New art gallery Rizq Art Initiative now open in Abu Dhabi’s Al Reem Island

New art gallery Rizq Art Initiative now open in Abu Dhabi’s Al Reem Island

RAi’s debut exhibition, In the Dusky Path of a Dream: Notes from Abstracting the Real, is on show until Friday February 23 and you should definitely make a beeline for it on your first visit.

ArtDayME: The new female-founded art space will showcase artists from the Global South

Warehouse 421, Etihad Modern Art Gallery, The Louvre – there’s no denying that Abu Dhabi’s artistic landscape is one of the most burgeoning in the world.

Now there’s an exciting new name to add to the list in the form of Rizq Art Initiative which, located on Al Reem Island, opened back in November to coincide with the 15th edition of Abu Dhabi Art Fair at Manarat Al Saadiyat.

Here’s everything to look forward to in 2024, plus what you need to know about the space.

New art gallery Rizq Art Initiative now open in Abu Dhabi’s Al Reem Island

What is the Rizq Art Initiative?

The Rizq Art Initiative, or RAi for short, is perhaps the city’s most exciting new art venture – a colossal 700-square metre space championing art and artists from the Global South.

The brainchild of founder, executive director and historian Shafeena Yusuff Ali, who works alongside curator and creative director Meena Vari, RAi was established with the purpose of providing much-needed support to emerging and established artists, curators, researchers and other creative folk from the region in a bid to help shine a spotlight on their work to a global audience.

What exhibitions can I expect?

RAi’s debut exhibition, In the Dusky Path of a Dream: Notes from Abstracting the Real, is on show until Friday February 23 and you should definitely make a beeline for it on your first visit.

Featuring 60 artworks from 27 artists from India, the exhibition explores ‘solastalgia’, which is the sorrow and distress people feel as a result of environmental change, as well as the role that memory and identity plays in connecting the past and the future.

Encompassing techniques and mediums including textile, ceramic and bronze sculpture, paint and ink to name a few, exhibiting artists include Gigi Scaria, Surekha, Vivek Vilasini, Binoy Varghese and George Martin.

Next on the agenda, Listening for Traces, Conflict, Sound and Agenda will run from Friday February 23 to Wednesday March 20. Curated by Cathy Lane and Meena Vari, this experimental exhibition harnesses the power of sound to explore the enduring impact of war and peace, with artists reflecting the cyclicality of conflict.

For anyone wanting to really plan ahead, Windings of the Labyrinth: Reconsidering the Landscape is slated for Tuesday April 19 to Sunday 26 May which, also curated by Vari, will explore the concept of a social and physical landscape and its distinctive representation and unique perspective by female artists.

Artist Activities

So much more than just an exhibition space, RAi’s mission to become a leading creative and community hub is already well underway, with plenty of presentations, talks, workshops and teaching-learning modules already in the pipeline.

A particular highlight is its exciting #RAIOpinions series, a regular panel discussion of diverse perspectives tackling issues affecting the art world. We’ve already seen around 10 artists, art historians and curators from India and the UAE take on themes around the topic ‘Artist as Author: Art as Document’, and there’s going to be plenty more where that came from.

Artists will also be invited to embark on 12-week residencies and fellowships to develop their practice and build important networks and connections to help them garner successful careers (these are open to four residents at a time – three artists and one curator/theorist – and include everything from living spaces, flights to Abu Dhabi, visas, open studios, critiques, materials budget and more), while in September this year we’ll see the second phase of the build which promises to include studios in which the artists can work. We can hardly wait.

 

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