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

Portrait of a Nation II: Beyond Narratives

Celebrating 50 years of the United Arab Emirates, a first-of-its-kind event highlights the innovation, creativity and collaboration that mark the development of the nation’s visual art landscape. A unique collection of artworks never before displayed together creates a centrepiece for a cultural experience tracing the UAE’s visual art history as it has unfolded over a half-century of the nation’s transformative development.

More than 100 key artworks, including 15 special commissions, anchor the programme, exploring the work of over 60 pivotal artists, from the founders of the UAE art scene to today’s emerging generation, through painting, photography, 3D installations and audio-visual works. Interwoven with these works, video interviews, manifestos, archival images and memorabilia paint an intimate picture of the nation’s emergent art scene and those who have given it life. A rich series of talks, workshops and performances centred around the exhibition will take place throughout its three-month run.

“Portrait of a Nation II” expands far beyond the dimensions of a traditional art exhibition, capturing the spirit of the UAE art scene’s past, present and future. Weaving together the voices of curators, cultural workers, gallerists and artists, it reflects an art scene that defies categorisation and reveals a deeply inspiring evolution.

Produced by Abu Dhabi Festival
Manarat Al Saadiyat
UAE
21 January – 16 April 2022

Location


2 World Class Publications: behind the exhibition


Stay connected and subscribe to the Abu Dhabi Festival newsletter

    Portrait of a Nation II – Programmes 

    Latest Past Events

    The Making Of: Vikram Divecha’s Train to Rouen

    Online Talk

    Artist Vikram Divecha in conversation with Louvre Abu Dhabi Director Emmanuel Rabaté discusses the artist’s video installation exploring concepts of time, space, modernity and globalisation and how these themes relate to the fast pace of development of the UAE at a time when the UAE is hosting the World Expo. Train to Rouen synthesised a number of strands in order to effect one simple change: a five minute delay on the train travelling from Paris to Rouen on October 4th, 2017.

    Read More

    Story Telling with Ahmed Youssef

    Famed storyteller Ahmed Youssef will tell enchanting stories for all ages related to the UAE’s visual art history, social traditions, folk art and heritage in live-streamed online sessions. Session 3: From sand to skyscrapers, rapid development and shifting modes of sociality in the UAE.

    Read More

    Making of Series: Talin Hazbar’s Sediments

    Portrait of a Nation II: Beyond Narratives exhibition, Manarat Al Saadiyat

    Marine biologists and environmentalists explore the shifting social/physical landscapes as well as creating and preserving modes of togetherness. Talin Hazbar’s work formally investigates the intrinsic properties of natural material – such as sand and porcelain in other artworks – and here tunes her ear to the society of Gulf fishermen. Hazbar excavates used nets from the sea, as a monument not only to the fishing practices but also to the disruption they’ve caused to the natural world.

    Read More