John Jones Review - Abu Dhabi Art Fair

John Jones Review - Abu Dhabi Art Fair

Our Business Development Manager Frankie Spickernell reflects on her trip to Abu Dhabi Art Fair, stand-out galleries and artworks, interesting events and cultural change in the region!


Whilst I may have taken the British weather with me (the first rain in Dubai and Abu Dhabi for months!) this didn't put a dampener on four great days in the region for Abu Dhabi Art 2013.

Located in the Saadiyat Cultural District, ADA showcases museum standard works from a fantastic selection of world renowned galleries, each exhibiting pieces by established and emerging artists from the UAE and beyond!

Here are a few of my highlights …

Meem Gallery, Dubai, UAE

Showcasing an eclectic selection of modern masters and contemporary works by Arab and Iranian artists, standout pieces included an abstract sculptural work by Iraqi artist, Dia Al-Azzawi, and an untitled oil on canvas by Tunisian artist Rafik El Kamel, executed in 1980, demonstrating one of his earlier experimentations with abstraction.

The Third Line, Dubai, UAE

Famed for representing contemporary Middle Eastern artists on a local, regional and national level, as well as publishing books on practicing artists from the UAE and beyond, The Third Line displayed a range of thoroughly engaging work by the likes of Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige, Tarek Al Ghoussein, Babak Golkar, Sherin Guirguis, Sahand Hesamiyan, Pouran Jinchi and Farhad Moshiri. They were also responsible for a fantastic exhibition of work by Rana Begum, an artist well known for combining sculptural and painting elements in her investigation of ‘simplicity, geometry, symmetry and repetition’.

Edge of Arabia, London UK

Edge Of Arabia was founded by a small collective of artists who met in Saudi Arabia in 2003. The organisation states that ‘what began as a border-crossing collaboration, against the backdrop of the last Gulf War, is now an established platform which has grown bold through the realisation of international projects and the grassroots support for its mission.” Stand out works included those by Saudi artist Abdul Nasser Gharem, one of the founding members of EOA, such as ‘In Accordance with Sharia Law”. EOA now includes over sixty Saudi and Arab artists exhibiting around the world and also runs an educational programme reaching hundreds of schools and universities. 

Artist's Waves

To celebrate ADA’s 5th birthday an exciting new addition was made to the fair entitled Artist’s Waves. This artist led exhibition, curated by Fabrice Bousteau, editor of Beaux Arts magazine, featured work by a coterie of innovative artists including: Armen Agop, Ahmed Atef, Skyler Brickley, Allessandro Cannistra, Gohar Dashti, Peter Halley, Miler Lagos, Giovanni Ozzola, Alejandro Almanza Pereda, Saad Qureshi, Ziya Tacir and Wang Yuyang. The show aimed ‘to reflect the dynamism of new artistic movements and shifting perceptions of art’ and included an enjoyable Salon where visitors could engage by the galleries representing  this diverse selection of artists.

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