16th December 2017

Events in Berlin: Portrait of a Nation, Berlin Art Week

Berlin has an eccentric character, with graffiti adorned walls, quirky corners and more artists displaying their craft along sidewalk than any other city I have been to. And when it’s Berlin Art Week, the city turns into a piece of art itself. All galleries step up their game and attempt to take a chunky slice of art-enthusiasts crowd.

This year, I had the pleasure of visiting Portrait of a Nation Art Exhibition, brought to Berlin by Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF). It featured works of almost 50 artists from the UAE, sharing stories from the desert to allow Germans a glimpse into the Emirati life.

I also attended the talk with the founder of ADMAF this weekend – Her Excellency Hoda Ibrahim Al Khamis Kanoo. Her grace and eloquence is aspirational. She has a degree in arts, has travelled across the world in pursuit of art, established a foundation to support local artists and spends considerable fortune in collecting masterpieces.

Art, like most things, has also undergone an evolution in last few decades, and when asked how have artists changed in last 40 years, she said: “a 20-something artist is fearless. He won’t think twice before throwing himself in an ocean for mere experience. There is an innate beauty is such courage.”

She also mentioned that diversity is what makes art beautiful and relatable. “Something (art) that speaks to me might not speak to you, and might mean nothing at all to another person. That’s the beauty of art,” she said.

Some of the pieces on display at Portrait of the Art Exhibition at me Collectors Room Berlin were truly precious, and might have borne a collector in me (not that I have bought anything, yet).

After the talk, Tarek Yamani took to stage with his crew and performed live for about 45 minutes. It was a beautiful performance, and Yamani’s piano skills left the audience in much-deserved awe.

There are a few more events planned for upcoming weeks as part of the 7-week long exhibition, and I am particular interested in the performance of world’s first Emirati spoken word artist Afra Atiq and talk by Karima Al Shomely, who speaks about her research into the Emirati burqa. You can check out the complete schedule here: https://www.museumsportal-berlin.de/en/exhibitions/portrait-of-a-nation/

Art needs to be supported in order to survive. Support them, buy if you can and spread the word about ones that touch your heart.

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