Concepts and the Divine Abstract exhibition

March-June 2021 (During Covid-19 pandemic lock down)

The Farjam Foundation is celebrating the pioneers of the Emirati contemporary art scene in its latest exhibition, Concepts and The Divine Abstract. This will be the first time the Foundation has assembled and showcased its exceptional holdings of Emirati pioneering modern masters to the younger generation of rising artists. The exhibition features works by more than a dozen renowned Emirati artists, from the earlier periods to the most recent time.

Noted as having a formative impact on the development of art and culture in the UAE, the distinguished Emirati artists included in this group exhibition are: Abdul Qader Al Rais, Hassan Sharif, Hussain Sharif, Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, Mohammed Kazem, Abdul Rahim Salim, Sheikha Alyazia Bint Nahyan Al Nahyan, Sheikha al Mazrou, Farah Al Qasimi, Lamya Gargash, Meira Huraiz, Afra Al Dhaheri, Hashel Al Lamki, and Musab Al Rais.  

Concepts and The Divine Abstract highlights a range of art forms including painting, photography and sculpture, all of which combine to create a symbiotic sense of dynamic movement. This is best embodied in Hasan Sharif’s, ‘Rock and Roll’, as well as Mohamed Kazem’s ‘Guitar’, and the flowing optics of his Untitled abstract in white. Alongside the works of Hassan Sharif and his brother Hussain, the exhibition showcases iconic works such as a pair of paintings that feature the iconic motifs of Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim which we see repeated and developed in his later oeuvre. The second generation of Emirati artists are also strongly featured, some of whom were mentees of the earlier masters – a relationship which is best reflected by the one between Hasan Sharif and Mohamed Kazem.

Showing these artworks for the first time will explain the contemporary art scene’s transition from calligraphic to figurative, as well as heritage-based artworks, which happened in the early phases of the art scene where progress and growth took place at an extraordinary rate. In Western art, abstraction – sometimes in geometric form – gained significance with Bauhaus and later movements, while with Emirati artistic practice, creativity was frequently built on the geometric abstraction that was already a familiar feature and daily influence from Islam. Invoking their interpretations, artists explored the potential of abstraction and wove concepts and ideas into deconstructed vehicles that delivered expressive and novel messages. The rapid shift has been reflected in the works of the Group of Five, and in the early compositions of such artists as Hasan Sharif and Abdul Qader Al Rais, which foretold an evolution of art that bore exciting and dynamic results. 

Exhibition Catalog

Media Coverage