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United Arab Emirates

















East-East: UAE meets Japan explores the ways young voices of the Emirati art scene choose to regard cross-cultural contact with the arts of Japan. The exhibition aims to draw parallels between Japanese and Emirati culture as both traditional societies have moved rapidly into global capitalist postmodernism. The exhibition serves to show both cultures' attempts to keep a balance between heritage and futurism.

East-East also intends to challenge and expand the idea of what “global art” means to artists, curators, and viewers alike in our increasingly globalized world. As curator Sophie Mayuko Arni said: “I wanted to break the overused and overheard ‘East-West’ terminology by turning it on its head. Why always look to the West, when we can look Eastwards? I hope for East-East to contribute to the recent initiatives aiming to break geographical boundaries of contemporary art making and exhibition practices.”

With an opening reception on October 18th 2016, East-East: UAE meets Japan premieres specially commissioned works by 4 Emirati artists including the names of Khalid Mezaina and Al Anood Al Obaidly, both recent recipient of the prestigious The Salama bint Hamdan Emerging Artists Fellowship. The 4 artists featured for the exhibition are: Khalid Mezaina, Al Anood al Obaidly, Amna al Maamari, Ahmed Alanzi.

Works explore the similarity in both countries’ fine balance between rooted tradition and expanding modernity. The four chosen themes read as follows: 'Images of a Floating World', 'Modernity and Materiality', 'Craft and Repetition' and 'Costume and Pride'. Themes as Nōh and Bedouin mythology, spirituality and repetition, weaving and knotting, Zen Buddhism and the desert’s connection to materiality, traditional and ceremonial dress, are contrasted to overwhelming consumption typified by plastic materials in such chain stores as Daiso. The exhibition as such combines the Emirati artist's established styles with Japanese stylistic elements. Four years ahead of Dubai and Tokyo hosting the Expo and Olympics respectively, the occasion seems fitting to celebrate these two cultures together to further solidify their place on the global art map.















Selected press:
NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery official release
NYU Abu Dhabi Events official release
Abu Dhabi World, 20-26/10/2016, print and web
Al Ittihad,23/10/16, web and print
Magpie, 30/10/2016, web
Gulf News, 18/10/16, print
Buro 24/7, 21/10/2016, web
The National, event listings 23/10/2016, print
Abu Dhabi Events, 18/10/2016, web
Krossbreed by Khalid Mezaina, 21/10/2016, web




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Sophie (Mayuko) Arni, October 2016, Abu Dhabi.
Text written by Sophie Arni. Images and text copyrighted Global Art Daily, 2016.