40. lateefa bint maktoum.the last look

Past Forward: Contemporary Art from the Emirates

July 15, 2014

In May 2014, Meridian International Center and the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched Past Forward: Contemporary Art from the Emirates, a groundbreaking cultural diplomacy program that brings Emirati artwork and artists to the United States (US). The exhibition tells the story of the UAE’s rich history, culture and rapid development through 50 paintings, sculptures, and other artwork by 25 notable Emirati artists. 


Past Forward represents the first major touring exhibition of Emirati art in the world. Beginning in Washington, DC, the exhibition will go on a national tour through 2015, including stops in Texas, California, and Washington. In addition to being on public display while touring the US, Emirati artists whose works are featured in Past Forward will conduct educational outreach, lectures, and workshops.

UAE Ambassador to the US, Yousef Al Otaiba officially unveiled Past Forward in Washington, DC in May 2014, noting that the exhibition captures the energy and diversity of the country’s emerging art scene:  “The artwork featured in this exhibition embodies the creativity radiating throughout the UAE, and captures the story of our young – but rapidly developing – nation. Art has nourished our culture, informed our thinking, and allowed the UAE to become the modern, open and tolerant country that it is today.”


Additional support for Past Forward has been provided by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, the Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation and Etihad Airways.