Meridian International Center and the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates Showcase Emirati Art in Texas

November 10, 2014

Media Contact: Monique McSween | 202-939-5882 |


Groundbreaking Emirati art exhibition and cultural diplomacy program launches in Fort Worth

Fort Worth, TX – Meridian International Center and the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, DC (UAE) have opened Past Forward: Contemporary Art from the Emirates at Artspace111 in Fort Worth, Texas. The first major touring exhibition of Emirati art in the US, Past Forward will be on display until December 2, 2014.

Past Forward is part of a cultural diplomacy program that tells the story of the UAE’s rich history, culture, and rapid development through the works of 25 notable Emirati artists.The exhibition consists of more than 50 paintings, sculptures, and photographs, and is on an 18-month national tour. During the exhibition’s stop in Texas, a selection of artworks will be simultaneously displayed at two venues – the Artspace111 in Fort Worth and the World Affairs Council headquarters in Dallas – and will be open to the public at both locations.

The exhibition was formally unveiled at a VIP reception at Artspace111 on November 7th that was attended by local officials, members of the international community, business leaders, and representatives from the local art community. During the event, Meridian International Center President and CEO Ambassador Stuart Holliday highlighted the importance of strengthening intercultural dialogue.

“We are excited to use art as a way to highlight the commonalities between the United States and the United Arab Emirates,” said Ambassador Holliday. “Past Forward is a unique cultural diplomacy initiative that demonstrates how art connects communities and promotes increased social and intercultural awareness.”

Consul General of the United Arab Emirates Abdulla Alsaboosi, from the Consulate of the UAE in Los Angeles, noted how the UAE’s rapid development and rich history is expressed in the art exhibition.

“The talented artists featured in the exhibit help take the viewer on a vivid journey that illustrates the UAE’s rapid development and cultural heritage,” said Consul General Alsaboosi. “We are excited about the program and believe that Past Forward will help increase understanding between the UAE and US.”

“We live in a world where we face similar challenges and similar aspirations for our future,” said Consul General Al Saboosi. “It’s remarkable how art communicates those ideas and becomes such a universal language.”

Past Forward artist Shamma Al Amri and exhibition co-curator Noor Al Suwaidi were also in attendance at the event. Ms. Al Amri and Ms. Al Suwaidi are visiting from the UAE and will be hosting several public programming activities for students and artists in the Dallas/Fort Worth community – including events at Fort Worth Country Day School, All Saints’ Episcopal School, and Trinity Valley School, as well as artist workshops at local museums and studios. This community outreach complements the public art exhibition to encourage increased cultural understanding and engagement between the United Arab Emirates and United States.

Past Forward: Contemporary Art from the Emirates opened in May 2014 at Meridian’s Cafritz Galleries in Washington, DC, and will be traveling to California, Michigan, and Washington State over the next year. Additional support for Past Forward is being provided by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, the Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation and Etihad Airways.

Past Forward will be open to the public at Artspace111 in Fort Worth and the World Affairs Council headquarters in Dallas. For more information about gallery hours and to learn more about the exhibition, please visit Past Forward and follow the hashtag #PastForward on social media.

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About Meridian International Center
Meridian international Center is a premier global leadership organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. Building on over 50 years of experience, Meridian provides the programs, approach, and environment for leaders to understand global issues and cultures, exchange ideas, collaborate on solutions, and build valuable relationships.

Through its Center for Cultural Diplomacy, Meridian provides innovative cultural-based programs and services that engage people around the world and foster international understanding. These programs and services include Content Development, People-to-People Exchanges, Cultural Diplomacy Summits, International Museum Capacity Building, and Cultural Intelligence Training, as well as exhibitions, trainings, and partnerships. For more information:

About The United Arab Emirates
The UAE is a source of stability, tolerance, innovation, and growth in the Arabian Gulf and around the globe. The United States and the UAE are reliable allies, with historical and present-day shared security and economic interests. In fact, the UAE is the largest export market for US goods in the Middle East and more US naval vessels visit UAE ports than any other port outside the United States. The United States and the UAE also enjoy growing social and cultural ties, and many US institutions in education, healthcare, and the arts have formed collaborative partnerships with UAE entities. For more information:


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