It’s an Abu Dhabi frame of mind…

Despite the global pandemic, last year’s Abu Dhabi Art festival still took place — though, like much else at the time, it was a solely virtual affair.

The need to protect public health superseded all leisure and pleasure indulgences. We put our gallery meandering on hold, deferred our lust for the musk of greasepaint and jointly agreed that a series of cyber events were an immeasurably more aesthetically pleasing alternative, to no event at all.

With the vaccination campaign edging closer to completion and cases remaining stable, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT) has been able to confirm that Abu Dhabi Art, will return to the capital this November, live and in-situ, in all its creative peacocking wonder.

This news follows the success of the recently concluded, in-person Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

The 2021 edition will take place between November 18 and November 21, under the patronage of HH Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office.

The central staging point for the fair’s experiences will remain at Manarat Al Saadiyat. Though there will be stunning new commissions showcased at strategic and culturally important locations across the emirate, from the deserts of Liwa right into the heart of Al Ain’s garden city.

You might also like

Abu Dhabi International Book Fair to return in May as a live event
Abu Dhabi Art returns next month for a virtual edition

And what did we learn..?

There will be online digital components too. Far from dampening spirits, last year’s virtual event actual invited a reimaging of how Abu Dhabi Art can evolve. HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “Whilst the last year has brought up many challenges and issues for the art world, it has also brought forth opportunities to innovate … This pandemic has shown us that our way forward is through collaboration, adaptation and innovation.”

“For any society to blossom, culture must be part of its DNA, and must be integral to its aspirations for progression and development”

“Abu Dhabi Art has adapted swiftly to the challenges that have faced the art ecosystem during the pandemic and will contribute to cultural growth and to the art market in the UAE with renewed vigour this year. We look forward to welcoming visitors and the community back to the fair this November.”

Playing safe

And of course safety will be paramount. HE Saood Abdulaziz Al Hosani, Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi, said, “Abu Dhabi is one of the safest places in the world to visit in 2021, and we are excited to announce that we will be welcoming visitors to our programme at Manarat Al Saadiyat at the end of the year, and we will be adhering to all necessary health and safety regulations.”

The list of featured artists, curators and galleries will be released over the next few months, and we promise to keep you updated.

Images: DCT