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Bayn: The In-Between opens at Warehouse421 in Abu Dhabi

U.A.E. Unlimited’s third exhibition explores the transformation of the UAE through the artworks of eight conceptual artists


U.A.E. Unlimited’s third exhibition, Bayn: the In-Between will open at Warehouse421 from 25 February 2017. Organised by the satellite platform founded and supported by His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, the exhibition explores the transformations that the current generation of artists have witnessed in the UAE and the region.

In line with U.A.E Unlimited’s mission to nurture and develop emerging creative practitioners, Munira Al Sayegh, an emerging curator from the UAE, has worked with eight commissioned artists and a ninth internationally established guest artist from Saudi Arabia, Manal AlDowayan, to create conceptual artworks in a wide variety of mediums.

H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Patron of U.A.E. Unlimited commented ahead of the opening: “Our platform’s third iteration comes at a time when we are all examining our identities in light of the rapid shifts we are witnessing around us. I am proud to be part of the Bayn generation, the generation that took on the responsibility of moving the narrative forward towards a more nuanced understanding of the contexts of home and belonging, bringing together the best practices in art, culture, and development to the localities we belong to. U.A.E. Unlimited is proud to support and work alongside such great emerging talent in understanding what it truly means to actively be a part of this change. The artworks exhibited at Bayn and the curatorial thought process behind it highlight an urgent need for us to pause, and rethink our fixed notions of identity and invite us to redefine what it means to be part of this new wave of thinkers who are constantly moving forward.”

Bayn: the In-Between is a collaboration between U.A.E. Unlimited and a number of UAE-based artists, curators, and institutions, highlighting the collective nature of the creative community in the UAE today. Hosted at Warehouse421 in Abu Dhabi, the exhibition is being developed with the support of Maraya Productions in Sharjah. Maya Allison, Founding Director of NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery, is the Senior Curatorial Adviser to the project and mentoring the exhibition’s curator Munira Al Sayegh.

Speaking ahead of the exhibition, Shobha Pia Shamdsani, Executive Director of U.A.E. Unlimited commented: “The Middle East has witnessed “transformation” in multiple ways and on multiple levels. From shifting borders to political upheaval. From the removal of the old and the arrival of the new. From youth to maturity. From fragility to durability. These transformations have affected all aspects of life, from growth in agriculture, to education, health, housing and industry. For a young nation that recently celebrated its 45th Anniversary, it’s even more true here in the UAE. We’ve witnessed spectacular growth unparalleled in the region. We are most grateful for all the enthusiastic, generous and wonderful support we have received from the entire team at Warehouse421. We deeply admire and respect the significant ongoing contribution made by Warehouse421 to the development of the arts and cultural landscape throughout the nation.”

Bayn: The In-Between seeks to describe, question, and expand on the threshold found between a starting point and its end. Throughout this exhibition, the state of in-between is highlighted as equally important to both the definitive beginning (the history of the United Arab Emirates) and its end goal (the future). The artists work in a wide variety of mediums, drawing on their surroundings, experiences and recollections.

Hatem Hatem’s Calcified Landscape uses marine calcified rock to simultaneously reflect a traditional building method in the UAE (using coral rock) and investigating the use of this method as a future regional building technique. For Bayn Jissrain, sound artist Maytha Al Shamsi has used sounds inspired by the two main bridges in Abu Dhabi that connect the island to the mainland, connecting the first bridge to be built in Abu Dhabi in 1967, Maqta Bridge, and its Zaha Hadid designed contemporary counterpart, the Sheikh Zayed Bridge.

Throughout the commissioning process the artists worked in close collaboration with acclaimed artist Manal AlDowayan and investigated the theme further through reading sessions with curator Munira Al Sayegh.

Pariticpating artists: Asma Al Ahmed, Hatem Hatem, Manal Al Dowayan, Maytha Al Shamsi, Nasser Alzayani, Saif Mehaisen, Sara Al Haddad, Talal Al Ansari, Talin Hazbar