UAE Pavillion at Venice Biennale

The UAE shows off its cultural identity at this year’s Venice Biennale Discuss this article

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When it comes to national identity, the UAE has evolved to become something that defies categorisation. There’s a multitude of nationalities living throughout the emirates, balanced with the long history and heritage of the Emiratis.

It’s something that the UAE’s pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale celebrates. The exhibition – titled Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play – uses the theme of “playfulness” to demonstrate the connections between generations of artists in the UAE, although the works, and the artists themselves, are incredibly diverse.

The result is a form of narrative about contemporary art in the UAE that crosses generations and cultures. This year, pieces from five artists are on show, all of whom come from widely different backgrounds, but still call the UAE home. Their work is experimental, and illustrates just how diversified the country’s cultural fabric is.

One artist, Vikram Divecha, was born in Lebanon and raised in India. Now based in the UAE, his work is all about interrogating and challenging socio-economic structures.

Another artist, Lantian Xi, creates contemporary work – an overturned Mirinda can, a cup of karak, vintage posters advertising a long-closed UAE hotel – which is essentially a collection of recognisable, nostalgia-inducing everyday objects from the country, some of which will be on show at the pavilion.

The pair will be exhibiting alongside Nujoom Alghanem, Sara Al Haddad and Mohamed Yousif until November 26. The Venice Biennale is one of the world’s biggest art events, and worth a visit for any aficionado. Not least to dive further into the UAE’s incredibly rich artistic traditions.

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Art Basel Miami

One of the three Art Basel fairs (including Basel and Hong Kong), this one takes place in the palm-fringed Florida city known for its art.
December 7-10.


This contemporary art fair takes place in Turin, Italy, with more than 200 cutting-edge galleries from around the world taking part.
November 1-5.

Frieze London

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October 5-8.

By Sofia Vyas
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

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