'Belonging' sheds light on the concept of ‘universal identity’

17th February 2020, Emirates News Agency

ABU DHABI, 16th February, 2020 (WAM) -- Chairman and Founder of UAE Unlimited, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, and Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, inaugurated Intimaa: Belonging, the sixth in a series of annual exhibitions organised by UAE Unlimited, in collaboration with The NYU Abu Dhabi, NYUAD, Art Gallery. Curated by Emirati arts researcher Nasser Abdullah, the event is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development.

In attendance at the opening were also Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, Zaki Nusseibeh, Minister of State, Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism, Sheikh Salem Al Qassimi, Assistant Undersecretary for Arts and Heritage at the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, Rima Al Mokarrab, Chairman of Tamkeen, and Mariët Westermann, Vice Chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi, in addition to other key officials and VIP guests.

Running until March 28 at the Gallery’s auxiliary venue, the Project Space, this exhibition features a series of works and four new commissions by UAE-based emerging artists who question their place in an era of globalization and how, through the rise of technological advancements, society has formed a unified existence that can be referred to as a ‘universal identity’.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan said: "Through Intimaa, we attempt again to examine the manifestations of our globalisation on our identities, both the local and the global. Through the artistic and brilliant expressions of UAE-based artists, we are invited to understand and absorb the diverse and creative interpretations of the artists in the exhibition."

"Intimaa is an opportunity to acknowledge extraordinary stories of young artists and creatives in the UAE, told through a collection of contemporary works which reflect their experiences," His Highness added.

Noura Al Kaabi said: "UAE Unlimited continues to inspire young UAE-based and Emirati talent to think critically and creatively from the early stages of their careers through its close mentorship and training sessions. We take pride in supporting this creative platform, which has such a meaningful mission to fulfil."

In a unique development, Intimaa: Belonging features newly commissioned bilingual poems by rising Emirati poets Ahmed Al Mannai, Ali Al Mazmy, Hassan Al Najjar, and Shamma Al Bastaki, all of whom have been mentored by the award-winning poet, writer, and presenter Khalid Albudoor.

Executive Director of UAE Unlimited Shobha Pia Shamdsani said: "UAE Unlimited, supported by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, aims to foster a new generation of talented Emirati and UAE-based artists, and this exhibition is a real embodiment of this vision. For this year’s iteration, I have decided to blend art and poetry, taking inspiration from how poetry has always been such a vital component of the UAE’s rich literary heritage. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to The NYUAD Art Gallery for their collaboration, and the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development for their generous support."

Chief Curator at NYUAD Maya Allison commented: "The Art Gallery’s auxiliary venue, the Project Space, is a platform dedicated to emerging artists for their experimentation and exploration. Similarly, UAE Unlimited seeks to support rising Emirati and UAE-based artists. I am delighted that our first-ever collaboration will enable this mutual vision to come to life, offering these promising artists a platform to share their work and heritage with the wider community of Abu Dhabi and the UAE."

Curator Abdullah added: "Our aim through Intimaa: Belonging is to shed light on the concept of ‘universal identity’ to seek new answers to the recurring historical paradoxes that evolved over time in parallel to this question. Given UAE Unlimited’s forward-looking vision for this year’s iteration, this exhibition is yet another contribution to the UAE’s rich cultural heritage, as it presents a fusion of art and poetry by a number of young Emirati poets."

The Project Space is operated by the staff of The NYUAD Art Gallery and housed within the campus’ Arts Center. It is the Art Gallery’s auxiliary venue dedicated to NYUAD’s community projects such as the annual Capstone Festival, semester-end exhibitions of student works, and faculty-curated exhibitions, providing a platform for experimentation and exploration.

WAM/Hazem Hussein/Tariq alfaham