Maya Allison is founding Executive Director of The NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery and Chief Curator at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), a degree-granting research university in the liberal arts tradition. NYUAD shapes its scholarly and creative endeavors through an intercultural and multidisciplinary lens. The university has a deep commitment to support the work of UAE artists, and will launch an MFA program next year. Here, The NYUAD Art Gallery connects disciplines and integrates global and local dialogues in its exhibitions both in the main gallery, and the Project Space, as well as supporting emerging artists with the annual Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award.
Allison’s curatorial specializations intersect two areas: artistic communities, and installation art. Her most recent project, Speculative Landscapes (NYUAD Art Gallery, 2019) gathered four rising UAE-based artists who work in immersive, experimental installation. Her curatorial projects that included book-length publications include Slavs and Tatars: Mirrors for Princes (Curator, JRP Ringier/NYUAD Art Gallery, 2015), Diana Al-Hadid: Phantom Limb (Curator, Skira / NYUAD Art Gallery, 2016), But We Cannot See Them: Tracing a UAE Art Community, 1988-2008 (Lead Curator, NYUAD Art Gallery, 2017), and Zimoun (Curator, NYUAD Art Gallery, 2019).
Outside the university, she has guest-curated a number of projects in the UAE, including Artists and the Cultural Foundation: The Early Years (Lead Curator, with book publication, Cultural Foundation Abu Dhabi, 2018), a 30-year survey of 18 UAE artists.
Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim (b. 1962, UAE) is part of the UAE’s first generation of contemporary artists from the late 1980s, an avant-garde scene that included Hassan Sharif, Abdullah Al Saadi, Hussein Sharif, and Mohammed Kazem.
Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim came of age as an artist in the UAE in an era in which the visual arts were still nascent as a recognized discipline. In 1986, when he met the late artist Hassan Sharif (a founding member of the influential Emirates Fine Art Society), Ibrahim was pulled out of his secluded practice and went on to carve out unshakable friendships and collaborations that have formed the foundation for the creative community that defines the UAE today.
He received the first prize for sculpture at the Sharjah Biennial in 1999 and 2001 and has been a member of the Emirates Fine Arts Society since 1986, founding Art Atelier at the Khor Fakkan Art Centre in 1997. He has participated in artist residencies at Trans Indian Ocean Artist Exchange, Kochi Murzi Biennale, India (2016); A.i.R Dubai (2015); Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2009) and Kunstcentrum Sittard, the Netherlands (1994-1996, 1998-2000).
His works have been acquired by significant international collections, including Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah; Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah; Art Jameel Collection, Dubai; Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah; Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha; Kunstcentrum Sittard, Sittard; The British Museum, London; and Le Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.
Ibrahim works and lives in Khor Fakkan, United Arab Emirates.
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