DUBAI: Stationed at Sotheby’s Dubai amidst dazzling pieces of important Islamic jewelry and heritage objects, 20 rare works by the house of Fabergé and notable pieces of modern Arab art, is a group of contemporary works by up-and-coming artists based in the UAE. Presented by local grassroots arts organization Engage 101, works by artists based in the UAE — Augustine Paredes, Mohammed Khalid, Alaa Edris, Nasir Nasrallah and Sara Ahli — will show in a non-selling exhibition as part of Sotheby’s “Made in the Emirates,” a showcase of jewelry and art crafted in the UAE.
The past decade has marked a historic period for the art scene in the UAE. From the opening of museums and major international auction houses, to successful art fairs, including Art Dubai and Abu Dhabi Art, the art scene in the UAE has taken flight.
Local arts platform Engage 101 is one such organization born from the momentous growth in the UAE arts and culture scene. The grassroots research and collecting platform, co-founded by curator Munira Al-Sayegh and writer Gaith Abdulla, hopes that by promoting and elevating works by emerging artists based in the UAE with international and regional collectors, the local UAE art scene can further grow in visibility and vision.
“Developing this exhibition with Sotheby’s as our first non-selling exhibition has allowed us more freedom to think outside of the box about the artworks we’re presenting,” Abdulla told Arab News.
“We were inspired by the idea of being able to exhibit works previously sold to our collectors and that was the key to how we chose to approach this exhibition,” he continued. “To be able to facilitate the first time a collector loans an artwork for an exhibition feels rewarding. We will be showing artworks collected from our previous sales, as well as newer works by our artist alumni and introducing three new artists we will be collaborating with in our upcoming sale.”
Engage 101 produces quarterly art sales that feature non-gallery represented artists, published research and public programing in a constantly rotating mix of spaces, artists, and audiences. Sotheby’s Dubai’s DIFC headquarters is now one of these spaces.
“At the core of our platform are three pillars, artists, research and collectors and for our first non-selling exhibition held in collaboration with Sotheby’s Dubai, we have been able to bring all three components to the forefront, and take our collectors through various processes, bringing them to the heart of the exhibition,” Al-Sayegh told Arab News.
Works presented by Engage 101 will be exhibited alongside highlights from Sotheby’s 20th Century Art/Middle East auction, which opens for bidding online from Oct. 20–26. The selection includes an abstract painting by Fahrelnissa Zeid, six works by Iranian Modernist Parviz Tanavoli and a bold geometric canvas by Iraqi-British artist Athier Mousawi.
“The exhibition brings the best of the Emirates under one roof at the same time as our international auction highlights, in a curated one-stop destination for lovers of art and jewelry alike,” said Katia Nounou-Boueiz, Head of Sotheby’s UAE in a statement. “It is the perfect opportunity for young collectors looking to acquire and acquaint themselves with new and celebrated artists from the Emirates.”
The exhibition is free and open to the public at Sotheby’s Dubai, Gate Village 3, DIFC from 4-7 October 2021.