Abu Dhabi Art Announces its 2023 Artist Commissions in Cultural Sites programme
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Abu Dhabi Art Announces its 2023 Artist Commissions in Cultural Sites programme

This year’s commissioned artists are Nujoom Al Ghanem and Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, whose work will be showcased in Al Jahili Fort and Al Ain Oasis.

ArtDayME: Launched in 2017, Artist Commissions in Cultural Sites sees established artists invited to create site-specific works across the Abu Dhabi emirate. The works by the commissioned artists will be revealed during the fair in November and remain on show to the public for two months afterwards.

This year’s commissioned artists are Nujoom Al Ghanem and Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, whose work will be showcased in Al Jahili Fort and Al Ain Oasis.

Renowned Emirati poet, artist, and multi-award-winning film director, Al Ghanem, commented, “I’m truly honoured to take part in this edition of the fair and I’m looking forward to sharing with its audience the work I’ve been creating since 2020. I spent a lifetime working in solitude under shades of colours and materials without knowing where my work would end up. Without realising it, art has become my magnificent companion and refuge. It has given me another medium of expression which turned out to be the most significant activity of my days.”

Through its year-round exhibitions and artist commissions, Abu Dhabi Art plays an integral role in supporting the art ecosystem in the region. The annual art fair continues to grow at a rapid pace as it reaches its 15th edition this November, recently announcing a record lineup of 90+ galleries from 31 countries in its biggest edition yet.

Nujoom Alghanem

There are hundreds of hours that pass throughout our lives either in waiting for things to happen or in waiting for the right time to start something or to take a certain action. Without noticing, I find myself creating ways to handle those moments that are spent in waiting.

I always take refuge in art when I’m waiting for anything. However, I’ve never thought about the energy embedded in each moment until I got hit by Covid and had to go through two weeks quarantine, which at a time felt like an eternity. Being in isolation made me observe the passing of time from another perspective. I realized that each minute has great value, each hour is a lot of time, and each day of waiting made me think about the simplest things around me – the simple lines, the texture of tiny shells, the softness of flowers’ petals, the impact of words, the small unnoticeable details, etc... I intentionally began making different pieces of ceramics during the moments that passed while I was waiting. I call them “Artifacts of the Current Moments”.

Nujoom Alghanem is represented by Aisha Alabbar Gallery, is a commissioned artist for Artist Commissions in Cultural Sites, Abu Dhabi Art 2023.

Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim

Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim’s installation Al Ain Oasis, commissioned by Abu Dhabi Art for the Cultural Sites of Al Ain, comprises dynamic, colourful tree-like sculptures made of natural and found materials that celebrate the vibrant greenery of Al Ain’s oasis terrains. The artist combines his signature medium of paper-mâché, recycled cardboard and found objects to create a unique landscape of organic forms.

Ibrahim's practice is deeply rooted in a processed-based approach, which he views as both experiential and meditative. Through this site-specific installation, he creates a profound sense of presence, inviting viewers to experience an encounter with his artistic expression and the UNESCO heritage site of Al Ain oasis. In a departure from his previous works, Ibrahim introduces new elements, adding his symbol motifs directly onto his biomorphic sculptures, a harmonious integration between his two-dimensional paintings and his three-dimensional sculptures.

The commissioned installation reflects his deep connection to the local environment, and in keeping with his practice, addresses concerns of urbanization's impact on nature. Conceptualized as a gift to Al Ain, the installation is reminiscent of Ibrahim’s distinct land art works which are inspired by a lifelong relationship with the nature of the region. As visitors engage with the installation, they are encouraged to contemplate local developments in sustainable art, their own connection to their natural surroundings, and ways they can contribute to its preservation.

Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim is represented by Lawrie Shabibi, is a commissioned artist for “Artist Commissions in Cultural Sites” in Abu Dhabi Art 2023