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Abu Dhabi International Sculpture Symposium Opens
2010-02-20 09:38:11

(L-R) Abeer Al Mutawa, Dr. Sulaiman Al Jassim, Salwa Zeidan

The Nation Press -

Abu Dhabi - The Nation Press - For the first time in the city of Abu Dhabi, audiences will have a first-hand look at the tremendous effort that goes into sculpting - one of the most ancient artistic techniques.

The Abu Dhabi International Sculpture Symposium (ADISS) will kick-start this month on February 25 running until April 7. The official launch of the event was announced today (15th February 2010) at a press conference held at Zayed University’s Abu Dhabi campus, in the presence of Dr. Sulaiman Al Jassim Vice President of Zayed University, Salwa Zeidan Symposium Director and Founder of Salwa Zeidan Gallery, Abeer Al Mutawa, Community Services Advisor of Municipality of Abu Dhabi City, and Salah Khider, Director of Operations at the Armed Forces Officers Club.

Held under the patronage of General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the six-week symposium is organized by Zayed University in collaboration with Salwa Zeidan Gallery. Strategic Partners in this unique event are the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City and the Armed Forces Officers Club.

“Under the guidance of His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, President of Zayed University, the Abu Dhabi International Sculpture Symposium is truly an exceptional event that marks an important historic milestone and is destined to transform the art and cultural sector in the UAE,” said Dr. Sulaiman Al Jassim, Vice President of Zayed University.

“The objective of the symposium is to initiate artistic and cultural co-operation between artists of different backgrounds, and promote the UAE as a new meeting place for artistic and cultural creativity. In its inaugural run, ADISS will open its doors to the world under the theme of “Bridging Societies through the Language of Art” and will bring together 17 renowned sculptors from around the world to reveal their creativity on site from the heart of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi,” added Dr. Al Jassim.

Commenting upon involving Zayed University students in the creation of art, Dr. Al Jassim said: “For Zayed University, encouraging students’ participation in this type of artistic and cultural event, is part of our mission in reinforcing their knowledge, enhancing their skills and broadening their perspectives through interaction with international contemporary cultures. Throughout their college years, Zayed University students, especially those enrolled in the university’s art programs, have had the benefit of working with internationally acclaimed visiting artists and curators from around the world, which exposed them to international art practices and paved the way for the development of professional collaboration. Through ADISS, students have a great opportunity to converse and learn from the experiences of the world renowned visiting artists, and attend a series of lectures and workshops to discuss topics such as ‘Art and Environment’, ‘Originality and Identity in Public Sculpture’, “Art in the urban scene’ and ‘Art saving the world’.

Dr. Al Jassim added: “Since we are aware that art plays an important role in our everyday lives as it can enhance and compliment our environment, bring communities together, offer social and educational opportunities and promote tourism, Zayed University and Salwa Zeidan Gallery are also working closely to organize lectures by the visiting artists that are open to the public”.

Artists of the world participating in this first edition of ADISS and who will bring together their collective talents to create a most active and dynamic event are Billy Lee from United Kingdom, Caroline Ramersdorfer from Austria, Ehab El Laban from Eqypt, Fabrizio Dieci from Italy, Gheorghi Filin and Petre Petrov from Bulgaria, Gregor Kregar from Slovenia, Hassan Sharif from United Arab Emirates, Hwang Seoung-Woo from Korea, Jo Kley from Germany, Jon Barlow Hudson from U.S.A, John Gogaberishvili from Republic of Georgia, Juanjo Novella from Spain, Konstantin Dimopoulos from Australia, Masahiro Hasegawa and Yoshin Ogata from Japan and emerging artist Husam Chaya from Lebanon.

The Municipality of Abu Dhabi City confirmed that this initiative highlights the municipality’s objective to view Abu Dhabi City as a new, unique art capital of the modern world and playing a key role in the social advancement of the capital.

Abeer Al Mutawa, Community Services Advisor of Municipality of Abu Dhabi City said: “The initiative is in line with Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed’s vision of establishing Abu Dhabi as the cultural center of the Middle East region by 2030 – the long-term plan committed to fostering the development and social advancement of the UAE’s capital and falls within the Municipality of Abu Dhabi’s main strategy to further affirm Abu Dhabi’s position as a truly modern city and boost the Emirate’s ambitions of building a global reputation as a top destination for the Arts”

Symposium Director of ADISS and the Director of the Salwa Zeidan Gallery – Salwa Zeidan said, “The response to the announcement of this symposium from artists around the world was overwhelming, resulting in over 400 applications. Each artist was carefully selected to give the symposium a multi-cultural context.”

The artistic concept of the submitted works ranged from abstract ideas to semi-realistic designs mainly aimed at complimenting the beautiful city of Abu Dhabi, its history, and its culture. Through a multi-phased evaluation process, we selected 16 artists of the highest calibre and decided - together with Zayed University - to introduce an emerging new talent every year by offering a select artist the chance to demonstrate his or her skills as a sculptor.”

Zeidan stressed, “The selection process was of the essence. It was important for us to get hold of artists who could not only elevate the standard of the event but also add value to the enlightening lecture programs by efficiently imparting the many facets of art in today’s global culture.”
The lecture programs and the workshops are an integral part of this event as they serve to advance the cultural dialogue between Abu Dhabi and the rest of the world. “We are proud to reveal that the works of art created by these experienced artists meet the highest standard expected at similar sculpting events taking place in many countries around the world,” says Zeidan, “Together these artists ensure a proper rendition of an international sculpture symposium.”

Zeidan added: “Art is for everybody not only for connoisseurs. Through this exhibition not only the one residing in Abu Dhabi but also the tourists and various visitors of the UAE will have a fantastic opportunity to engage with art, which is created exclusively for them, in a very accessible way. People can observe the evolution of a sculpture as it goes from conceptualization through planning, carving, roughing, smoothing and polishing. And so we welcome everyone to come watch art being made throughout the symposium, and to meet this year’s artists at special public events.”

On his part Mr. Salah Khider, Director of Operations at the Armed Forces Officers Club explained that the Club had made available a plot of land within their grounds to be custom-built for use by the artists to create their individual sculptures.

“As Strategic Partners for ADISS, the Armed Forces Officers Club is honored to be part of this historical initiative and will do its utmost to contribute to the success of the event, which comes in line with the Club’s mission since its inception in 1997, to support and promote the advancement of sports, arts and cultural events, under the guidance of Chief of Staff of UAE Armed Forces Lt. General Hamad Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi,” added Mr. Khider.

He further confirmed the smooth logistical support to the event, revealing that the material required by the artists to construct their creations such as steel, stainless steel, marble or granite and other composite materials such as fiberglass have already arrived at the site. “Even the ground has been leveled for the artists to embark upon their process by the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City.”

Handling the logistical support for ADISS, the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City will take on the mission of placing all of the finished sculptures in various and permanent locations around the capital for public viewing.

In his closing statement, Dr. Al Jassem stated that this first edition of ADISS will culminate with a closing ceremony at the end of the symposium to reveal the completed works by the visiting artists.


Source : The Nation Press Exclusive
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