Now you can tour the Portrait of a Nation II: Beyond Narratives exhibition anytime, anywhere. In a first-of-its-kind event, the digital launch of the landmark exhibition allows you to visit—and revisit— more than 100 artworks by 62 pioneering and emerging artists that shaped the nation’s visual arts landscape. Through in-depth descriptions and interactive audio guides, the immersive experience takes you on a journey through the collaboration and inspiration that narrate the story of the UAE’s impressive rise in the art scene.

Portrait of a Nation II: Beyond Narratives curated by Maya El Khalil and co-curated by Roxane Zand was inaugurated by HE Sheikh Shakhbout bin Nahyan Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of State, on 21 January. More than 100 key artworks, 15 of which were commissioned by Abu Dhabi Festival, arranged in five central themes reflect the innovative spirit of the artists who paved the way for the UAE’s artistic evolution over the past five decades. Throughout its three-month run, the exhibition also hosted panel discussions, workshops, and a variety of community and educational events, giving visitors insight into the inspiration behind the artworks that led to the nation’s remarkable development.

Under the Patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al Nahyan

Portrait of a Nation II: Beyond Narratives, the jewel of Abu Dhabi Festival 2022, has come to a close but the story of the nation’s artistic development as it transpired over 50 years lives on through the innovative launch of the virtual exhibition and its book companion, Portrait of a Nation II: Beyond Narratives.

Now visitors around the world can embark on an immersive journey through the exhibition, which ran for three months from 21 January to 16 April at Manarat Al Saadiyat, exploring over 100 key artworks by 62 of the nation’s pioneering and emerging artists while interactively navigating the five themes of the exhibition: Reclaiming/Reimagining Home, Shifting Landscapes, Configurations of Togetherness, Reclaiming/Reimagining Language and Shifting Sociality.

The exhibition’s book companion, Portrait of a Nation II, documents the creative spirit and collaboration of the featured artists and their works in vibrant photography and in-depth interviews and essays from curators, writers, and the talented artists themselves, guiding readers through the remarkable transformation of the UAE’s art history.

Abu Dhabi Festival’s annual Ramadan Spiritual Music Series features performances and events in the spirit of the holy month, inviting artists from around the world to celebrate the spiritual values that transcend difference. A place for both established and emerging artists, the Series showcases the work of masters and discovers new talents to nurture their development.

The Spiritual Music Series is a platform encouraging artists from different musical backgrounds to explore spiritual chanting in their own style chanters, pop singers, opera singers, and more have all shared the beauty and wisdom of spiritual music in the Series. Now in its fourth consecutive year, it will feature the stirring sounds of celebrated chanter Sheikh Mahmoud Al Tohamy in two world premiere virtual performances, In the Hands of God and Heritage and Harmony reflecting on the cherished values of the holy month.

Portrait of a Nation II, the book companion to Abu Dhabi Festival 2022’s flagship Portrait of a Nation II: Beyond Narratives exhibition, guides readers through the remarkable transformation of the UAE’s art history, tracing the path chartered by 62 pioneering artists who have shaped the UAE’s visual arts scene as it unfolded over the past 50 years. Edited by co-curator Roxane Zand, the book captures each of the more than 100 artworks, 17 of which are commissions, in vivid photography, with messages from curator Maya El Khalil, prominent writers and the very artists who helped lead the nation on its transformative journey through the arts.

Art of the Emirates II, edited by Melissa Gronlund, is an unprecedented conversation with the artists and the leading protagonists who have written and continue to write the history of art in the Emirates. Through in-depth interviews, roundtable discussions and essays, the sequel to the first edition portrays the driving forces behind the nation’s visual arts scene – those who have witnessed history and carry the country’s inspiring message, vision and compelling story of creativity and innovation through their achievements.