About The Work
Al Rais’ early works were representational and rooted in realism, where he mostly depicted traditional Emirati landscapes and architecture.Al Rais’ practice is informed by Gulf traditions of representations of the divine, culture and community, and is grounded in humility. The artist then took a hiatus from 1974 until the 1980’s, where his work began to take on political themes, and was particularly responsive to the first Palestinian Intifada, which is seen as the artist’s second period. Then, Al Rais increasingly turned to abstraction and calligraphy, marking his third period, recognizing their shared meditative and spiritual qualities. Revitalizing calligraphy with a modernist take on the age-old tradition, singular letters are repeated and engulfed in color fields. This incites a sense of synesthesia, where the guttural sounds of the Arabic languages are celebrated and emphasized while recalling the relationship between geometry and language and its potential role in abstraction.
WhatsApp Video 2020-03-30 at 52811 PM (1) from Leila Heller Gallery on Vimeo.
Abdul Qader Al Rais
Abdul Qader Al Rais is known for both his abstract oil paintings, which draw on Arabic script and geometric forms, and his more recent landscape watercolours, which reflect his longtime interest in traditional Emirati architecture and nature.
His work has been presented in more than 30 solo exhibitions in the Middle East, Europe and United States as well as many international group exhibitions, including 1980–Today: Exhibitions in the United Arab Emirates, UAE Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale (2015) and Past Forward: Contemporary Art from the Emirates, Meridian International Center and UAE Embassy, Washington, D.C. (2014). His work is also part of the collections of the British Museum, London; Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha; Kuwait Museum of Modern Art; Sharjah Art Museum and Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman.
He is a founding member of the Emirates Fine Arts Society.
Since its establishment over three decades ago, Leila Heller Gallery has gained worldwide recognition as a pioneer in promoting creative dialogue and exchange between Western artists and Middle Eastern, Central and Southeast Asian artists. In addition to presenting a dynamic exhibition schedule, the gallery actively organizes shows with world-renowned curators, hosts educational panels and film screenings, and produces catalogues and books with scholarly essays. Leila Heller Gallery opened its location in Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue at 14,000 sqft, the largest gallery in the UAE. Showcasing leading regional and international artists, the gallery is dedicated to supporting the evolving practice of established artists. The gallery has strong innovative curatorial and educational programs with emphasis on promoting a dialogue between Western and Middleeastern artists.