• 2 minute read
  • July 30, 2019
Emirati Artists Take Center Stage At Abu Dhabi-Based Gallery 165 Below

Andaz Capital Gate, which occupies floors 18 to 33 of the iconic building known as ‘The Leaning Tower of Abu Dhabi’, has already garnered attention, owing to its Guinness World Records-certified structure that leans at a record-breaking 18 degrees. And now, 165 Below, a permanent art gallery on the ground floor of the hotel, is catapulting it further into the spotlight by showcasing the UAE’s proud history and culture—all with a desire to inspire curiosity and embrace local adventures.

Rashid Al Mulla’s Chapter 11: Contempt (III) (2018)

Designed specifically for Emirati artists to demonstrate their talents, the gallery features works surveying subject matters that resonate with residents and tourists alike. “Being at the entrance of the hotel, the gallery marks the beginning of the guests’ journey of immersion into local contemporary culture. Every piece of art they interact with at 165 Below brings them a better understanding of the UAE culture,” says Stuart Deeson, General Manager and Area Vice President of Andaz Capital Gate Abu Dhabi. “This complements the other local and cultural experiences guests undertake within the rest of the hotel and around the city.”

The gallery’s location is no coincidence, Deeson notes, explaining that the abundance of light at the entrance was one of the catalysts for the project. “This area is quite dramatic, and we felt that, with its natural light, it would be the perfect place to exhibit art. The gallery gives the hotel entrance an unmatched vibrancy and a unique character,” he says. Deeson determines that gallery footfall is down to a mix of hotel and dinner guests, and those taking part in meetings and events within the hotel or at the adjacent ADNEC, as well as art collectors, curators, enthusiasts, interior designers and the artists themselves.

An interior view of the gallery space

A hotelier who started off in the industry at his father’s hotel in Scotland, Deeson has worked with the Hyatt group for 23 years, with time split evenly between Asia and the Middle East. While it is safe to say he knows a thing or two about meeting, and exceeding, the expectations of his guests, when it comes to the actual running of the gallery, Deeson turns to Cherry Ali, the Operations Manager of International Artists Management (iAM), the agency responsible for curating pieces, putting the collections together, and managing the artists whose works they display.

Right now, he is most excited by Badr Abbas, whose approach to expressing the UAE’s pop culture through symbols from old and new Arabic traditions is delightfully left-field. Also among his favorites are works by Khulood Al Jabri, who draws on personal experiences to present new perspectives on social concepts. Peruse the gallery and you will also come across remarkable pieces by artists Amal Lootah, Ashba Al Ghafli, Khaula Bin Buti, and Rashid Al Mulla.

Budour Al Ameri’s Iconic abstract collection (2019)

With the range of pieces providing a wonderful commentary on what is happening inside and outside the gallery walls, 165 Below is playing an increasingly important role in promoting the UAE’s rich cultural heritage.

Images Courtesy Of IAM

Next In