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
21 January – 16 April 2022

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