Spanish art makes splash at Abu Dhabi Festival

Exhibition features works of 70 artists from the Barcelona museum including 20 Emiratis

Staff Report
16:54 February 2, 2018

Abu Dhabi: Spanish art works are being shown in the Arab world for the first time as part of the Abu Dhabi Festival 2018 (ADF18) which has launched its diverse Visual Arts Programme with a landmark exhibition.

Launched on Thursday, ‘Barcelona to Abu Dhabi — Works from the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) in Dialogue with the Emirates’ features pioneering works and art forms from the 20th and 21st centuries exploring the universal themes of common human existence.

The exhibition showcases works by 70 artists, over nine decades from MACBA, including 20 Emiratis, brought together in a pioneering exhibition curated by MACBA’s director, Ferran Barenblit, in partnership with co-curator Nasser Abdullah, chairman of the Emirates Fine Arts Society.

The exhibition is open to the public until March 17, hosted at Manarat Al Saadiyat.

The launch was attended by Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance; Huda Al Khamis Kanoo, founder, Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF) and founder and artistic director of Abu Dhabi Festival; and Antonio Alvarez Barthe, Ambassador of Spain to the UAE, alongside Ainhoa Grandes, president of MACBA Foundation.

Ambassador Barthe said that it “is only natural that the MACBA has chosen Abu Dhabi as the venue for its first major exhibition in the Arab world. The masterpieces from MACBA’s permanent collection will be greeted by the works of 20 contemporary Emirati artists, thus establishing a dialogue that will renew and deepen the ties between Spain and the UAE, between the Western and the Arab world.”

Al Khamis Kanoo pointed out that art “and culture build a bridge towards openness, tolerance and understanding. Through creative expression, artists claim and shape spaces of beauty where ideas converge and minds intertwine; in these spaces of contemplation and expression, we encounter ourselves and others”.