Works by Dutch-Iraqi artist Nedim Kufi in the stairway hall at the former location of the Salwa Zeidan gallery

Works by Dutch-Iraqi artist Nedim Kufi in the stairway hall at the former location of the gallery. Photo NeilvdL.

Out of an array of starting galleries of about five years ago, currently the Salwa Zeidan Gallery and the Ghaf Gallery are Abu Dhabi’s only two remaining privately run galleries for modern art, Salwa Zeidan’s gallery being the only fully commercial art gallery.

The Salwa Zeidan Gallery was first opened in Abu Dhabi in 1994 and, after a pause, reopened in 2009. It aims to serve as a contemporary art space and a platform for international and specifically Middle Eastern artists, and as an incubator for emerging talents from the UAE and the wider Gulf region. It had a stand in the Dubai Art Fair 2011, including works by Dutch-Iraqi artist Nedim Kufi and by Emirati artist Fatema Al Mazrouie, two of the artists prominently featured by the gallery. Furthermore, the gallery has works by Syrian poet Adunis and the Emirati artist Hassan Sharif. Another Emirati artist hosted by the gallery is Hassan Sharif.

However, despite Abu Dhabi’s ambitions in the arts, it is still not clear whether private commercial initiatives are fully viable in the city.

During Spring 2012, the gallery closed its venue next to the Ghaf gallery in the Khalidiya area and moved its offices to the Bein Al Jisrain area, with the intention finding a definite home on Saadyaat Island where all the new museums are being planned. Mrs Salwa Zeidan wrote us: “We are now operating from Mussafah, and most of our art works are being on display in our Villa in Bein Il Jisrain. We are doing solo exhibitions for our artists in Rocco Forte Abu Dhabi, we will take part in Art Abu Dhabi 2012, and meanwhile we are waiting for the construction to finish of a special place in Saadyat specially made for galleries.” Bein Al Jisrain is located between the Al Maqtaa Bridge and Al Mussaffah Bridge, an area that has been renamed as Al Maqtaa area.

The gallery will also participate in Art Abu Dhabi 2013.

The gallery organized the Abu Dhabi Sculpture Symposium in 2010.


Written by: Neil Last modified: 15th Aug 2013