25 September – 21 October 2018

As part of the French-Emirati cultural dialogue 2018, Dubai Culture is presenting the first major retrospective in France of the Emirati painter Abdulqader Al Rais at the Institut du monde arabe, on view through 21 October 2018.


Through a selection of more than 50 artworks, the exhibition unveils the eclectism and richness of the Emirati painter’s style and provides a comprehensive overview of his prolific career. It follows Al Rais’ intriguing journey, starting with his earliest works from the 1960s produced in Kuwait and concluding with his latest canvases executed specifically for this retrospective exhibition.

To say that life and art are akin by all means would be an understatement for Al Rais. As every artwork executed by this unparalleled pioneer is a concrete witness to the profound geopolitical and cultural upheavals that the United Arab Emirates has underwent since the 1960s. Indeed, the country passed from a fishing-based economy to one of the richest regions in the world. Al Rais transmutes these transformations into an aesthetic language by coalescing heritage with modernity, calligraphy with geometric abstraction and geopolitical reality with architectural details.


“Throughout my career, I have devoted myself to strengthening the UAE’s creative scene and highlighting our rich culture by sharing my art with the world. The upcoming Paris retrospective is a major new milestone in this journey and I would like to express my gratitude to Dubai Culture for organizing the exhibition at the Arab World Institute in Paris. I am particularly proud that the exhibition will take place during the ‘Year of Zayed’ and I hope it will be an opportunity for visitors to discover the unity, tolerance and multi-culturalism that he advocated through the arts.” explains the artist.


Furthermore, the exhibition also reflects the strong political and cultural ties between France and the UAE. The two countries are particularly closed as the UAE is celebrating the 100th birthday of Cheikh Zayed, the Founder of the contemporary Emirati nation, and a friend of France.

This proximity has been highlighted by the director of Dubai Culture, his Excellency Abdul Rahman Ben Mohamed Al Owais who places the exhibition in a wider context of diplomatic relations and a privileged strategic partnership between the two countries: “ By supporting the ‘2018 French-Emirati Cultural Dialogue’ and ‘Year of Zayed’ initiatives, we at Dubai Culture are committed to upholding the diplomatic legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan by strengthening our nation’s long-lasting friendship and close cultural ties with France. This complements the Authority’s ongoing efforts to build cultural cooperation as a means of promoting the arts and culture scene of Dubai internationally. Additionally, such an effort will broaden the understanding of the UAE’s culture around the world and will consolidate relations with embassies at a regional and global level.”





The exhibition is on view through October 21, 2018, at the Institut du monde arabe, 1 Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard, 75005 Paris, France

  • Dubai Culture will schedule a series of talks and workshops to take place during the opening week of the exhibition in the Arab World Institute

For more details, visit: www.dubaiculture.gov.ae