An Abdulqader Al Rais Retrospective Is Happening in Paris
Celebrating the pioneering Emirati artist
Sarah Ben Romdane
67-year-old award-winning Emirati artist Abdulqader Al Rais is recognized in his home country as a pioneer of contemporary Arab art. For the first time, an international retrospective at Paris’s l’Institut du Monde Arabe will celebrate the painter’s career as part of the institutions “year of French-Emirati cultural dialogue”.
Through a wide body of work that includes paintings and drawings, the exclusive exhibition will explore the artist’s style evolution from the 1960’s until today, as the diversity of his work reflects the profound transformations the region has been through in a matter decades.
Al Rais has long-been a passionate explorer. Firstly inspired by Kuwait’s artistic and literary renaissance movement, as well as more obscure historical references like the Palestinian refugee crisis, following the Six-Day war. Over time, Al Rais’ more realist work has gradually evolved into something more abstract. By ingeniously combining traditional and modern accents, Al Rais’ emblematic motifs, colours, shapes and spellbinding calligraphy translate the eclecticism and hybridity of his country and region.
“Throughout my career I have been committed to promoting the UAE’s creative scene, by putting a spotlight on our rich culture and sharing my pieces everywhere with the world. As this year marks the year of Zayed, I hope this retrospective will be an occasion for the visitors to discover our values of unity, tolerance and cultural diversity, which the founder of the UAE has highlighted through the arts”, says Al Rais.
For the first time, his piece entitled An Eternal Spring will be shown, paying tribute to the legacy of late Sheikh Zayed, as the UAE celebrates 100 years since his birth.
Retrospective Abdulqader Al Rais runs until October 21 at IMA in Paris.