As the holy month of Ramadan approaches, Ghaf Gallery in Abu Dhabi is preparing for its fifth edition of the Ramadan Art Bazaar. The event is dedicated to encouraging people to purchase original artworks at more affordable prices.
The bazaar, curated by Sumayyah Al Suwaidi an Emirati digital artist, gathers both established and emerging artists living in the UAE to produce artworks, which then go on sale at a price that is not more than AED 4000.
‘This art exhibition is dedicated to all nationalities residing in the UAE, of all levels of income. I believe that every one of us has the right to own at least one piece no matter how big or small, it’s just a matter of helping people financially,’ says the passionate Al Suwaidi.
The Emirati artist who has exhibited in places such as Hong Kong, Berlin and New York explains that the idea of providing affordable art to the community first came about when she was strolling around the mall one Ramadan and encountered sales at the shops everywhere. ‘I thought to myself that if fashion brands can hold sales, what’s stopping us as artists from coming together and having an art sale.’
So far, the response to the previous art bazaars has been overwhelming and each year, ‘there are more visitors and more buyers’, according to the 30-year-old artist.
Once an artwork is sold, it is replaced by a new piece, thus encouraging people to come to back to the gallery for more.
This year, the bazaar will not only feature traditional paintings, but also digital artworks, photographs, sculptures and furniture pieces. Some of the exhibiting artists are renowned Emirati artists such as Jalal Luqman and Mattar bin Lahej, Jennifer Simon from the United Kingdom and Neena Rai from India.
Jalal Luqman who is also the founder of Ghaf Gallery will be showcasing his collection titled After The Silence. ‘The complete collection consists of more than 70 paintings, in which Luqman takes us through a mental journey through the most primitive feelings that are inside each one of us,’ says Al Suwaidi.
A key factor of the bazaar is the community-oriented environment in which it is held. ‘The setting is very informal and doesn’t make visitors feel like they are at an art gallery. Because Ramadan is a month of genorisity, it is a perfect time for artists to come together and bring their generosity forward to reduce the retail price of their artworks,’ adds Al Suwaidi.
In order to demonstrate Emirati traditions during Ramadan, the art bazaar will see iftar gatherings hosted by Ali Al Saloom, Emirati cultural commentator. Some of the exhibiting artists will also be present to meet and greet visitors to the bazaar and give them a tour of the exhibition, while explaining their artworks. The Ramadan Art Bazaar is a key highlight of the UAE’s Ramadan calendar.
Image 1: Ramadan Delight by artist Jennifer Simon