National Pavilion UAE exhibition Passage opens - GulfToday

National Pavilion UAE exhibition Passage opens


Noura Al Kaabi at the 58th International Art Exhibition.

The UAE’s Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development yesterday opened Passage, the National Pavilion UAE’s exhibition at the 58th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia. Curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, Passage is a single-work exhibition presenting an immersive, 26-minute, two-channel video and twelve-channel sound installation by acclaimed poet, filmmaker and artist Nujoom Alghanem.

Noura Al Kaabi said, “The National Pavilion UAE at the Venice Biennale is a real point of pride for the nation, and every year its exhibitions bring to the world stage diverse aspects of the country’s dynamic cultural scene. Through our participation we showcase our rich contemporary culture to this global audience, as well as the unbridled talent of those who call the UAE home.”

Angela Migally, Executive Director, Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, commissioner of the National Pavilion UAE, said, “Nujoom Alghanem’s intriguing power of telling stories through words and images is innate to the work she creates across multiple disciplines. Her powerful new video installation is a perfect encapsulation of the Venice Biennale’s overall curatorial theme for 2019, ‘May You Live in Interesting Times’, and explores the human condition through a non-linear thematic narrative that is both universal and deeply personal.”

Bringing together more than 90 countries, the Venice Biennale is one of the world’s most popular and highly-regarded cultural events with over 600,000 visitors attending the last edition of its art exhibition.

Filmed in the UAE and Venice, the site-specific work Passage has been closely conceived and developed with the curators, Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, and incorporates contemporary Arabic poetry into the language of film, providing a poignant reflection on the experience of displacement. It is structured along two distinct narratives, one “real,” the other “fictional,” simultaneously projected on the opposite sides of the same screen. The “real” narrative depicts the efforts of Nujoom and Amal, a Syrian actress residing in the UAE, to create a film for the Pavilion. The “fictional” narrative is an aestheticised portrayal of Falak, a displaced woman on an arduous journey. Passage will be on view inside the permanent space of the National Pavilion UAE at the Arsenale - Sale d’Armi until November 24, 2019. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated artist book under the same title, edited by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath and available in two separate English and Arabic language editions.

The inauguration of the National Pavilion UAE was attended by Salem Al Qasimi, Assistant Undersecretary for Arts and Heritage at the UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development;

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Chairman, UAE Unlimited;Sheikha Hoor bint Sultan Al Qasimi, President and Director, Sharjah Art Foundation; Abdullah Al Shamsi, UAE Consul General in Milan; Rana Al Dhaheri, Second Secretary of the UAE Embassy in Rome; Hala Badri, Director General, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority; and Angela Migally, Executive Director, Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation.

The National Pavilion UAE is commissioned by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation and supported by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development. The UAE has participated in the International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale since 2009 and this year marks the UAE’s sixth participation at the International Art Exhibition.

Through participation at La Biennale di Venezia (Venice Biennale), the National Pavilion United Arab Emirates - La Biennale di Venezia (NPUAE) supports the arts and architectural practices of the UAE on an international platform, and promotes a cultural dialogue between the UAE and the international community.

The National Pavilion UAE also organizes the Venice Internship, offering opportunities to young residents of the UAE through a one-month internship on site in Venice acting as custodians and docents of the National Pavilion. Rotated on a monthly basis throughout the six months of the biennale, the different intern groups oversee the daily operations of the exhibition and participate in an educational programme, run in partnership with Ca’ Foscari University and other cultural institutions in the UAE and Venice


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