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NYUAD Art Gallery Final Exhibition Archive


The Art Startup in the UAE: Founders of The Third Line, Traffic, Barjeel Art Foundation, Jameel Arts Centre, and 101 gather with The NYUAD Art Gallery to reflect on the UAE’s visual arts ecosystem

  • Speakers include Antonia Carver (Jameel Arts Centre Director), Munira Al-Sayegh (co-founder of 101), Rami Farook (founder of Traffic, and Satellite, among other projects), Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi (Barjeel Art Foundation), and Sunny Rahbar (co-founder of The Third Line gallery), and Maya Allison (The NYUAD Art Gallery), co-moderating with Bana Kattan (Associate Curator, MCA Chicago)
  • The public event marks the conclusion of The NYUAD Art Gallery’s TRACE: Archives and Reunions series

The NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Art Gallery will conclude its TRACE: Archives and Reunions series on Tuesday, November 3, with a virtual gathering of six UAE arts organization founders. This marks the launch of the final exhibition archive, for their inaugural exhibition, On Site (2014).

The event brings together founders of six art organizations that grew up alongside the UAE’s museums, biennial, and art fairs. These founders include Jameel Arts Centre founder Antonia Carver, independent curator and co-founder of 101 Munira Al-Sayegh, Traffic and Satellite founder Rami Farook, Barjeel Art Foundation founder Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, and The Third Line co-founder Sunny Rahbar. The NYUAD Art Gallery’s Executive Director Maya Allison will co-moderate the discussion in collaboration with Associate Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Bana Kattan. The conversation will focus on their experiences founding, then and now, and how to identify where new organizations can make a difference.

Taking place on Tuesday, November 3 at 6pm GST, Tracing: The Beginning will take a new approach, asking the audience to be part of the discussion, on a shared screen. Together, the founders and the audience will explore questions such as “why found an arts organization?” and “what would we do differently now?” After an initial discussion, participants will break into smaller groups with a founder, before regrouping at the end of the workshop to share their ideas and findings.

The workshop will also mark the launch of an exhibition archive for The NYUAD’s inaugural exhibition, On Site. This is the tenth and final digital archive in the TRACE series. Opened in November 2014, On Site: The Inaugural Exhibition included work from UAE and international artists, and considered its site on the new campus of NYU Abu Dhabi. Through the digital archive, audiences will be given access to the brochure and photographs of the exhibition.

Reflecting on the series, Allison said: “We started this TRACE series in response to the COVID closure of exhibitions everywhere. It was an opportunity to bring together our community of artists and curators, with whom we’ve collaborated over the years in our past 11 exhibitions. Now we come to the end of this period of re-tracing our past, and I look forward to reflecting on our future, together with my colleagues.”

Allison continued: “When it opened in 2014, The NYUAD Art Gallery was not alone as a small art organization with a goal to foster a lively cultural sector. Others had opened in the decade prior, particularly creating a ripple-effect in Dubai and Sharjah, and now we see a similar effect in Abu


Dhabi. In 2005, the legendary Third Line Gallery struck out into the then-uncharted territory of Al Quoz in Dubai, pioneered by co-founders Sunny Rahbar, Claudia Cellini, and His Excellency Omar Saif Ghobash. Soon, Rami Farook established Traffic, and later Satellite. In Sharjah, Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi founded the Barjeel Art Foundation in 2010, next door to the Maraya Arts Center. In 2014, when we opened, Art Dubai was going strong with Antonia Carver (co-founder of Bidoun Magazine), but the Jameel Arts Centre, which she opened in 2018, was still a glimmer in her eye. And today, independent curator Munira Al-Sayegh and Ghaith Abdulla have co-founded 101, a new platform to support a sustainable and ethical art ecosystem. Meanwhile, the larger government institutions, foundations, and neighboring museums have blossomed, and now is a natural time to reflect, collectively, on where we, as visual arts organizations, can next focus our energies.”

Created as a response to the challenges brought about by COVID-19, the TRACE series has sought to allow people to revisit and explore The NYUAD Art Gallery’s past exhibitions. Previous digital exhibition archives can be accessed by the public on TRACE: Archives and Reunion’s page. For more information, please visit


Link to page: TRACE: Archives and Reunions
Exhibition: On Site: The Inaugural Exhibitions
Digital archive launch date: November 3
Tracing: The Beginning Tuesday, November 3 at 6pm GST
Free and open to the public

Location: Zoom

Register here

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