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Abu Dhabi From Khorfakkan to Venice

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Maya Allison and Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim. Image courtesy of National Pavilion UAE La Biennale Di Venezia. Photography by Augustine Paredes|Seeing Things

The United Arab Emirates Pavilion for the 2022 Venice Biennale was announced in September. Emirati artist Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim will represent the nation, with the pavilion curated by Maya Allison, executive director and chief curator of New York University Abu Dhabi Art Gallery. Ibrahim is celebrated as one of the pioneering conceptual artists in the UAE, with work ranging from painting and drawings to installations and sculpture. For the pavilion, Ibrahim is finding inspiration from his home of Khorfakkan, on the east coast.

“Here in the UAE we are surrounded by diverse and ancient landscapes, as well as advanced urbanisation,” he explained. “This tension is one of the concepts I explore in my work through organic materials, by allowing my subconscious to find the forms.” Ibrahim chose Allison as his curator, having worked closely with her before for NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery’s 2017 exhibition But We Cannot See Them: Tracing a UAE Art Community 1988–2008.

Amit Varadrajan is a staff writer at Canvas, covering news, politics, and culture

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