Over the past decade, the Middle Eastern art scene has evolved to include more museums, events, and institutions. It is this growth, as well as what will follow, that a new lecture series from The Art Circle wants to examine.
Founded in 2018 by Barbara Farahnick-Mathonet, who is also Director, The Art Circle is a non-profit organization and a network of women art collectors in the United Arab Emirates. The members-only club organizes activities throughout the arts season, from studio tours to private tours of exhibitions and art collections.
Tac brings together four women directors from leading arts organizations in the United Arab Emirates for her new series titled “The New Dynamics of the Middle East Art Scene”. Manal Ataya, Managing Director of the Sharjah Museums Authority, Vilma Jurkute, Executive Director of Alserkal Avenue, Dyala Nusseibeh, Director of Abu Dhabi Art, and Maya Allison, Chief Curator of New York University Abu Dhabi and Founding Executive Director of NYUAD Art Gallery.
Ms. Allison is also the curator of the National Pavilion UAE at the Venice Biennale in 2022.
The lecture series will first cover the United Arab Emirates, with future events dedicated to Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Organized in partnership with Menart Fair in Paris, the UAE premiere takes place online Tuesday at 8 p.m. UAE time.
During the conference, the directors will discuss their roles and how their institutions and organizations have helped shape the artistic and cultural landscape of the UAE. In Ms Ataya’s case, for example, the Sharjah Museums Authority currently operates 16 museums, which focus on various fields, including modern and contemporary Arab art, Islamic art and history, heritage and history. UAE maritime, science, children’s learning and archeology.
“It is not unique to the UAE that there is a great deal of attention and investment globally in districts and cultural projects,” Ms. Ataya said. The National, highlighting the proliferation of several cultural actors in the country.
“However, in the United Arab Emirates, our artistic ecosystem is developing much faster than others, now reaching a level of maturity with a layering effect, necessary for sustainable growth.
“In Sharjah, we see a great example, over decades of work, of establishing small and large institutions with government support and consistency with public programs so that all audiences can enjoy cultural life,” she says.
Recent major Sharjah exhibitions include a retrospective on Algerian artist Baya Mahieddine, an important figure in modern Arab art.
Ms. Jurkute, who has been part of the Alserkal organization since 2012, oversaw the launch of the large architectural project Concrete, a cultural space designed by the Bureau of Metropolitan Architecture.
Over the years, Alserkal Avenue, an artistic district with contemporary art galleries and spaces in Al Quoz, has transformed into a cultural destination. But it has also become an artistic institution, with the creation of the Alserkal Arts Foundation in 2019, which includes artist residencies and commission programs.
Bringing an academic and curatorial perspective, Ms. Allison has made crucial contributions to the art history of the United Arab Emirates, particularly in the publication of the book But We Can’t See Them: Tracing an Arts Community in the United Arab Emirates, 1998-2008, which she edited. She brings together essays and research material that chronicle the development of contemporary art in the United Arab Emirates, focusing on pioneering artists such as Hassan Sharif, Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, Mohammed Kazem, Vivek Vilasini, Ebtisam Abdulaziz and more Again.
Currently, Ms Allison is curator of the United Arab Emirates pavilion for the Venice Biennale – a solo presentation by Ibrahim, with whom she has worked closely over the years.
Ms. Nusseibeh’s ideas will encompass her time as Director of Abu Dhabi Art, which she has been leading since 2016. Under Ms. Nusseibeh, the fair has become more than just a market event, but also a programming platform. culture in the United Arab Emirates.
These changes included “Beyond: Emerging Artists”, which focuses on commissioning young practitioners from the United Arab Emirates to present their work during the fair, as well as “Beyond: Artists Commissions”, which invites international and regional artists to install ambitious projects that respond to the history and landscape of heritage sites in Al Ain.
Under Ms Nusseibeh’s direction, Abu Dhabi Art has also held year-round exhibitions in the UAE and overseas, including a new exhibition that will open at Cromwell Place in London in June, featuring the artists. Emirati Hind Mezaina, Afra Al Dhaheri and Afra Al Suwaidi. The works were initially presented at Manarat Al Saadiyat as part of Abu Dhabi Art 2020.
“The New Dynamics of the Middle Eastern Art Scene” takes place on Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. GST. More information on how to register is at theartcircle.ae