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Loans from the Region's Finest Collections, Brought Together During Abu Dhabi Art 2010
Al-Sheikhly, Ismail, Landscape, 1956. Private Collection.

ABU DHABI.- Abu Dhabi Art, the platform for Modern and Contemporary regional and international art, presents Opening the Doors: Collecting Middle Eastern Art, a major new exhibition of works featuring a host of the most significant Middle Eastern artists from major collections. Organised by Abu Dhabi Art 2010, with works secured by Christie’s, the exhibition will be held in Gallery One at the Emirates Palace until the 8th of January 2011. Comprised of ninety museum quality works spanning from the 1920’s to 2010, no similar exhibition has united masterpieces owned by the finest collectors of the region.

Abu Dhabi Art’s holistic approach to presenting art includes looking at how collections are created; Opening the Doors will offer an original insight into the art scene of the region through some of the finest and most important individual, corporate and institutional collections. It reveals a tradition of collecting and the phenomenal rise of arts patronage in the Middle East. Abu Dhabi, with the development of the Saadiyat Cultural District, is well placed to present this show and it comes as part of a series of exhibitions investigating the subject, from The Guggenheim: the Making of a Museum to the current show RSTW, which offers an insight into Larry Gagosian’s private collection.

“Opening the Doors demonstrates the fundamental importance of collecting and patronage of Middle Eastern art, which is a catalyst for the region’s cultural progress. It presents some of the highlights of the long history of Middle Eastern modern and contemporary art which has only come to international attention in the last five years,” said H.E. Mubarak Hamad Al Muhairi, Managing Director, TDIC. “This exhibition illustrates the artistic and cultural offering of Abu Dhabi Art 2010, which promises audiences this year a unique cultural experience through a dynamic programme of exhibitions, public programmes, workshops and educational activities,” he added.

Opening the Doors utilises an approach that is sensitive to the complex narrative of the region’s history. Presented in the exhibition are masterpieces from the Middle East, many of the works unseen before in public, by fifty‐two modern and contemporary artists from the region. These include Mahmoud Mokhtar, Shaker Hassan Al‐Said, Parviz Tanavoli, Jawad Salim, Fateh Moudares, Hassan Sharif, Walid Raad and Abdulnasser Gharem. The plethora of forms and techniques utilised by the artists reflects the Middle East’s ever shifting cultural and political context.

Loans were secured from a range of generous patrons, including an array of the Middle East’s most eminent private collectors including H.H. Sheikha Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, H.E. Abdul Rahman Al Owais, H.E. Dr. Anwar M. Gargash and Sheikh Sultan bin Sooud Al‐Qassemi ‐ Barjeel Art Foundation, to name a few. Other works were drawn from corporate collections including those of the Dubai International Financial Centre, Abraaj Capital, TDIC and ADTA.

Opening the Doors is part of a series of exhibitions that symbolises Abu Dhabi’s active role in influencing the cultural field, inspiring debate and experimentation in the arts, thereby changing the nature of art in the Middle East and the world.

Abu Dhabi Art 2010 | Modern and Contemporary Art | Opening the Doors: Collecting Middle Eastern Art |

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