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Exhibition presents a unique selection of works by leading Arab artists of the 20th century as museums around the world unite to celebrate cultural exchange

H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan and Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, Barjeel Art Foundation Founder 1st Jun 2014

Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and Barjeel Art Foundation opens ‘Sky Over The East’ in celebration of International Museum Day 2014

Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation Patron, H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth & Community Development, officially inaugurated the ‘Sky Over The East’ exhibition last night in celebration of International Museum Day 2014. In partnership with Barjeel Art Foundation, the exhibition runs from May 29 to June 27 at the Emirates Palace Gallery and features artworks by prominent artists from across the Arab world, including Shakir Hassan Al Said, Hassan Sharif, Ibrahim Salahi and Mona Saudi, among many others. 

His Excellency was joined by H.E. Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, Founder of ADMAF and Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, Barjeel Art Foundation Founder. The inauguration at Emirates Palace Gallery embodied the motto of International Museums Day; ‘Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.’

H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth & Community Development commented, “The scope and variety of the exhibition allow viewers to make connections among countries, cultures, artistic themes, creative techniques, intellectual interests—in short, among important visions that inform our understanding of the past. The exhibited works stir our memories, ignite our curiosity, and excite our imagination.”

H.E. Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation said, “As the guardians of our collective memories, museums are creative platforms that ensure that the lessons of our past contribute to a brighter, prosperous future. They help us connect our distinct cultural identities while exploring the universal bonds of humanity that bind us.”

“’Sky Over The East’ highlights both ADMAF and Barjeel Art Foundation’s shared objective to create prominent public platforms which elevate the understanding and appreciation of the visual arts in the UAE and beyond. It is important that organisations such as ourselves engage the next generation of UAE citizens through visual art and launch them along the path to creativity along which their pioneering predecessors walked.”

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, Founder of Barjeel Art Foundation said, "We are very pleased to be collaborating with the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation on a large-scale exhibition of 20th-century Arab art. I hope that the exhibition encourages a wider discourse on Arab art, and sheds light on the work of leading masters from the region, many of whom are still practicing today. Geographically spanning over 12 countries and 2 continents, the selection of art presented calls attention to a shared identity of Arab nations, while contributing to a wider public appreciation of visual arts."

Click here to download the summery report of the 'Sky Over The East In Conversation Sultan Sooud Al Qassimi & Matthew Sansom'.
Watch it on YouTube.

In addition to weekly guided tours every Thursday at 3pm, ADMAF presents a weekly evening ‘In Conversation’ series throughout the duration of the exhibition. Featuring Emirati artists and leading cultural professionals, the sessions uphold ADMAF’s commitment to life-long learning and to nurturing the UAE capital’s appetite for knowledge. Remaining talks include ‘In Conversation with Ali Al Abdan & Sameh Kaawach’ in association with Emirates Writers’ Union on June 4th at 7pm; and ‘In Conversation with Manal Ataya & Saeed Saeed’ in association with New York University Abu Dhabi Institute on June 16th at 7pm. Places are limited but may be reserved at

An education programme for all ages accompanies the exhibition. Practical weekend workshops are available for children throughout. 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 7th June (4:00-5:30pm) at Emirates Palace Gallery suitable for 3-6 years. Places are limited but may be reserved at

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) established International Museum Day in 1977 to increase public awareness of the role of museums in the development of society. In 2013, International Museum Day garnered record-breaking participation with over 35,000 museums hosting events in some 145 countries.