The Emirati Culture in France

Recent years the cultural scene of UAE seemed to be less active. We would think that the country is giving up on huge-scale projects in exchange of massive preparations head of World Expo 2020. But this is not exact. The focus was shifted to extend the Emirati presence in other countries. Matter of establishing its name on the international art scene, the UAE is largely present at the biggest cultural platforms such as Venice Art Biennale and others.


This fall it's the turn of Paris to discover the talents from emirates starting with the retrospective of Emirati contemporary artist Abdulqader Al Rais. The event took place at famous “Institut du Monde Arab”, the biggest and the most influential in Europe center of arts and history focused on Arab world under the direction of Jack Lang. The exhibition of the Dubai based artist was curated by the Dubai Cultural Authority and supported by the Embassy of France in UAE. Among the guests, the General Secretary of Quai d'Orsay – Mr. Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, the Ambassador of the UAE to France, prominent cultural personalities from UAE and France.


The exhibition traces the different stages in artist’s career. The collection of 58 artworks is displayed across 3 different sections representing 5 decencies of Al Rais’s work. It features a lifetime of work by the pioneer of contemporary art in the United Arab Emirates. From his first paintings done in Kuwait in 60s till nowadays, the artist has captured some fine changes through his art. The retrospective opens with his recent painting: large-scale abstract work with geometric and calligraphic elements. Older paintings are more focused on portraiture, still life and landscapes, following the artist’s experimentation with themes and expressions. The exhibition closes with an intimate and rare display of his earliest work.


This event was followed by a 2-days conference on Construction of Cultural Network and Artistic Scene in the United Arab Emirates. The first conference tool place in presence of the Minister of State Zaki Naseibeh. Beyond politics, culture is one of the strongest factors that two countries can create to enhance mutual understanding, respect and tolerance. The conference was a logical outcome of the year celebrating the "Emirati-French Cultural Dialogue 2018-2019". Among the prestigious participants in this conference: Jack Lang, President of the Institute of the Arab World and HE Mohammed Al Murr, President of the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Library. Moderated debate by Ali Khadra, founder and publisher of the magazine Canvas, the guest have demonstrated how vital a cultural network is.


The second day of the conference gathered some essential actors of Emirati art scene, Vilma Jurkute, Isabelle de la Bruyere and Khalil Abdul Wahid. The guests were explaining what the dynamics and sustainability of the art scene in the United Arab Emirates is. The United Arab Emirates has managed to become an important cultural platform in less than two decades. Thanks to its biennials and art fairs, but also to its galleries, the country has also developed a market that acts as regional spokesman for artists.


This cultural season continues with the official Week of Emirati Culture in France starting from October 11that prestigious Parisian gallery at Place de Vosges. The opening was launched by the Minister of Culture, H.E. Noora AL Kaabi and French government executives.