Saadiyat: a new home is where the art is

By  Marie-Louise Olson www.thenational.ae

ABU DHABI // The Abu Dhabi Art Fair 2011 opened the doors of its new home to guests last night in a lavish event.

The opening attracted aficionados and connoisseurs from around the world to Saadiyat Island to peruse the 50 galleries spread across the two floors of the UAE Pavilion.

This is the first time the event has being held at the Manarat Al Saadiyat art exhibition centre. For the past two years it has been held at the Emirates Palace hotel.

Galleries presented a cross-section of art from New York to London, including a work by Alexander Calder in the Edward Tyler Neham Gallery, which greeted visitors when they entered the pavilion.

It has been a long 11 months and hectic past four days, but organisers of the Fair 2011 were able to breathe a huge sigh of relief as the UAE Pavilion opened on time.

The pavilion, designed by Foster+Partners, was the night’s main attraction.

The dune-shaped structure, originally designed for the Shanghai World Expo 2010, was relocated to the UAE in more than 24,000 parts to be re-assembled within 11 months.

“I was so interested to see the UAE Pavilion because I think it’s amazing it came all the way from Shanghai to here,” said Hind Balfaqeh, an Emirati art buff. “It is really impressive. I am a big art fan, so I’m happy to be here.”

The gallery owner Salwa Zeidan said the pavilion was “just pieces on the ground” a few weeks ago.

“What you see now was done in the past four days,” Ms Zeidan said. “It’s really amazing. People were questioning whether it would be done on time or not, but they have done a miraculous work.” More info

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