During Ramadan, the Abu Dhabi Art Hub is hosting events designed to draw people together as well as create dialogue about art.
The month-long festivities began over the weekend with the opening of the Spirit of Ramadan exhibition. The show is two-fold, the first part being the third annual My Ramadan photography exhibition from UAE Goodwill Photographers, a group of photographers aiming to transform communities through photography. My Ramadan celebrates Islamic culture and customs during the Holy Month and is curated by Slava Noor.
The second part of the Spirit of Ramadan is a selection of paintings that feature or include calligraphy by Aktham Gerguis from Iraq, Nahar Marzooq from Saudi Arabia and the Omani Saleh Al Shukairi.
"This exhibition gives a chance to artists and photographers to present Ramadan from a new perspective," says Ahmed Al Yafei, the owner and founder of the Art Hub. "We hope people will enjoy coming to see their works."
In an effort to promote regional art and give enthusiasts the chance to buy discounted pieces, the Affordable Art show returns for its second edition on July 23. In what organisers plan to be a semi-annual event, the show features works with prices ranging from Dh500 to Dh2,000. The goal is to encourage the public to support artists by purchasing original artwork.
"Our aim is to enrich and encourage artistic pursuits in our community and to make contemporary art accessible to everyone," says Al Yafei.
The Art Hub will host evening talks by established and emerging artists and entrepreneurs until August 7. The informal gatherings will take place in Art Hub's air-conditioned rooftop majlis tent.
Each Saturday, the gatherings will celebrate the traditions and foods of Muslim regions from around the world, beginning with South East Asia and followed by North Africa, the Mediterranean and Russia.
"In our tradition Ramadan is a time for gathering, when families get together, so we thought it was a good opportunity to bring the art family of Abu Dhabi together in one welcoming place," says Al Yafei. "Ramadan is a special time with a spiritual essence and we want to make all our activities community related."
In the community
A new Art Hub facility is scheduled to open in Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre in a few weeks. In the meantime, works will be on temporary exhibition there before the official opening.
"We are trying to involve as many parties as possible," Al Yafei says. "At the end of the day, we hope people will find art has become part of their daily lives and they will find they are interested to collect pieces and to be involved in the nationwide initiatives the UAE has coming up in the future."
Spirit of Ramadan runs until July 22. Affordable Art runs from July 23 until August 15. Art Talks continue until August 7 at 10.30pm