Abu Dhabi Art 2021: Abu Dhabi Art 2021

Manarat Alsaadiyat, Nov 17 - 21, 2021 
M12 15:00-21:00 https://www.abudhabiart.ae/

 Wadi Finan Art Gallery to showcase four leading Jordanian artists

at Abu Dhabi Art Fair 2021

Amman art hub plans exciting display of local art for emirate’s popular November event


Wadi Finan Art Gallery is delighted to announce that it will be showcasing the work of four renowned Jordanian artists at Abu Dhabi Art Fair 2021 in November, namely: Mohanna Durra; Wijdan; Hind Nasser; and Ufemia Rizk.

The gallery is a regular participant at the Emirate’s fair, which takes place at Manarat Al Saadiyat, from Wednesday November 17 to Sunday 21 November 2021.


Mohanna Durra (1938 – 2021)

A pioneer of the Jordanian Arts Movement and cultural icon Mohanna Durra was a renowned artist and highly regarded educator, credited with introducing abstraction, cubism and expressionism to the country’s art scene.

Born in downtown Amman in 1938 to a Lebanese father and Turkish mother, Durra initially studied art with the Russian Orientalist painter George Aleef, after his parents recognised his talent for drawing and sought tuition for him at an early age. With Aleef, Durra learnt the basics of watercolour, drawing and painting. He also studied under the Dutch painter William Hallowin, who introduced him to Rembrandt. In 1954, Durra travelled to Rome to attend the Academy of Fine Arts, becoming the first Jordanian to receive a formal art education in the process. After graduating, Durra returned to Amman to teach history of art at the Teachers’ Training College. A prominent advocate of art education, he went on to set up the Fine Arts Section at the Department of Culture and Art, Amman and the Jordan Institute of Fine Arts, while also opening an art studio where he taught students, several of whom have gone on to have successful careers.

Durra began experimenting with abstraction and cubism during time spent in Rome during a return visit there in the 1960s in a development that marked a move away from figurative art. His abstract works are created in oil and characterised by overlapping, bold colour in contrasting shades, from majestic rich red and gold hues to shades of browns with nature at their core, which bring signature dynamism and depth to the canvas. Alongside seminal examples of his abstract works, Wadi Finan is delighted to present in Abu Dhabi several of Durra’s poignant and expressive portraits which take Jordan’s rich heritage as their inspiration and are created in charcoal, oil and acrylic on card.

Durra’s talent brought him extensive critical acclaim and commercial success during his career, as evidenced by the numerous solo exhibitions held across Europe, the US and the Arab region. His work can be found in several prestigious national and international collections, including those of the Vatican, the Imperial Court of Japan, the President of the Philippines and the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, among others.

Durra also served as a diplomat and was the recipient of several national and international awards. In November 2006, the Ministry of Culture named an art gallery in his honour and two years later, he was awarded the Distinction of Al-Hussein Decoration from his Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan (First Order).

Durra died in early 2021.


Wijdan (b. 1939)

Widjan is an artist, art historian, academic and diplomat, while also gaining a BA in History from the Beirut College for Women – today the Lebanese American University – graduating in 1961. She later undertook postgraduate studies in Islamic art at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London (1993) and was made a fellow of the institution in 2010. A cultural pioneer, Widjan set up the Royal Society of Fine Arts in 1979, which led to the launch of the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts the following year. She went on to establish the Higher Institute of Islamic Art and Architecture at Al Al-Beit University in Jordan in 1993 and then, in 2002, set up the Faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Jordan. A prolific writer, Widjan is credited with being the first scholar to write the history of modern and contemporary Islamic art (1987) and continues to write and work today.

A painter and sculptor, Widjan is known for reviving the traditions of Islamic art, which she then melds with Western motifs or touches and other contemporary concepts. Her often abstract paintings are characterised by calligraphic elements, set against a backdrop created in delicate, luminous colours.

Widjan is the recipient of several awards, including the Al-Hussein bin Talal Gold Medal for Artistic Achievement, which she received in 1995, and the Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France (1987). Her work has been shown extensively, including at solo exhibitions in Jordan, Italy, the UAE, Oman, the UK, Spain, the US and Germany, and features in several prestigious collections, ranging from the British Museum, London, UK to the National Gallery, Islamabad, Pakistan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jordan.



Hind Nasser (b. 1940)

Hind Nasser was born in Amman and studied at the Beirut College for Women – now the Lebanese American University – graduating with a BA in History and Politics in 1961. An artist, teacher and patron of the arts, Nasser initially studied painting in Jordan under the Turkish artist Fahrelnissa Zeid, who introduced her to the world of abstract art.

Nasser’s work has an ethereal, dream-like quality, taking the viewer on a fantastical journey into a world of contrasts, from interior versus exterior landscapes to vibrant colours pitted against the light. Dynamic, swirling movements give her work strength, liveliness and an otherworldly feel.

Aside from being a talented artist, Nasser was a passionate cultural activist who set out on a mission to drive forward the development of Jordan’s cultural scene, using her acquired marketing skills to make her endeavors a success. Her achievements include setting up the alumnae club of her college and a children’s club for the arts. She also oversaw the launch of the Jordan Crafts Council, including its marketing arm promoting local crafts, and established the Jordan lkebana group dedicated to flower-arranging. Nasser went on to launch her own gallery, named Gallery 14.

Her work has featured in solo and group shows locally and internationally, with exhibitions held in Jordan, Dubai, Lebanon, the UK, Italy and the US, among others, and can be found in several key collections.


Ufemia Rizk (b. 1943)

An award-winning artist, Ufemia Rizk was born in Jaffa and studied art at the Fahrelnissa Zeid Royal Institute of Fine Arts, as well as at the American University in Beirut. She also attended the Sorbonne University in Paris.

More recently, she furthered her studies in sculpture, printmaking, graphic design, computer imaging technology and webpage design at Dawson College in Montreal, where she now lives.

Rizk uses geometric abstractions to take audiences on an intriguing journey in her work, navigating the mysteries of the universe on canvas with brush and colour. Swirling, spherical and circular shapes often hover against a backdrop that reminds us of the captivating power, strength and size of the cosmos.

Rizk is the recipient of several awards in France and Japan, including the Oscar with Gold Medal at the World Biennale of Modern Art, Lyon, France (1984).

Her work has been shown extensively, featuring in exhibitions in Jordan, France, the UAE, Japan, Canada and Switzerland, among others. It is also on permanent show in prestigious art spaces, museums and private collections.


About Wadi Finan Art Gallery

Wadi Finan Art Gallery has established itself as a major international cultural vehicle for Middle Eastern visual arts since opening in Amman, Jordan in 2008. It provides renowned contemporary local and regional artists, working in various media, with a global platform.

Bringing an attractive and complementary contemporary aspect to its surrounding heritage, it has carved a niche as an important cultural hub, hosting public exhibitions and workshops, while also spearheading special community collaborations, including art therapy projects. Wadi Finan regularly participates in high-profile international art events that are regular features on the cultural calendar, including the Abu Dhabi Art Fair.


 About Abu Dhabi Art Fair

The 2021 edition of the Abu Dhabi Art Fair will be held at Manarat Al Saadiyat, from Wednesday November 17 to Sunday 21 November 2021, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office.
A regular and highly regarded event in the annual art diary, the Abu Dhabi Art Fair is the culmination of the emirate’s year-round visual arts programme, gathering together local and international galleries to showcase the works of an exciting mix of emerging and established artists in an attractive space. Attendees will also find exhibitions, commissions and installations running concurrently across the emirate. Galleries taking part at this year’s edition have either been invited by the guest curators or are previous participants. This year’s curators are: Simon Njami; Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath; Rose Lejeune; and Roxane Zand.