The Pick of Abu Dhabi Art 2019

imageKhaled Hourani, Picasso in Palestine, 2019. Courtesy Zawyeh Gallery


By PAUL LASTER, November 2019 

One of the premier art fairs in the Middle East, where the contemporary art scene conitues to grow year by year, Abu Dhabi Art returned to Manarat Al Saadiyat for the 11th edition with 53 exhibitors selected by a group of invited guest curators, including Paolo Columbo, Omar Kholief and Jerome Sans.

Running from November 21 to 23, this year’s fair highlighted galleries from China and India—including Chambers Fine Art, ShanghART and Nature Morte—and attracted galleries as far away as New York, such as Lehmann Maupin and Salon 94, making the journey to present artists from their stables. 

The fair is one of the high points of the fall season for galleries in the MENA region, with several galleries participating from Dubai’s celebrated Alserkal Avenue—including Carbon 12, Elmarsa, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Leila Heller Gallery, Lawrie Shabibi and The Third Line—and others, like Agial Art Gallery, Hafez Gallery and Zawyeh Gallery, coming from Beirut, Jeddah and Ramallah, respectively.

 Faig Ahmed, Coherence, 2016. Courtesy Sapar Contemporary 

Standout pieces included Faig Ahmed’s surreally woven carpets at Sapar Contemporary, Huma Bhabha’s sci-fi inspired heads and figures at Salon 94, Johan Creten’s sexually suggestive ceramic sculptures at Leila Heller Gallery, Zhao Zhao’s embroidered images of bullet-riddled constellations at Chambers Fine Art, Mohamed Melehi’s colorful silkscreen abstractions at Lawrie Shabibi and Baya’s patterned portrayal of women in nature at Elmarsa.  

Scroll through the images below to see the rest of our picks. WM


. Alex Prager, The Santa Anas, 2019. Courtesy Lehmann Maupin

 Huma Bhabha, Untitled, 2017. Courtesy Salon 94 Burcu Yagcioglu, Acaibu’l Herberium 6, 2019. Courtesy Galerist

  Duck-Yong Kim, Encounter – his place, 2019. Courtesy Leehwaik Gallery

 Mohammad Zaza, Julien, 2019. Courtesy Hafez Gallery

 Alaa Edris, Reem Dream, 2015. Courtesy 1x1 Art Gallery

 Hassan Massoudy, Place your words well, for words place you, 2016 Courtesy, October Gallery

  Johan Creten, Big Glory - La Trinité / Big Glory for the Red Lounge, 2015-2016. Courtesy Leila Heller Gallery


 Abdelkader Benchamma, Book of Miracles - Vanishing Trees, 2019. Courtesy Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde


 Ali Kazim, Untitled, 2019. Courtesy Jhaveri Contemporary


 Xu Qu, The Antarctica, 2016. Courtesy Almine Rech


Sarah Al Agroobi, Speak it into the void and baptise yourself, 2019. Courtesy The Park Gallery


Zhao Zhao, Gold Constellation No.3, 2019. Courtesy Chambers Fine Art


Xu Zhen®, Alien 2 - Sleeping Hermaphroditos, Western Han Dynasty Female Musician Playing a Zither, 2017-2018. Courtesy ShanghART

Bharti Kher, Algorithm that turns up your automatic response for sharp reflex and deep subliminal structuring, 2019. Courtesy Nature Morte


 Mohamed Melehi, Untitled, 1972. Courtesy Lawrie Shabibi

 Ming JU, Taichi, ca. 1980. Courtesy Hanart TZ Gallery


 Anachar Basbous, Untitled, 2019. Courtesy Agial Art Gallery


 Natessa Amin, A Web that Warns, 2019. Courtesy Galerie Isa Elisabeth Wild, Untitled (184), 2018. Courtesy Carbon 12

  Baya, Femmes, 1964. Courtesy Elmarsa

 Pouran Jinchi, B as Bravo Octagon, 2017. Courtesy The Third Line


  Ranbir Kaleka, Place of Wilderness. Courtesy Vadehra Art Gallery


Paul Laster

Paul Laster is a writer, editor, curator, artist and lecturer. He’s a contributing editor at ArtAsiaPacific and Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art and writer for Time Out New York, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Galerie Magazine, Sculpture, Art & Object, Cultured, Architectural Digest, Garage, Surface, Ocula, Observer, ArtPulse, Conceptual Fine Arts and Glasstire. He was the founding editor of Artkrush, started The Daily Beast’s art section, and was art editor of Russell Simmons’ OneWorld Magazine, as well as a curator at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, now MoMA PS1.



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