Language & Calligraphy, and Tradition & Heritage.

Founded in 1971 the UAE is today home to some 200 nationalities. The exhibition offers a rare glimpse into its little-known history and diversity while considering significant contemporary questions of heritage and identity. Against a backdrop of rapid development and globalisation, the works explore complex ideas of modern nationhood, visiting urban and rural landscapes and examining major issues of unity, spirituality, and language.

Tracing the nation’s shifting identity, the exhibition includes 20 specially commissioned works by emerging and established artists. These new reflections are contextualised by seminal pieces dating back to the birth of the country. Three generations of renowned Emirati artists are presented; from Hassan Sharif and his atelier students to younger artists.

The exhibition presents a variety of mediums: sculpture, photography, land art, painting, textiles, video, scenography, and new takes on traditional crafts. One of the largest exhibitions of Emirati art, Portrait of a Nation opened in Abu Dhabi in 2016. Now staged abroad for the first time, it prompts urgent and globally relevant questions on identity and exchange in the 21st century.

Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF)
The exhibition features works from the collection of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF), among the oldest, non-profit cultural organisations in the Arabian Gulf and organiser of the Abu Dhabi Festival. Founded in 1996, ADMAF has pioneered new artistic practices over the last 20 years, seeking to deepen global cross-cultural dialogue and inspire a renewed interest in the creativity of the UAE and the wider Arab region.

Events programme
September 13, 1-6pm:
 "Meet the Artists": Meet 22 of the featured Emirati artists and listen to their stories in a series of one-on-one conversations.
September 14, 3-5pm: Presentation and talk with featured artist Saeed Al Madani
September 16, 4-5pm: Talk with Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF), Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival; Moderated by Nicola Graef
September 16, 5-6pm: Concert "Tarek Yamani – Peninsular: Portrait in Khaleeji Rhythms and Jazz"
September 30, 4-7pm: Film day "UAE on Screen" with Father’s Grant by Ahmed Zain, Nearby Sky by Nujoom Al Ghanem, The Art of Nature, an ADMAF film to accompany the Abu Dhabi Festival’s 2017 exhibition
October 5, 7-8:30pm: Panel discussion "Emirati Identity, Emirati Creativity" with featured artists Zeinab Al Hashemi and Amna Al Dabbagh, as well as the world’s first Emirati spoken word artist Afra Atiq; Moderated by Arsalan Mohammed
October 18, 7-9:30pm: Art & dinner
October 19, 7-9pm: Talk & performance by the artist Karima Al Shomely, who speaks about her research into the Emirati burqa, followed by a live performance; Moderated by Arsalan Mohammed
October 26, 7-8:30pm: Talk "50 Years of Transformation" with Dr Frauke Heard-Bey, author and historian, David Heard, petroleum engineer; Moderated by Monika Krauss 

Press contact
Tina Volk: presse [​at​] / T +49 (0)30 86 00 85 114 / F +49 (0)30 86 00 85 120

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