Art is on the move as Roger El-Khoury calls on his far-reaching experience in Middle East art to bring his first exhibition Break by Artbooth, a collective of 15 artists from the Middle East, to the capital. We find out more.
words: Derek Issacs
Why did you choose Abu Dhabi as the place to launch your first expo?
It’s a no-brainer really. Abu Dhabi is emerging as an art hub and is becoming a cultural destination, especially with Saadiyat Island being home to The Louvre, Abu Dhabi Cultural foundation, Manarat el Saadiyat, Art Abu Dhabi, New York University Abu Dhabi, and two emerging museums, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim.
Fifteen artists from across the region will be exhibiting at Break What made you choose these particular ones?
I have met a lot of artists along my journey, which spans Lebanon and Dubai, and everywhere in between. I’ve searched for talented young emerging artists who have significant potential and have created inspiring artwork that I personally like. Firstly, the criteria is to like the artwork itself, for the artist to have a strong biography and then to see if the artwork fits the exhibition. Break will see works by artists from Jordan, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon and Iran, many of whom are well-known across the region, in the US and Europe.
Which artist and artwork should people watch out for?
It has to be Not So-Musical Chairs, an oil-on-canvas piece by Nour El Saleh. The reason is because Nour is the youngest artist in the show, being just 23 years old, and already has had a solo exhibition at ZonaMaco art fair. It’s impressive and I think she’s brilliant.
What tips can you provide to those new to collecting art?
Buy what you like, especially if the prices are not high. If you find the prices expensive, do your research and ask an art adviser about the piece, then buy it, but only if you like it.
Is this a one-off show or will there be more?
I am also launching the Artbooth office in Abu Dhabi, so people will be able to check our inventory on the website and can contact us to check the artwork physically. My plan for 2020 is to roll out three exhibitions and not necessarily in Abu Dhabi, since Artbooth, as its name suggests, is a mobile concept.
Which artists will feature in Break?
Noor Bahjat, Hanny Al Khoury, Louma Rabah, Babak Rashvand, Nour El Saleh, Ihab Ahmad, Muatasim AlKubaisy, Shadi Abousada, Bruno Sfeir, Omar Zeidan, Mohannad Orabi, Mostafa Rabie, Aula Al Ayoubi, Ahmed Farid and Omran Younes.
Need to know
Break, Art from the Middle East, Salwa Zeidan Gallery, the former Hilton Capital Grand Hotel, Airport Road, Abu Dhabi. 25th February until 9th March. Contact: 056 632 4242, for more information, visit: artboothuae.com