Past Forward: Contemporary Art from the Emirates


May, 2014

Meridian International Center in Washington, DC

From 2014 to 2016, the UAE Embassy partnered with Meridian International Center to bring a traveling exhibition of Emirati artwork on tour around the US. Titled Past Forward: Contemporary Art from the Emirates, the exhibition told the UAE’s story through 50 paintings, sculptures, videos, photographs and other works by 25 leading Emirati artists. Noor Al Suwaidi, a top Emirati curator and artist, co-curated the collection.



Past Forward’s tour opened at White-Meyer House at Meridian International Center in Washington, DC. The Embassy then brought the exhibition to museums and galleries in Texas, California, Washington, Michigan, Illinois and Kentucky. The LA Art Show also featured Past Forward.

Alongside the exhibition, the UAE Embassy conducted public and educational outreach to encourage increased cultural understanding and engagement between the UAE and US. Emirati artists featured in Past Forward routinely conducted lectures and workshops across the US, providing students, artists and communities the opportunity to learn more about the UAE’s vibrant cultural history and thriving art scene.