Abu Dhabi exhibition brings hip-hop history to the UAE

Photographed by Barron Claiborne. Supplied
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Updated 07 December 2020

Abu Dhabi exhibition brings hip-hop history to the UAE

Abu Dhabi exhibition brings hip-hop history to the UAE

DUBAI: The Notorious B.I.G. rocking a gilded “King of New York” crown, Jay-Z peeking through his hands as he throws his diamond up, A$AP Rocky swathed in the American flag – every hip-hop fan knows these images all too well. And now, these iconic images and the stories behind them are coming to the Middle East.

The hip-hop exhibition “Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop” – based on journalist Vikki Tobak’s book of the same title – will run at Manarat Al-Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi from Dec. 15 to May 31, 2021. 




Outkast photographed by Janette Beckman. Supplied

It will be the first time the exhibition, originated at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, will be shown outside of the US.

The exhibition, which was brought to the UAE thanks to SOLE DXB and Manarat Al-Saadiyat, will feature more than 150 works from 60 photographers, along with original and unedited contact sheets.  Accompanying the photographs are archival videos, memorabilia and music.




Tyler the Creator photographed by Jorge Peniche. Supplied

One of the most legendary pieces in the exhibit is Barron Claibone’s shot of Notorious B.I.G., which was taken in March 1997, only three days before the East Coast rapper was killed in a drive-by shooting in New York.

Kendrick Lamar, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Queen Latifah and Kanye West are other prominent creatives featured in the exhibition.