With American politics dominating so much of the media lately, Abu Dhabi Art Hub is stripping things back to the country’s roots and offered a month-long residency to five Native American artists.
The group travelled to Abu Dhabi and have already spent a month working in one of the gallery’s studios, developing a new body of work. The exhibition is tinged with Middle Eastern influences from the artists’ time here, but, ultimately, it’s a glimpse into true Native American culture.
For example, the colourful work by Monte “Black Pinto Horse” Yellow Bird Sr, is a tribute to his father, his family, his heritage and his experiences of life. The efforts of Ben Pease on the other hand are concerned with the difficulties Native Americans face living in their own country.
“I’ve recently crossed paths with a self-appointed task of narrating the Aboriginal struggles and aesthetics through my personal interpretation,” he says. “Whether my art focuses upon statements drawn from the aspect of an activist or based on cultural recordings, I feel the need to educate.”
Other artists exhibiting include Votan (see picture), whose art grew from his days as a teenage graffiti artist in Los Angeles, and Emma Robbins, who weaves traditional elements of her heritage in with images of how indigenous people are represented in popular culture.
The Native American art scene is one that’s often overlooked, though it’s one rich with stories of culture and traditions that are as intrinsic to the country’s history as anything that came after the first European settlers arrived in the late 16th century. They are stories that need to be heard, and there’s no better time to hear them.
Free. Sat-Thu 9am-7pm. Until June 15. Abu Dhabi Art Hub, The Mall at World Trade Center Abu Dhabi (02 551 5005).