The NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery’s Sixth Year Anniversary publication

Team Yalla jump on Zoom to speak to Assistant Director of Education and Publications Alaa Edris to find out more.

Since 2014, The NYUAD Art Gallery has been a landmark on the Abu Dhabi arts horizon and is the Arabian Gulf’s first and only university gallery that presents a programme of scholarly and experimental museum exhibitions.

The Gallery works hard at mapping new territories and ideas through its thought-provoking exhibitions by internationally established artists, curators and scholars.

An important part of the University’s curatorial frame and one that reflects its academic mission are The NYUAD Art Gallery’s annual publications that contain original research and scholarly publications.

Each publication supports The Art Gallery’s curatorial programme, which explores locally relevant and internationally significant subjects, as well as accompanying exhibitions on display.

The Art Gallery, at the time of writing, is in the throes of publishing its Sixth Anniversary publication.

“To mark this momentous occasion, we decided that this publication would serve as a compendium of our previous exhibitions since The NYUAD Art Gallery’s inception in 2014 until now,” says Alaa Edris Assistant Director of Education and Publications.

“Due to the pandemic The Art Gallery’s fifth edition was delayed, hence it has now turned into our Sixth Year Anniversary book, which is great as we can add more material on the work that The Art Gallery undertook in early 2020 such as Amar Kanwar: The Sovereign Forest, in collaboration with Sudhir Pattnaik/Samadrusti and Sherna Dastur.”

Alaa explains how the Sixth Anniversary publication also contains works from such notables as Mariët Westermann, NYUAD Vice Chancellor and the introduction written by The NYUAD Arts Center’s Maya Allison, Executive Director and Chief Curator and Executive Founder.

“The publication includes a selection of essays from each exhibition and each of our previous publications, along with images of the installations.

“You could say that it is a kind of history book on The Art Gallery,” says Alaa. 

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The Art Gallery’s first annual publication was published in 2015 and featured its second exhibition, a major exhibition of the art collective Slavs and Tatars, titled Mirrors for Princes: Both Sides of the Tongue.

“The 2016 publication featured Diana Al-Hadid’s Phantom Limb, which was her first exhibition in the Arab world,” says Alaa. 

“The following year was our most ambitious publication which was the exhibition, Invisible Threads: Technology and its Discontents.”

Notably, the exhibition Invisible Threads inaugurated one of NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery’s unique programme strategies: inviting scholars and specialists from across the academic spectrum to guest-curate a major exhibition.

The remaining publications included, among others, exhibitions such as Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952-1965 and The Trace series, But we Cannot see them, which surveyed the founding decades of a profoundly influential artistic community, working at the vanguard of contemporary art in the UAE since the 1980s.

Such publications are part of The NYUAD Art Gallery’s mission and are clearly important for the community. “Exhibitions come and go,” says Alaa. “These publications are a written record of the knowledge that we’ve produced.”


For more information about the NYUAD Art Gallery and the publications visit nyuad-artgallery.org

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