Venice Biennale Italy

The Venice Biennale to get two shots of art from the UAE

LONDON. Among the new countries at this year’s Venice Biennale are South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, but because Abu Dhabi is the capital state of the UAE, it also has its own “platform”, across a plane of water in the Arsenale. Both Abu Dhabi and the UAE have hired curators with an international reputation. The UAE’s is the Iranian Tirdad Zolghadr, 36, who co-curated the 2007 Sharjah Biennial and is helping advise on what Middle Eastern art the future Guggenheim Abu Dhabi should acquire. Mr Zolghadr says that his show opposes the idea held by snooty curators that a pavilion cannot reflect a nation. The artists he has chosen are all Emirati or people who have made their lives in the UAE—Lamya Gargash, Hassan Sharif, Mohammed Kazem and Tarek Al-Ghoussein—and there will also be a series of filmed conversations by the German conceptual artist Hannah Herzig with people who are key to the UAE’s present, past and future. The commissioner of the UAE pavilion is Dr Lamees Hamdan, one of the directors of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. Abu Dhabi’s curator, on the other hand, is the very well known French woman, Catherine David, who put together the 1997 Documenta in Kassel, Germany. She wants to go beyond the frontiers of the UAE, to show its multiethnicity, its economic and geo-political dynamics, with artists also from India and Iran, both nations strongly represented in the demography of the UAE. This show is backed by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage (ADACH), constitutionally in rivalry with its Dubai counterparts. N.A.

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