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Last chance to catch Abu Dhabi Arts exhibitions and performances

The 10th edition of Abu Dhabi Art concludes at the end of this month with a final chance to see exhibitions and performing arts events.

The Beyond commissions and the Durub Al Tawaya performing arts programme, both organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, will end on 26th January.

Beyond, an emirate-wide exhibition of commissioned work, has given artists a platform to create large-scale installations across the emirate as part of the annual art fair. Beyond: Emerging Artists is curated by renowned Emirati artist Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim and presents new works by Taqwa Alnaqbi, Dhabiya Al Romaithi and Ahmed Saeed Al Reef Al Dhaheri. Their works are on show at Manarat Al Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi and next to Alanka Fort in Al Ain, allowing the three emerging Emirati artists a chance to showcase their work to a wide public and realise ambitious art projects.


Also still ongoing is Beyond: Artist Commissions in Al Ain, featuring site specific works by Imran Qureshi in Al Jahili Fort and Al Ain Oasis, Moataz Nasr in Al Jahili Fort and Ammar Al Attar in Qasr Al Muwaiji. These historic sites can be experienced differently, through the thought-provoking works created for Abu Dhabi Art by the three established artists.


This year, the Durub Al Tawaya performing arts programme, which will end its three-month programme of performances on 26th January, has investigated technology as a fundamental force in the development and evolution of art, providing artists with new tools for artistic expression. In collaboration with different partners in the city, Durub Al Tawaya hosted performances and new productions as well as works from its repertoire in different art venues, and other spaces throughout the city.


Until 26th January, residents and visitors can still experience a number of unique walking tour performances. This includes Heteropia Abu Dhabi by Akira Takayama, which takes place from 5pm – 9pm. Heterotopia started in Tokyo in 2013 and has developed in cities throughout Asia and Europe, taking on topics like migration routes, refugees, language and food. In its Abu Dhabi version, the performance guides visitors through a downloadable mobile application to six destination points around the city. Once the visitors arrive at each spot, an audio recording plays a story that might have taken place there. Six local and international writers and poets were commissioned to write text inspired by one of these different locations, carefully selected by the artist in a fictional pairing that explores hidden themes within the city.

Remote Abu Dhabi, a site-specific project by artists Rimini Protokoll, Remote Abu Dhabi sees participants walk together through the city following guidelines delivered through headphones by a disembodied voice, seeing familiar and unfamiliar sites come to life as if immersed in an imaginary science fiction film set.

Remote Abu Dhabi first featured at Durub Al Tawaya’s 3rd edition in 2015. The 2018 edition is being presented in collaboration with the Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi. The project Remote X addresses the imminent reality of artificial intelligence in the cities of the future. It uses the world as a sort of mobile experimental lab and has been presented in 24 cities across the world from the Americas to Europe to Russia and India.

For Durub Al Tawaya IV in 2016, artist Anna Rispoli was commissioned to create a performance for Abu Dhabi entitled Five Attempts to Speak to an Alien. The 2018 iteration is presented in collaboration with Warehouse421. For this site-specific intervention, Rispoli invited the audience on a boat ride performance across the city’s waterfront – an opportunity to take part in five collective exercises to speak to an alien. This participatory public action is an invitation to get closer to places and people by imagining the city from an unusual distance and a different perspective. The final show will take place on Saturday, 26th January.

Sacrifice by Meiro Koizumi is a performance using virtual reality technology to create a unique experience of complete absorption in another person’s suffering. The performance unfolds through the first-person perspective of a young Iraqi man, who as a child experienced the war in his village. Koizumi’s work examines a range of complex issues: power dynamics on scales both familiar and national, the tension between staged and authentic emotion, and the conflict between duty and desire.

Finally, on Thursday 24th January, Automobile II, by Joe Namy, will be performed between 7pm and 8pm on Abu Dhabi’s Corniche. In this live performance, Namy invites locals to show off their cars with custom-designed stereo systems. These super-charged sound systems are then connected to create a network. The cars start their engines and speakers simultaneously, playing synchronised field recordings collected and composed by the artist.

The latest edition of Durub Al Tawaya was curated by Tarek Abou El Fetouh, an independent curator who lives and works in Brussels. His curatorial works include the Sharjah Biennale 9 in 2009, “Lest the Two Seas Meet” at the Museum of Modern Arts in Warsaw (2015), “Time is Out of Joint” at Sharjah Foundation and Asia Art Center in Gwangju, Korea (2016), “Captive of Love” 2017 and “Rituals of Signs and Metamorphoses” (2018) at the Red Brick Art Museum in Beijing.

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