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Press release

ADMAF and Barjeel Art Foundation collaborate to present a unique selection of pieces by leading Arab artists

IMD 18th May 2014

Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and Barjeel Art Foundation commemorate International Museum Day with ‘Sky Over The East’ exhibition of historical artworks

Under the Patronage of H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth & Community Development, Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF), in partnership with Barjeel Art Foundation, present ‘Sky Over The East’ exhibition in celebration of International Museum Day. Taking place from May 29 to June 27, ‘Sky Over The East’ will be exhibited at the Emirates Palace Gallery featuring artwork from prominent Arab artists from across the Middle East.

The Barjeel Art Foundation was founded in 2010 by Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi. It aims to contribute to the intellectual development of the arts across the Arab region by building a prominent, publicly accessible art collection in the UAE.

Celebrating its 37th year, International Museum Day 2014 commemorates the theme ‘Museum Collections make Connections’, which serves as a reminder that museums are living institutions that create bonds between visitors and art, transcending borders and cultures as well as generations. The theme emphasises the role of museums as the storytellers of society, institutions that keep cultural heritage alive.

H.E. Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, commented saying, “ADMAF is very proud to join museums and heritage organisations from across the globe in celebration of International Museum Day 2014 with our ‘Sky Over The East’ exhibition. The partnership with Barjeel has formed a creative platform on which leading Arab artists can shine the light on a fascinating aspect of 20th century history. ‘Sky Over The East’ highlights our shared objective; to create prominent public platforms that elevate the understanding and appreciation of the visual arts in the United Arab Emirates and beyond. I wish all those who visit this specially curated exhibition and attend its public programme an enlightening and enjoyable experience. I express my sincere thanks to Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi whose unwavering commitment has led to an inspiring collection that reflects the joy, passion, knowledge and learning one can acquire from the preservation of Arab artistic expression.”

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, Founder of Barjeel Art Foundation said, “I hope Sky Over The East stirs up curiosity in its audience, and encourages them to pursue further research into distinct art movements, individual artists, or historic events addressed in this exhibition. I would like to express my thanks to Mrs Hoda Al Khamis Kanoo, whose steady vision and devotion to the development of creativity and the arts within the United Arab Emirates has led to a truly inspiring and multi-faceted public cultural platform."

Drawn from Barjeel Art Foundation’s collection of Arab art, the ‘Sky Over the East’ exhibition spans 86 years of visual arts practice. Bridging a spectrum of styles, mediums and subject matter, the exhibition presents 55 works by 49 artists from 12 countries and seeks to contextualize key milestones from the region’s modern history while testifying to the artist’s role as a vital contributor to the intellectual development of society.

An education programme for all ages accompanies the exhibition, which is inspired by ADMAF and Barjeel Art Foundation’s common goal of bringing generations together through art. There are workshops exclusively for schools, including Kufic Mural (a contemporary approach to the ancient art of calligraphy), Emirate Dhabi (Gazelle) (the decoration of three-dimensional objects), and Mural Making. For the public, a children’s workshop in Watercolour Resist Painting takes place on Saturday 7 June (4:00-5:30pm) at Emirates Palace Gallery suitable for 3-6 years. Places are limited but may be reserved at spamFreeEmailLink('education', '',true);">

In addition to weekly, guided tours every Thursday at 3pm, ADMAF presents a weekly evening ‘In Conversation’ series throughout the duration of the exhibition with featured artists and leading cultural professionals. The series begins at the private preview on Wednesday May 28th with ‘In Conversation with Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi & Matthew Sansom’ offering a personal insight into the exhibition, the role of a collector, and story of Barjeel Art Foundation. The ‘In Conversation’ series continues on June 4th at 7pm with featured UAE artist Ali Al Abdan in association with The Emirates Writers’ Union; and on June 16th at 7pm with Sharjah Museums Authority Director General Manal Ataya in conversation with The National’s Saeed Saeed’, in association with New York University Abu Dhabi Institute. Places are limited but may be reserved at spamFreeEmailLink('education', '',true);">