Noura Al Kaabi inaugurates exhibition on ‘Abdul Qader Al Rais: 50 Years of Art’

ABU DHABI, Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, has affirmed that the ministry is measuring the contribution of artistic production and cultural and creative industries in the UAE in light of the rich artistic and cultural movement witnessed by the country and the momentum of art exhibitions and cultural events for Emirati artists and residents.

In a statement to the Emirates News Agency, WAM, during the inauguration of the first-of-its-kind retrospective exhibition “Abdul Qader Al Rais: 50 Years of Art”, Al Kaabi said that this exhibition lists the journey of 50 years of giving in the world of art, which focusses on the UAE identity and the principles of ethical life through the paintings that tell the story of the artist Abdul Qader Al Rais in important periods of history.

The exhibition is organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, DCT Abu Dhabi, at Manarat Al Saadiyat. The opening ceremony was attended by Mohammed Al Murr, Chairman of the Board of Mohammed bin Rashid Library, and Saif Saeed Ghobash, Under-Secretary of DCT Abu Dhabi.

The exhibition, which will run until 23rd March, 2019, showcases works by the artist from the late 1960s up until the present day. The exhibition surveys the evolution of Al Rais’ career, from his early figurative paintings to his most recent and recognisable series of calligraphic abstraction.

Al Kaabi toured the six sections of the exhibition, expressing pride in Abdul Qader Al Rais and all the creative artists of the UAE whose works are featured at global art events, helping to shape the international cultural scene.

Al Kaabi said that Al Rais is not just a brilliant artist, but an exceptional individual who shouldered the responsibility of bolstering the UAE’s reputation culturally through participating in multiple forums and exhibitions over the years. His works tell the stories of the Emirati people and landscapes that he paints.

She also lauded the efforts of DCT Abu Dhabi, which has spared no effort in supporting national cultural and creative activities and events, both in the UAE and abroad, furthering the soft power efforts of the UAE and reinforcing its standing as a global centre for creativity.

Al Kaabi said that the nation’s art and culture scene needed to boost the presence of Emirati artists and creatives, whether inspiring future generations at art events locally, or abroad, helping to build bridges through cultural exchange between the UAE and countries around the world.

“We are proud today to inaugurate this exhibition in honour of an artist who has produced unique and influential work throughout a 50-year career,” Ghobash said.

“Through his meticulous techniques and great passion for painting, Abdul Qader Al Rais has established himself as the father of Emirati art and one of the most important pioneers of visual arts in the UAE. Living alongside two generations of artists, and witnessing decades of transformations in the UAE, has seen his paintings influenced by such varied subjects as nature, architecture, regional strife, and explorations of national pride and identity. We hope that visitors will discover and delight in the creativity and uniqueness of one of our most important artists, through his paintings reflecting all aspects of Emirati culture.”

The exhibition itself explores the complex relationship between man and nature. Depicting the sky, land and sea through a rich palette of colours, Al Rais explores God’s creation, looking at the immaculate and searching for a balance of the natural elements. He also examines the conceptual nature of Arabic calligraphy, in an ongoing series called Hurufiyyat.

Other works touch upon political and social issues throughout the Arab region, such as the Palestinian cause, the Gulf War and, more recently, the Syrian crisis. In a series of figurative works, the artist documents the historic urban landscapes of the UAE in an attempt to preserve cultural identity and collective memory. Through six different sections – Early Figures, Home, Earth & Sky, People & Time, Impressions & Abstractions and Hurufiyyat – the exhibition survey seeks to explore the many transitions and transformations that the artist has undergone.

Source: Emirates News Agency