Media Centre

Press release


"Voices of Emirati Artists" Panel Discussion 8th Nov 2010


Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation hosted a discussion panel on Saturday, 6 November 2010, entitled “Voices of Emirati Art,” with the participation of four senior figures from the Emirati art scene and a huge turnout of those interested in the topic, including artists, students and journalists.  The panel included artist Jalal Luqman; Abdul Rahim Sherif, founder of The Flying House; artist Ibtissam Abdel Aziz; and artist &curator Patricia Millns.

Mrs Hoda Al Khamis Kanoo, founder of Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, opened the forum with an address to thank H.H. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, for his strong support for the Foundation and its work. She also congratulated Tourist Development and Investment Company (TDIC) on the great success achieved by Abu Dhabi Art Fair, especially for its role as a window for local creative achievements. The 2010 fair features an increasing participation of Emirati artists and local galleries, in addition to other renowned world galleries.

Mrs Kanoo said that the “Nationals’ Gallery” initiative launched by Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation is part of a long term strategy. The Gallery will represent a breeding ground for Emirati art, providing documentation of achievements and an innovative resource for Emirati creativity.  It will allow people to identify the story of creativity of each Emirati artist, in order to celebrate his or her experience in art.

Participants in the discussion forum tackled aspects of their personal experiences with arts and how they steered their lives to express themselves through the artistic tools given to them. They also highlighted the positions they represent in the UAE art scene and the challenges they faced throughout their careers.

Patricia Millns, the world famous artist and curator, living in the UAE for more than twenty nine years, mentioned her experience in art and her passion for Islamic and Arabic arts. She came to identify such arts during her stay in the UAE and was able to develop and hone her experience to become an intermediary artist between European and Islamic-Arab arts. She also called for the need to motivate younger generations to pay more attention to arts from a young age, through an education-centred process and teaching arts through instruction and interactive experimentation.

Abdel Rahim Sherif tackled the important role played by education in building his art-loving personality. He added that television, with its evocative programs focusing on a cultural and educational content about art, in addition to workshops, discussion forums, lectures and most importantly the translation of specialized books into Arabic, will enable us to reach our goals in establishing the position of art in our lives and promoting the art scene in the UAE and Arab region at large.

Jalal Luqman, the renowned artist, hailed the role of Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation in supporting Emirati artists. He also commended the “Nationals’ Gallery” initiative which aims at supporting Emirati artists all over the seven emirates of the UAE, encouraging talented art students and providing them with more opportunities in order to develop their professional endeavour and work on up their talents. He stressed the importance of supporting young children in studying arts and in allowing them to express their psychological needs through art, especially that an individual is driven to art and does not always choose it. He mentioned his personal experience and said that a delegated inspector could stifle the talent of a creative child through indifference and inattention. He expressed his hope that he would one day be able to introduce himself as an “artist”.

Ebtissam Abdel Aziz said that a special law for artists should be applied, simply as it is the case with professional footballers. The artist, she said, suffers more than anyone else during his or her daily life and in his relationship with the surrounding society, and finds himself forced to sacrifice several career privileges, time and incentives because of his busy life in art and creativity.

In his commentary interposition, the international artist, Naja Mehdawi, said that “Abu Dhabi Art” Fair reflects the fact that Abu Dhabi has become the hub of world arts, especially since the exhibition is heavily attended by world famous galleries and artists. He added that such events are an opportunity for Emirati artists to open a dialogue with others, interact with world arts and share their experiences with other international artists. He stressed that the Emirati artist should get inspiration from the local environment, as artistic heritage is the identity which renders the artist and his art unique.

Mehdawi added that schools and universities should arrange for visits to the fair in order to motivate and encourage students to establish relationships with all arts and build personalities that are more inclined to art through simulation and direct contact with the piece of art and its creator.

In his comment, the Emirati artist Mattar Bin Lahej said that he discovered through his interaction with school students and children in the UAE that they have promising talents and only need more support. We as established artists should help enable such talented students and give them the chance to grow and be part of the future of art in the UAE. He also stressed the need to support the Emirati artist.