Refugees as guests: Virtual UAE exhibition has fresh take

A new exhibition at the NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery departs from the depiction that boxes refugees as victims and explores a state of ‘refugeeness’.

A new approach looks at them as people living as guests in host countries, employing a wider interrogation of the condition of impermanence and displacement.

The exhibition, which will be available to view through the gallery’s fourth digital archives is titled ‘Permanent Temporariness’ and is part of its ‘Trace: Archives and Reunions’ initiative. The exhibition features seven installations and two artworks specially created for the show, providing audiences with new ways to engage with a timely and critical topic.

Launching on July 7 at 7.30pm, the exhibition was curated by Arab art historian and NYUAD faculty Salwa Mikdadi and the NYUAD Art Gallery’s former curator Bana Kattan. For this special Trace event, artists Hilal and Petti will reunite with Mikdadi, Kattan, and Executive Director of The NYUAD Art Gallery Maya Allison, to trace the exhibition from the origins of the various installations, to their re-staging at the NYUAD Art Gallery in 2018, to the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven in 2019.

Taking place via a Zoom webinar, the panellists will explore how the context changes the meaning and relevance of the exhibition, as well as its intention and message. In addition, the artists will talk about how the exhibition led to their latest publication of the same name, which accounts for 15 years of research and experimentation.

The exhibition is free and open to the public with the Zoom webinar details available on the NYU Art Gallery site.

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