2019 Artist

  • Life in a Bag, 2018
  • Life in a Bag, 2018
  • Life in a Bag, 2018

About the visual campaign works for 2019

‘Life in a Bag’ is an ongoing project where the artist conducts impromptu luggage scans of handbags and documents their insides with one clean snapshot. The artist is careful not to manipulate the contents of the bag, as if attempting to preserve the integrity of her findings. The negatives of the images are then printed onto sheets of aluminum, once again referencing a security apparatus. The handbag scans become portraits or indicators of the bag owner’s social status, their personality, their tastes, etc… as the viewer looks for clues and indicators as to what sort of person they are looking at.

In the newest addition to this body of work, visitors to Abu Dhabi Art 2018 were randomly selected during the Fair’s opening hours and agreed to have the insides of their handbags captured. The portraits that emerge offer insights into the diverse audiences that attended the fair in 2018. 


Artist Statement

“’Life in a Bag’ is a continuous project, in which I document various bags, each of which carries a life. I think of them as portraits; culture, personality, social life, different tastes are all captured in a bag. Working with Abu Dhabi Art 2019 is a great opportunity that allows me to create new photographs which are closely related to art and culture. The new series documents visitors' bags from Abu Dhabi Art 2018, reflecting the diverse cultures and personalities brought together for the event. They all came for art. This in itself added a certain quality to my project. I am very grateful to Abu Dhabi Art for their support and consider it an honour that my artwork will serve as the advertising and artistic visual campaign for the upcoming Abu Dhabi Art 2019.”


Artist Biography

Ebtisam Abdulaziz is a multidisciplinary artist and writer. Reflecting on her Bachelor’s degree in science and mathematics, she brings her unique perspective on mathematics and the structures of systems to bear on  issues of identity and culture, through installations, performance pieces and works on paper. Her works are evidence of a fascination with systemic ways to produce emotionally or intellectually meaningful forms of expression. Combining the scientific with the arbitrary, at times juxtaposing the two in order to force the viewer to question their assumptions about rules in the natural and formulaic world, Abdulaziz is methodical in her explorations. Her approach draws on the Gestalt theory and the recognition that understanding something is greater than perceiving the sum of all of its parts. Abdulaziz has exhibited as part of the inaugural UAE and ADACH (Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage) Pavilions at the 53rd Venice Biennale, as well as at the seventh and 10th Sharjah Biennial; ‘Languages of the Desert’, the Kunst Museum, Bonn, Germany; ‘Dubai Next’, a collaboration between the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and Vitra Design Museum, Basel 2008; ‘Arab Express’, a group exhibition at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; ‘25 years of Arab Creativity’, ‘he Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; ‘Inventing The World: The Artist as Citizen’, Benin Bienniale 2012, Kora Centre, Benin. Abdulaziz is a member of the Emirates Fine Art Society and Tashkeel editorial team, was a participant in the 2007 Emirates Foundation Grant Program Art Panel. In 2013 she also participated in ‘The Beginning of Thinking is Geometric’ at Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah and her work has been shown at FotoFest Biennial, Art in Houston, Texas. She also took part in ‘Past Forward, Contemporary Art from the Emirates’ in Washington, DC; Los Angeles; East Lansing, Michigan; Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas; Lexington, Kentucky; and Spokane, Washington. Her work was recently shown at Cara Gallery, New York, and at Rhizome DC, Washington, DC in the United States, as well as at NYUAD and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi project. Abdulaziz was voted one of the 100 Most Powerful Arab Women by Arabian Business in 2013.