Category: Culture and Community

Famed Spanish sculptor Xavier Mascaró makes his UAE debut at Warehouse421 with the exhibition Departure that presents an installation of 27 iron and bronze boats. The exhibition will be open to the public on 4 May, with Mascaró presenting a public talk on his artistic ideals and inspirations, as well as his interest in Abu Dhabi and its pertinent history.


Hailed as one of the world’s leading Spanish contemporary sculptors, Mascaró will present an exhibition of boats made from rusted iron and oxidised bronze, with an 18 meter life-size ship out at the front entrance and 26 boats in different sizes taking up the indoor gallery space.  The works touch on ideals of Abu Dhabi’s traditional relationship as a historical port-city through the visual and textual components that refer to the sea, trade and histories - words which are significant and synonymous to the capital emirate.

In addition to the works on display, Warehouse421 aim to take visitors on a behind-the-scenes journey into Mascaró’s studio. The exhibition will include a selection of his drawings, models, and interviews that demonstrate the artist’s process of creation. As a tribute to the UAE’s ancestry of sailing, sea trade and maritime antiquity, Departure will also present traditional Emirati poetry and imagery about the sea, where excerpts will provide insight into the sailors’ emotions of traveling, the longing, reuniting, and the mystery of the unknown out at sea, to his community back home.

“The identifiable themes in the exhibition are of passage, mobility and the sea which are acutely relevant to the port-city of Abu Dhabi and the Mina Zayed,” says Mascaró. “Over the years, the UAE has ensured and created a strong industry in trade, fishing and pearling that have supported the community for years. The boats, and this exhibition, is a true testament to the history of the sea and this city.”  

As an organic addition to ‘Wednesdays at the Warehouse’, this exhibition will be supported by a specially curated edition of the programme throughout the summer and for the duration of the show, with workshops and poetry readings.

“Mascaró’s dedication to the art making process and enthusiasm to discuss his craft with the public, highlights Departure as a key event presented by Warehouse421 to further engage the audience and heighten all aspects of the exhibition experience,” says Khulood Al Atiyat, Arts, Culture and Heritage Manager, Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation. “We hope, as we do with all our activities at Warehouse421, that cultural enthusiasts of all ages, will engage with this exhibition and attend the complimentary programming to further their appreciation and awareness of art.”

The current exhibition Lest We Forget: Emirati Family Photographs 1950-1999, is ongoing until 18 June, 2016.


About Xavier Mascaró

Mascaró, who lives and works in Madrid and Mexico City has exhibited in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Madrid, New York and Paris and exhibits a range of sculptural works showcasing his adventurous experimentation with traditional casting techniques. Born in 1965 in Paris, his family moved to Barcelona when he was three years old, and when he was 13 he first started experimenting with paintings and etchings. A year after graduating from the Barcelona School of Arts in 1988, he began working in bronze, and then iron. Mascaró moved to New York in 1998 where he perfected his style and produced the first of his monumental works in 2003. He has since exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery (London), Hispanic Contemporary Gallery (Mexico City), Beck & Eggeling, (Dortmund & Düsseldorf), Monumental Sculpture Plaza Nueva, (Seville) and Guardians Jardins du Palais Royal, (Paris) to name a few.

About Warehouse421

Warehouse421 is a new venue for arts and culture located in the historic Mina Zayed district of Abu Dhabi that has been converted from two of the port’s former industrial warehouses. The mission of Warehouse421 is to celebrate art and culture, design and creativity, performance and music, from artists and designers based here in the UAE and from around the world, and to let people experience these disciplines in a unique and original space. The conversion of Warehouse421 has been overseen by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation as part of its mission to support the growth of the arts and cultural sector of the UAE. 

About the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation

The mission of the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation is investing in the future of the United Arab Emirates by investing in its people. To that end, the Foundation develops and supports strategic initiatives in the areas of arts, culture & heritage; education; and health. The Foundation also organizes a speaker series; Muntada. In addition, the Foundation supports initiatives outside of these areas to explore new areas of possible interest and future development.


Source: The Portsmouth Group