Abu Dhabi Festival announced the launch of “Art Amid Covid”, part of the Festival’s annual “Riwaq Al Fikr” talks series. In interviews curated and directed by Jalal Luqman, Emirati artist and Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) Visual Arts Consultant, 10 visual artists in the UAE working across disciplines talk about the importance of art in the context of Covid-19 and how the pandemic has affected artists’ work and how art is experienced, as well as the ways the pandemic may have forever impacted the art industry.
A variety of established artists participated in the series: Sumayyah Al Suwaidi, Mattar Bin Lahej, Saggaf Al Hashimi, Khulood Al Jabri, Obaid Al Budoor, Dr. Najat Makki, Patricia Millns, Azza Al Qubaisi, Dr. Mohamed Yousif and Prof. Michael Rice. The diversity of Emirati and UAE-based creatives offers unique insight into the effects of the pandemic on the arts and how it forever re-shaped artists and the direction of their work. Their messages of hope highlight the value of art and artists for society in the most difficult of times.
The first in the five-episode series will be broadcasted on Tuesday, 26th January, on Abu Dhabi Festival’s website, with a new episode streamed every Tuesday at 8 p.m. (UAE time) till the 23rd February.
Her Excellency Huda I. Alkhamis-Kanoo, Founder of ADMAF and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has reminded us all that culture and art are not optional but are an essential part of our human existence. We all have the responsibility to support the industry as a vital part of our society’s well-being.
“The resilience of artists in these difficult times has been admirable, providing inspiration and motivating us through lockdowns and isolation. Now more than ever, it is crucial that we commit to supporting artists, so that our society can endure and flourish. I hope we all unite to uplift the creative and cultural industry with one purpose for a progressive future.”
Jalal Luqman, the curator and director of the series, Emirati artist and ADMAF Visual Arts Consultant, said: “The pandemic showed that people of different walks of life turned to art to overcome difficult times. The main objective of art is to bring humanity together in a common creative space that everyone can relate to and be part of, thus giving hope to life.”
“We turned to artists in the Art Amid Covid series to better understand how the pandemic affected their work and aspirations; the series reflects ADMAF’s support for artists and commitment to the sustaining the arts to ensure a brighter and hopeful future for everyone,” he continued.
The series is part of Abu Dhabi Festival’s innovative community and education programmes. In 2021, the Festival features a unique hybrid programme of digital and in-person performances and events throughout the year.
For the complete 2021 Abu Dhabi Festival programme, visit AbuDhabiFestival.ae and follow the Festival on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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