Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Serving and Savouring a Sadya : Indian community dining in its complete spirit

Today I received an sms message asking me to book Vishu sadya and Vishu kani for an affordable amount in the UAE by contacting the given number. And that is how I thought I must amuse myself with this write-up on cooking up a sadya in one's own kitchen no matter how busy you are and how extensive the sadya items seem!

With the great Malayali festival Vishu coming this weekend, the mouth-watering feast or sadya is sure to be eagerly anticipated by anyone who has experienced the grand spread.
A sadya is a traditional feast from Kerala that marks the celebration and is a careful mixture of foods that optimises taste and the health benefits of the dishes.

Ayurveda classifies foods into genres — hot and cold — and designates a time in the day for every kind of food to be eaten.

In traditional households where they adhere to ayurvedic norms, sadyas do not feature non-vegetarian items, as mixing dairy and meat produces harmful toxins in the gut that can result in various ailments, ranging from skin conditions to malfunctioning of organs and nervous system in the long term.

Food is served on green plantain leaf, which when scarred by your nails as you scoop up the dish helps add fresh chlorophyll to your diet, which is highly beneficial for health.
Thottukoottan (those that you touch with finger tips and savour) items are readied two days prior to sadya. Manga curry (mango pickle), Inji curry (ginger relish) and vella naranga curry (white lime pickle) Tcha! ♡

The basic sadya is supposed to stand true as a feast and have every form of food produced in the state — fruits, vegetables, roots/yams, gourds, grains, seeds and dairy. Sadya will have a mixture of fresh and cooked ingredients of every texture — solid, liquid, semi liquid — covering a spectrum of taste — salt, sweet, sour, bitter and spicy. Sadya is served with warm cumin water, which helps digestion.
The big sadya lesson I have learned is that no matter how busy life is, a little planning can do wonders. We lead a work-centric life in the UAE, and many of us are pressed for time after office hours to cook even a simple dinner, so to dare to prepare an sadya spread can seem a challenge. But the good news is that it is not impossible, or expensive.
If you are open to microwave cooking and not too fussy about the traditional procedures that vary across the 14 districts of Kerala, a good sadya can be prepared, even after work or on a working week. But I must confess I threw away my microwave few years back and have understood that with effective planning you will not miss a microwave. 
Luckily for those who celebrate, this time it is on a Friday! UAE's weekend!
Fresh coconut and coconut oil, mustard seeds and curry leaves are must-haves in most Kerala recipe, and plantain leaves are to be used as plates. Start from left to right on the top half of a horizontally laid plantain leaf with the narrow end to your left and serve the dishes in order.
A typical Onasadya comprises the following items from left to right on the leaf: 1) injicurry/ginger relish; 2) narangacurry/white lemon pickle; 3) mangacurry/red hot mango pickle; 4) pachadi/cucumber raita; 5) red beetroot kichadi or white sweet pineapple raita; 6) mezhukkuvaratti/banana-corm-runner beans fry; 7) aviyal/mixed vegetables, made by cooking slender long pieces of corm, banana, drumstick, brinjal, cluster beans, cucumber and ash gourd cooked in a rough gravy of coconut ground with cumin, turmeric, tamarind and garnished with raw coconut oil as well as crushed curry leaves.
Then there is 8) olan/stewed red beans and ash gourd in coconut milk and 9) kalan/thick curd and half-ripe banana stew on the upper half of the plantain leaf. The lower half of the leaf is to be spread with the following dishes, again staring from left to right; 10) upperi/banana wafers; 11) chakkaravaratti/fried banana chunks tossed in jaggery; 12) pappadums, 13) poovan banana fruit. These items are to be confined to the one third of the lower half of the leaf.
The 14) rice, is to be mixed and eaten in courses with 15) paruppu/boiled lentils with a spoon of warm ghee; 16) sambar (the popular fiery dish); 17) pulissery/buttermilk soup; 18) rasam/lentil soup; 19) mor/seasoned buttermilk and finally — 20) adaprathaman/brown kheer made of flat bits of rice dough cooked and mixed with jaggery and coconut milk, flavoured with cardamom powder and garnished with fried cashew nuts, kismis and copra/dried coconut bits.
Of the above dishes, I’d advise you to buy and prepare in advance items one to three and 10 to 13, which will keep well. On the previous day prepare items 9, 17 to 19. And finally on the D-day (or V-day cos it is Vishu ;)) cook items four to eight, 14 to 16, and 20.
Vishu Sadya 2016
***The joy of community dining***

What is community? A place where everyone can find a place, whatever their outlook and beliefs may be. There is an explicit connection between food and love, according to Jean Vanier, in his book Community and Growth. The time when the joy of eating and drinking merge with the joy of meeting people - is a marvellous human moment.

Nourishing this space from where we can create our best work, our best life and share the joy with others is simply brilliant! This is possible when we acknowledge that it is in the stillness of this space where it all happens. This space where all creative expression, peace, light, and love come together is powerfully energising and renders a calming experience. I thank our loved ones for continously helping us deliver our bests.

This Friday, on April 15, 2016 we arranged a Vishu sadya for 23 of our close friends in the UAE. They are truly kind souls who express love in ways I may fail to explain with my limited vocabulary here. I was swamped by help from every direction on the day of the sadya. While I was busy with the chores that belong to the 11th hour - checking and ticking off the list for items that need to go on the leaf - suddenly felt a sense of inexplicable calm taking over me. I noticed that all around me, everybody was finding chores to do, and they were all happily filling in/flowing out magically... from our kitchen to every corner of our home. I was not even sure if I had anything more to do. I felt lucky to savour the joy of happy people busy doing their kind gestures. I was instantly satiated! My heart was lighter and full... and now I was seated too... with 28 items making one after the other to the bight green banana leaf... it was time to savour it along with all this joyous company!

I love sadya!!

Thank you for staying blissful in your abundance and spreading this weightless emotion among your loved ones and beyond. <3
Happy Vishu!
PS: If you missed the Vishu sadya, not to worry... with LuLu around any day can be a sadya day if you are in for some extra action! And follow Blukitchen to stay inspired all year round as well as get some key sadya recipes for free!!

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Rainbow of Chaos

In all chaos is the cosmos. There is a secret order in all disorder. Claude Habib's Chaos Mist, is not just an art solo... it is a slice of her soul! Your soul! Only if you look deep enough to listen to the silence. The chaotic silence. That which speaks with with objects tied and nailed, stung and hung, smeared and pulled, to tell the story in more than one chaotic ways.

We are living in an era where everything has simplified itself beyond recognition with the help of fundamental principles, symbols or emojis. This peculiarity of our time, which is certainly not of our conscious choosing, is the expression of the unconscious man within us who is changing. How responsible is our generation in taking account of this momentous transformation of humanity. Will it destroy itself through the might of its own technology and science as evolution is unstoppable? What until then?


"We are because of the chaos. Everything is from chaos. You, me everyone around us come from and are chaos," says C. Habib.

Here are some pictures from last evening's opening.

Beautiful winter night sky over Paris-Sorbonne Abu Dhabi

 C.Habib's solo art show titled Chaos Mist will show until February 20, 2016

Chaos Mist: The artist represents the disorder of order and the cries of calm, in a number of philosophical mixed media artworks that show a complex system with an unpredictable behaviour as to appear random, owing to great sensitivity to small changes in the inner soul conditions.

Certainty? or Freedom?: White plastic Mask

Goal: This one is my personal favourite... I happened to see brain and spinal chord... all twisted and propped. Almost yelling out that 'you need to shovel out that which lies beneath to reach your goals'.

Water Under The Bridge: She used to hate this but has simply come to accept it.

Untitled: "Sensitivity of tiny changes in initial conditions or seemingly random and unpredictable behaviour that nevertheless follow precise rules appears in many of the models in these disciplines."

Visitors at the venue

Unfinished Painting: "Taking a step forward into nothing and it's just as I am about to fall, support rises miraculously beneath me."


Bluvian moment with Claude Habib, founder of La Parole Art Gallery that was established in 2009. She is a Philosophy graduate with higher education in Painting and Drawing from University of Fine Arts in Beirut. She also has a distinction and certificate in History of Art from the Paris Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi.

C. Habib plants a brilliant new feather in Abu Dhabi's art cap! 

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

‘Enough with Praise and Clapping’

There is much interest internationally on what is going in the UAE's art scene... the West as well as East currently seem to have no direction else to look at right now! This is one of the most memorable interviews I had this year... and of much relevance what I just mentioned... hence sharing it on my blog.

The interview was published the The Boutique Magazine, an independent home grown Emirati magazine that talks about art and design among other topics of aesthetic relevance.  Posting the text below for a closer read:

Interview by Archana RD aka B’lu, an artist-journalist based in the UAE who writes on global art and culture

The Citizen E Art Gallery curator, and one of the most important voices in the UAE's art scene, Jalal Luqman reflects on what lies beneath the 'Art of Word' exhibition

Q. Why the ‘Art of the word’? Please spill the inspiration to the event title and lead us to any current/news relevant events that have had an impact. 

A. When we look at letters regardless of what language or what alphabet they relate to, we get drawn to the phonetic association of the letter, but there is more to it. If we look at letters, or words as images, lines, dots, curves and streaks then we admire the visual element of it. The way a Chinese letter or word may appear to a Chinese is different than an Indian who does not know how to read Chinese, so the Indian enjoys the visual element of the Chinese word, and vice versa.

Q. Could you visualize Citizen E Gallery to become a museum of the UAE through all ages?   

A. No, Citizen E’s function is not that of a museum, Citizen E is an art gallery with an open mind, we work with the established artists, while we support the newcomers who want to learn, we listen when no one else wants to listen and we help when others are to up in the sky to help the small person.  

Q. How would you curate a show that consisted of the peculiar nature of design as the central focus of the art?  

A. If we take the titles away, and we do not pigeonhole practices we will fail to find any difference between art and design. There is no clear definition of art. Also what is design? Is it art with function? So do we mean art has no function? I don’t waste my time categorising the function. I see the raw act of creating and dreaming, regardless of the materials that are used, or what the function of the resulting work is. So in short the answer to your question is - letters and words are neither design nor art, it is the artist or designer who transform the letter or the word to something else.
Q. What do you consider to be your most successful shows from the previous experience? How do you measure success?  

A. Success as a curator or a gallery is the amount of exposure the artist gets, and how much of that exposure translates into sale. Artists like all other humans need money to survive. Enough with the praise and the clapping. So to me one form of success is when we have an exhibition where there are sales. Another more philosophical politically correct answer would be, to consider the exhibition a success if the message in the artwork helps improve the surrounding environment, helps enrich the viewer and to elevate the art and culture society.

Q. Is there a natural connection between calligraphy and the art of the land? 

A. Remember way before language was ever created humans communicated through drawings; they kept historical record of their travels, their lives and their hunting parties, so yes calligraphy in my opinion is closely related to the people of every land. 

Q. Have the ‘general public’ really had as much contemporary art as they can bear in the UAE?  

A. Building an appreciation for art in the UAE is going to take a long time, however attracting the international art love to the UAE will take much less time. There is never enough contemporary art in the UAE, and as long as humankind walks the earth, there will always be contemporary art. And the more the UAE attracts it, eventually the general public will get used to it and grow to learn about it and appreciate it.  

Q. Has the development of the emirate helped you in collecting or exhibiting? 
A. Well as an artist who started before the art revolution of the UAE I believe I had my share of publicity locally and internationally, as a gallery it is great because after a long track record as an artist my gallery gets credibility based on my past experience.   

Q. What was the process of curating the current exhibition – please run us through the story – how the idea came about? Please share if there were any special memorable episodes this time. 

A. It was very simple. I was planning to have a calligraphy exhibition, then I noticed that some of the hardcore calligraphers were too confined to the proper rules and regulations associated with their art, this automatically alienated many artists who produced beautiful artwork which had calligraphic qualities yet did not conform to any rules (very similar to my approach to art, rules and being 'proper'), so I did away with the rules and opened it to anything with a word or a letter of any language and every culture, and the Art of the Word was born.   

Q. Is there a future for such exhibitions?  

A. If we count the applications we received, then yes. They did not stop pouring - I had to stop accepting them very soon after I announced it. However, we are yet to see the viewer’s opinion and that will be known after the opening night.   

Q. How much influence has grass root local history/art movements contributed to your themes and new displays?   

A. I stand at the crossroads of time, I saw the past, I see what is happening now, and based on where I have been and where I am, I have an idea of where we are going, and this is the reason I give particular attention the locally grown artists. When I say the locally grown I mean all artists who are in the UAE, who grew here and became Artists on Emirati soil, because they are the ones who are the true historians of the land, they are the ones who’s art will tell a true story of what happened here hundreds of years from now, yet in this new art revolution where only the new and the foreign is appreciated the locally grown talent will be left behind unless people like me have their back. 

Q. Do you ever get negative reactions to art in show?  How do you counter art criticism?
A. When one has spent as much time as I have in the field, you learn to pay attention to who and what is important, remember every person has an opinion, I don’t have time to listen to negativity - life is too beautiful to waste.  

Q. When you programme your titles, what informs the connection between the collections and topic?    
A. I just keep it simple, something that everyone can understand and relate to.  

Q. When people read Citizen E brand name, do they too often think only of Emirati? Was this challenging?  

A. Not at all, E can stand for Everything on Earth, Emirati or European, you make the E what Ever you want it to be

Q. What’s next project in the pipeline?  
A. To bring back Jalal’s Art Trip in 2017.

Q. What would be your ideal in-gallery photography policy? How much value do you give/associate to photo publicity/campaigns to art events.

A. We are surrounded by snapping pictures and videos, our brains have become accustomed to receiving thousands of images a day, unlike the old days, now we see much more visual garbage that for us to pay attention to what is important swiftly gets buried in our brain by a new pile of visual garbage. My ideal photography policy would be to look at the art and not take a picture of it for at least 15 minutes before you reach for your smart phone to click a picture of it. Teach your memory to preserve the image of the artwork, then after you are done you are allowed to snap away.

PS: Thank you for reading and staying inspired in art all around you!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

While You Are Sleeping

That is the title of this work here below. It is showing at an art exhibition titled “Realism: Two Angles” in Abu Dhabi. 

In this interview, visiting Crimean artists Katerina Spirtus and Andrey Dudchenko, the duo behind “Realism: Two Angles” spill their mind. Katerina mentions the challenges of an artist mother, while Andrey tells how money helps you stay inspired in life. 

Katerina's works reflect occupied Crimea's affected psyche in all areas of life, whereas Andrey's interests perhaps are those... snatched away and approximated moments of fickle life, watching beyond the object’s limits, the tale without words. He attains through his frames a state when the object stops being itself. It becomes the certain abstract physical form, attractive and trembling... the results can be compared to a visual extraction of meditation. His inputs pushes the viewer to a state of inviolability, making the time to stop.

Emerging Crimean artists Katerina Spirtus and Andrey Dudchenko at the opening of their show Realism: Two Angles in Abu Dhabi

Visitors at N2N Gallery in Nation Towers, Abu Dhabi
One of Andrey's works from show. The artist loves the works of Middle Eastern art scene's
emerging Syrian artists Houma Al Sayed and Tammam Azzam.
The visiting artists with Natalya Muzaleva, Founder and Artistic Director of N2N Gallery. The gallery is actively striving to bridge Abu Dhabi to the vibrant and emerging art scene of the Eastern Europe. 

Selected excerpts of the Q&A

Describe yourself in 100 words

Katerina: I have always been interested in art. When I was six I started going in art, so I have been an artist all my life. I like discovering the world and to learn new thing, especially something that I have not done before, like skating or even playing on a piano. I like people so much, they make me fell alive and push me do my art. There is a miracle in my life - my daughter Eve who does not let me stay in one place and who makes me change and grow. After her birth, my paintings are filled with completely different content - they have more peace and wisdom.

(Adds) In my opinion, being a mother and an artist is very difficult task.

Andrey: I am man of creativity and my whole life is about art. My father was an artist and I grew up in an artistic environment surrounded by talented people, so there was no other way for me than to become an artist.
Most of the time I spend deciding on what I should paint. However, once is done decide on my subject, nothing can stop me. Every time I paint, I fall in love with my work. However once it is done I fall in love with the next one. The world is full of interesting things, and it is hard for me to limit myself.

How did you meet each other?
Katerina: We attended the same Art Academy, where we met and fell in love at the age of 17.  We have never been apart ever since; we travel and paint together. Andrey is my support and my inspiration.

What is your future plan?
Katerina: This is the first time that we are visiting the United Arab Emirates and the first thing I am going to do, when I go back home is to express all these new impressions on the canvas.

Andrey: My future plan is a new series of works. I have also been inspired by this incredible country.
How did the UAE exhibition happen and how is it going?

Katerina and AndreyEverything happened thanks to the gallery. The gallery management discovered us and invited us to exhibit our works at Abu Dhabi. The opening night was very nice, with a lot of people from different cultures, with different interests. We felt a strong response to our work. We are deeply honoured to see that people are interested in our work.

What motivates your individual style?

Andrey: The nature and everything around me can get me inspired. The most important thing is to find the form, the image that fit my current mood.

Katerina: People! I like and appreciate all people who coming to my life. They influenced me and in turn I get my inspiration from them. In difficult moments jus a few friendly words are enough to make me take the brush.

Who are your icons and why?

Andrey: In my opinion there is the only one answer possible: the God.

One living person you like to thank

Katerina: I am grateful to my mother and grandmother, who have supported me and still keep supporting me in my endeavours and successes.

Andrey: My father. I was attracted to the fine arts thanks to him. He was and still is my first teacher and my biggest support throughout my career.

Message to aspiring artist

Andrey: The most important thing is to stay focused, to analyze and think. You need to find some expression, the main idea you want to depict through your work. Style will be gradually develop itself through practice.

Katerina: To be a hardworker, not to be lazy. The more you work, the more you think, and the more quality you reach in your work.

Who is your favourite art teacher and why.

Katerina: I’ve had many teachers, and all of them were very talented. They all played an important role in my process of establishing myself as an artist. My most important would probably have to be Professor Michael Guida, a world-renowned artist. He was my main guide in learning the art of portrait painting, and I have learned a lot from him.

Andrey: This would have to be my father, first of all. As I have already mentioned he was my first teacher, and he took the most important role in my artistic path. I have also been learning from well-known artists such are Titian, Greco, Rembrandt.

Most inspiring Middle Eastern artist.

Katerina: The Middle East has offered a particularly unique art to the world which is excellent in its kind. I honestly admire the unique art and tradition of this region. It is very hard to pick only one artist, but if I had to, that would have to be an astonishing Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian.

Andrey: I really appreciate the works of young Syrian artists Houma Al Sayed and Tammam Azzam.

Most inspiring modern contemporary artist

Katerina: Only one name comes to mind: Alexandr Gnilickiy. In order to understand why, just take a look his work.

Andrey: There are many very talented artists all over the world and each country has their own brilliant contemporary artists. That is why is difficult for me to choose only one.

Most inspiring realist artist 

Katerina: I am in love with works Andrew White. He is the master of realism.

Andrey: I have to say that I am not a fan of realism in its purest form. I do adore the works of the American modernist artist Georgia O’Keeffe. She is a part of school of realism, but at the same time her art cannot be considered as direct realism.

Your favourite place to live and work.

Katerina and Andrey (in one voice): Crimea! It is a beautiful place, our homeland and the place where we grew up. It is the place we understand the best and love the most.

What does money mean to you

Andrey: Money is a tool to achieve our independence and to allow our children to build a financially-sound future.

Katerina: I absolutely agree (to Andrey).

What do you think of UAE's art scene.

Andrey: This scene is recognised all over the world for its rapid and dynamic development. We are particularly impressed by the wisdom of its leaders of this country who recognised the economic potential of cultural tourism. They were able to position the UAE on the global art map and surely this position will be even more important in the future.

What do you aim to achieve through workshops in Abu Dhabi

Katerina:  My expectation was to get a new experience and new emotions by teaching a different group of aspiring artist. And I definitely got what I had wanted. First of all, I was pleased by the number of students, and how they were grateful for learning new things and persistent in the learning process.

For more details contact the gallery:
Mobile: +971 50 594 0794
Tel: +971 2 665 9858

The two artists, who are partners in art and love, base their artistic expression in realism, which they interpret in a different way, both iconographically and stylistically. Still, their individual poetics are connected into a common endeavour to achieve a new kind of idealised subjective realism. These similarities and differences will be the backbone of the exhibition setting. The show opened on November 24 at N2N Gallery at Nation Towers, Abu Dhabi. The exhibition will run until January 10, 2017.

Season's best wishes. Thank you for staying inspired in art all around you!

- B'lu

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Gu's Goo - Bananas Are Art!

Those who visited the Abu Dhabi Art may wonder if UAE is taking over the world's banana business. I was going bananas to find another title for this edition of this much anticipated annual art fair that brought amazing art to this part of the world. The venue was just about 20 minutes drive from my studio and home, and there was no way I could have let those bananas rot without once being seen around them with my camera too!

Abu Dhabi Art took place at Manarat AL Saadiyat from November 16-19. There were some brilliant art and lot of food for thought... including lot of Bananas of course!

Gu Dexin, an influential artist from Beijing, whose work consists of thousands of fresh bananas arranged on the floor in a precise rectangle, marked out by urns set on marble pedestals. Visitors were invited to take a banana, eat it, and throw the skin into one of the urns. On the third day of the event as anticipated - the bright yellow fruit turned into a mass of rotting organic rubbish... with onlookers like fruit flies still all over the 'art work' taking their selfies. Gu's goo! Never mind what I call it. Gu impresses anyone who takes a peep at the statement printed and presented near the work (and I have got it below - don't forget to read it). Dexin has achieved global acclaim for his use of perishable materials as a statement about his pessimistic view of humanity. He does not title any of his pieces, which is a reflection of their ephemeral nature but the banana installation is called 'Gateway'. This presentation is curated by Alexandra Munroe, a prominent curator of Asian art and senior adviser of global arts at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum and Foundation.

Scroll down to see the rest of the show... pictures may tell a million words but then don't skip the captions... they are often more than what may spring out of our head as thought bubbles:

Geitani Bassam_Unfold_Mixed Media on Canvas. Profoundly inflected by specific theoretical endeavors, Bassam Geinati's work, spanning across different symbolic orders and layers of representation, is an on-going investigation of materiality and surface. The is artist is born and based in Beirut. Studied art and lived in Paris for 14 years.
Born in Beijing in 1961, Gu Dexin is one of the pioneering presences of the generation that began making contemporary art during the 1980s. His early paintings, watercolors, and embroideries open up fantastic, dystopian worlds of creatures vaguely human, while his conceptual installations involving raw meat and rotting fruit added a new sense of the visceral to an otherwise analytical and symbolic conversation. In 1989, he was among the three Chinese artists to show in “Magiciens de la Terre” at the Pompidou, the first time art from contemporary China had been inserted into a global context. In 2009, frustrated with the art world around him, Gu decided to quit art entirely. Drawn entirely from private collections, and including over eighty works from the Guy and Myriam Ullens Foundation Collection, this exhibition is the first comprehensive attempt to make sense of the multiple strands in Gu’s daring, original, and sophisticated practice.
This is the art note found next to the installation that made people go bananas at the Abu Dhabi Art's 2016 edition.
This one here probably is no art installation (as there was no note beside it) but caught my attention and took me back to my mother's water garden back home full of water lilies. If it is actually an art work... I really would like to know more. 
Jean Dubuffet_La lande joyeuse. Jean Dubuffet, a French painter, printmaker, and sculptor disliked authority from a very early age. He left home at 17, failed to complete his art education, and wavered for many years between painting and working in his father's wine business. He would later be a successful propagandist, gaining notoriety for his attacks on conformism and mainstream culture, which he described as "asphyxiating." He was attracted to the art of children and the mentally ill, and did much to promote their work, collecting it and promulgating the notion of Art Brut. His early work was influenced by that of outsiders, but it was also shaped by the interests in materiality that preoccupied many post-war French artists associated with the Art Informel movement. In the early 1960s, he developed a radically new, graphic style, which he called "Hourloupe," and would deploy it on many important public commissions, but he remains best known for the thick textured and gritty surfaces of his pictures from the 1940s and '50s.
"Personally, I believe very much in values of savagery; I mean: instinct, passion, mood, violence, madness."
- Jean Dubuffet
Sahand Hesamiyan_Gole Ayne_Steel, Mirror Stainless Steel, and Paint. This work reminded me of Bharti Kher's broken mirrors. Sahand Hesamiyan, born in 1977 in Tehran, holds a Bachelor of Sculpture from the Tehran University and currently lives and works in Tehran.

Gordon Cheung_Here Be Dragons_Financial newspaper, archival inkjet, acrylic, sand and pumice on canvas and sail cloth. Do check the video below to see the finesse in 3D.
Seulgi Lee_U: It is drker under the lamp = Cannot see things which are too close_KOrean silk, cotton, collaboration with Nubi, Korean quilt maker Sung-Yeon Cho.
About U in the artists words. "In this continuity, I am working on a collection of blankets which take some proverbs as patterns. My interest goes toward using the oral culture to make something useful as humanity always did. So it’s going to be the blankets « telling » a story. In Korea, many proverbs are calling to pictures. I interpret them as diagram becoming a composition of colors on quilted blankets. This particular technique, one can find at bedding shops as old-fashioned blanket in Korea. The colors are related to the cosmology in Chinese philosophy. I like this idea that the future sleeper, once under this blanket, can be protected. Otherwise people say that sleeping with the head toward one direction is good... 
This sewing technique is originally hand made and can be found around the world, like for example with Amish Quilt, or boutis provençal and piqué marseillais in the south of France. 
Some diagrams therefore are coming from the following proverbs by order," says Lee. 

This mandala carpet is inspired from patterns in the nature and made by Emirati artist and curator Sheikha Wafa Bint Hasher Al Maktoum. Read here more about how she uses patterns from nature to complete her work.  The artist was recently presented with the prestigious Dayawati Modi Award for Art Culture & Education for her outstanding contribution to promoting during Arts for India event held at BAFTA – 195 Piccadilly London on 19th October, 2016. The event was sponsored by the British Film Institute, London, Pinewood Studios, London and the Columbia University School of the Arts, New York. She is the the first recipient of this coveted trophy in the entire Middle East that has previously been handed to the likes of Mother Teresa, Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan and Hollywood Film Actress Goldie Hawn.
Thought this is a very cool recycled chair using the palm!
Sudarshan Shetty_Untitled_Teak Wood. Born in 1961 in Mangalore, India, Sudarshan Shetty lives and works in Mumbai. Shetty initially trained as a painter, later turning to sculpture and installations which now account for all of his output. A conceptual artist, he is renowned for his enigmatic and often mechanised sculptural installations. His hybrid constructions question the fusion of Indian and Western traditions as well as exploring domestic concerns and the notion of movement.
Cesar_Expansion Blue_Resine polyester stratifie et laque/Laminated and lacquered Polyurethane 158x120x18cm. Art auction website artvalue, prices an approximate 30,000-40,000 euros. A founding member of the Nouveaux Réalistes, César (1921-1998) was renowned in Europe for his outlandish sculptures using unorthodox materials (ranging from industrial rubbish to high-tech resins), innovative forms and novel processes. Born César Baldaccini to Italian immigrants in Marseille, the artist is popularly known in France for several iconic works, including a number of monumental public sculptures in Paris. The 40-foot-tall Le Pouce (Thumb), 1965, permanently installed at La Défense, is a bronze blowup of the artist's thumb. Over the years he produced versions of this work in a wide variety of materials and sizes, make several popular examples. 
Gilles Barbeir_Eternity_Mixed Media. This work reminds one of tarring and feathering - a form of public humiliation used to enforce unofficial justice or revenge. It was used in feudal Europe and its colonies in the early modern period, as well as the early American frontier, mostly as a type of mob vengeance.  The aim was to inflict enough pain and humiliation on a person to make him either conform his behavior to the mob's demands or be driven from town.  The image of the tarred-and-feathered outlaw remains a metaphor for public humiliation. Barbier’s works reflect on the darker and more difficult themes of ageing and the collapse of dreams and ideals. 
Louay Kayyali_The Match Seller_Oil. Kayyali was a Syrian modern artist who graduated from Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, he is known in portrait, nature & flower paintings. This work is oil on masonite chip board and was produced in 1974. His psychological state is often linked to his interest in subjects related to the struggle of the common man. He suffered from depression and died in 1978 from burns incurred from his bed catching fire, reportedly from a cigarette.
Rakan Dabdoub_Architectural figure_Oil on board. Rakan Dabdoub is an Iraqi visual artist who was born in 1930. Several works by the artist have been sold at auction, including 'Untitled' sold at Christie's Dubai 'Modern & Contemporary Arab, Iranian & Turkish Art' in 2014 for $21,250. 

Muntean/Rosenblum_Untitled (They have a curios way...)_Black and White Crayon, Acrylic on Canvas_268x387cm. Muntean and Rosenblum (Markus Muntean; born 1962 in Graz, Austria and Adi Rosenblum; born 1962 in Haifa, Israel) are artists based in Vienna and London. They have been collaborating since 1992. They work in a variety of media, but their most characteristic work involves painted formal compositions, with comic book style captions, of teenage models from fashion magazines. The Guardian critic Jonathan Jones described the effect as "Andy Warhol meets Jacques-Louis David". The pictures of Muntean/Rosenblum are characterized by references to the way we perceive things today, which is influenced by the media, advertising, film and popular culture. These belong to a lifestyle-oriented society where youth is a marketable commodity and “being young” has become an instrument of permanent self-control. The magazines cooperate with specialists in affective image production, appropriating forms that used to stand for protest, utopia and delimitation, as well as allegorical themes and subjects from art history.
Muntean/Rosenblum_Untitled (How simply they seemed...) Oil on Canvas. The artist duo were represented by Galeria Horrach Moya from Spain.
Kim Duck-Yong_The Book - The moment of meditation_Mixed media on wood (mother of pearl).

Zeinab Al Hashemi_Dubai Series II_Digital Scenography. This art work brought to Abu Dhabi by Dubai's Cudro Fine Art gallery reminded me of the recent Dr Strange movie. Strange!
Tian Wei_Tobe - or not to be, ed. of 8_Stainless steel. Tian Wei was born in Xi’an, the first imperial capital of China, and original starting point of the Silk Road, which played a seminal role in linking East and West together in a complex network of trade and reciprocal exchange. Tian Wei left China for Hawaii, in 1986, to pursue a career in the arts. Upon completing his MFA in Hawaii, 1990, he subsequently settled in California. After years of travelling back and forth between America and China, he has been based in Beijing since 2011.  Both theoretically and formally, Tian Wei’s work constructs a bridge between things that appear as dyadic opposites, binary poles or complementary pairs. This perspective of Yin and Yang is deeply embedded in Chinese thinking, and the artist’s frequent reference to Classic texts such as the I Ching (The Book of Changes) and Tao Te Ching appear as quotations in minute script patterning the background upon which larger semi-abstract cursive shapes are drawn. What fascinates me most is that there can always be a switching – perhaps even a continuity - between both sides.’ Tian Wei’s artistic vision is not one that divides or separates the East from the West but one that integrates both, and for this reason it is both timely – and timeless.
Marc Quinn_The Eye of History - Desert Perspective_Oil on canvas_200cm diameter. British artist Marc Quinn's works deals with art and science, the human body and the perception of beauty. His series of Irises offering different perspectives (Desert, America etc).

Henry Matisse_Tete_Pen and ink on paper

Henri Matisse_Femme a la voilette (Woman in veil)_Pen and ink on paper
Henri Matisse_Femme a l ombrelle (Woman in umbrella)_Oil on canvas

Edgar Degas_Le ballet (The ballet)_Oil on panel

Anish Kapoor's works were a part of Galleria Continua
There are plenty more images in my camera and artists I would have loved to mention here, but...

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Thank you for reading and staying amused! :)

PS: Organised by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), this annual art fair takes place under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. It is UAE capital’s flagship annual art event. This time was its eighth edition and feature works of artists from 20 countries via industry representation through participating 40 galleries.