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Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

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Posts Tagged ‘Dubai’

First ever Moroccan art fair to launch in October

Posted by artradar on August 24, 2010


MARRAKECH MOROCCO ART FAIRS ARAB ART

In October this year, the tourist hotspot Marrakech, Morocco, will host the country’s first modern and contemporary art fair. The fair points towards a growing trend of interest and investment in art in the Middle East where Dubai, currently the top art city in the Middle East, is facing increasing competition from upcoming art ventures in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. (Read our report on this recent trend.)

Gjdn Neshat's 'Untitled96'. Neshat is a participant at this year's Marrakech Art Fair.

Gjdn Neshat's 'Untitled96'. Neshat is a participant in this year's Marrakech Art Fair.

Morocco, characteristically, is a country that culturally and geographically straddles the “east meets west” junction. That the Marrakech Art Fair shares some of these characteristics make it all the more special. Out of the thirty galleries exhibiting at the fair, half come from the Arab world, primarily North Africa while the other half come from Europe. For art lovers, this could provide an incredible opportunity to sample international contemporary art.

The city also plans to host simultaneous art events throughout the days of the fair. Some of these are special exhibitions at select museums and galleries in Marrakech. The idea behind engaging the city as a giant art fair in itself is to offer rare insights into Moroccan heritage and its contemporary art world.

The Marrakech Museum, for example, is hosting “Resonance: Contemporary Moroccan artists across the world”, which showcases fifteen artists of Moroccan origin who are based outside of Morocco. Inventing and re-thinking ideas of identity versus the global, these artists will work through various mediums such as painting, installation and video art to map new thoughts about the reality of art in Morocco. Another interesting intervention looks at the culmination of popular culture and art. Six graffiti artists will create spontaneous art to the music of Moroccan rapper BIGG over the period of one night.

Zoulikha Bouabdellah's 'Love'. Bouabdellah is a participant in this year's Marrakech Art Fair.

Zoulikha Bouabdellah's 'Love'. Bouabdellah is a participant in this year's Marrakech Art Fair.

Other events include talks such as the panel discussions led by Roxana Azimi, a specialist in the international art market, that will deal with the twin issues of “Art market in the Arab world” and “The role of patrons and collectors.” Pascel Amel, a writer and director, will lead a debate on “Art in Morocco at the dawn of globalization.” The talks seem to be marked with hope and enthusiasm for the place of Moroccan art in the world market as well as a belief in the possibility of internal development.

Fifteen of the galleries invited to the fair will respond to a set theme of “From Orientalism to nowadays.” The Jean Brolly gallery is one such participant that intends to showcase work by two artists of different origins – Mahjoud Ben Bella and Francois Morellet. Local galleries are active participants at the fair. The Tindouf Gallery and the Galerie 127 are based in Marrakech itself. Other galleries that are showing at the fair come from Tunisia, the UAE, France and Morocco. The fair will be held from 9 to 11 October this year. For more details, visit the fair’s website.

AM/KN

Related Topics: art fairs, Middle Eastern art, promoting art

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Posted in Africa, Asia expands, Business of art, Crossover art, Fairs, Globalisation, Middle East, Promoting art, Venues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sheikh Sultan opens private collection to public putting Sharjah on the UAE art map

Posted by artradar on August 18, 2010


PRIVATE COLLECTIONS PUBLIC GALLERIES SHARJAH

In Arabic, the word “barjeel”, from which the Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, takes its name, means “wind tower”. For collector and owner Sheikh Sultan Sooud al-Qassemi, the euphemism does very little to hide his vision – that of an art space where ideas, like air, circulate freely and create a dynamic where art can breathe.

Sheikh Sultan, Barjeel Art Foundation

Sheikh Sultan, Barjeel Art Foundation

Housing close to four-hundred and eighty works of art from the Arab world or by Arab artists living elsewhere, the Barjeel Art Foundation’s collection is originally the collection of Sheikh Sultan. In an interview with The National Daily Newspaper in Abu Dhabi earlier this month, Sheikh Sultan said that,

Artists are the conscience of society. It is essential for their work to be seen and appreciated.

Another article on Real Estate Channel, recounts Professor Alma Kadragic’s VIP tour of the gallery space led by the Sheikh himself. Kadragic says,

Many people have visited the gallery over the first five months since it opened, and Sheikh Sultan has personally guided VIPs and others through the collection. The day I visited with a friend, we were joined by two other women, and Sheikh Sultan treated us to descriptions of the works on display and even opened locked doors to show some others kept out of sight in storerooms.

The first exhibition at the Barjeel Art Foundation is called “Peripheral Vision” and features contemporary work made later than 2007 by Arab artists. The show is on until the end of August this year, after which new selections from the Sheikh’s collection will be mounted for show. The foundation is currently not selling any of the works. The premise of the foundation is summed up by Sheikh Sultan:

Layan Shawabkeh, 'Ladies of Gaza', acrylic on canvas.

Layan Shawabkeh, 'Ladies of Gaza', acrylic on canvas.

We want to show how art of the Arab world is nuanced and in a constant state of transformation and renewal. Our mission is to expose different aspects of social, political and geographical landscapes that may be obstructed and out of focus.The works can however be borrowed for exhibition locally or internationally by institutions that will pay for transportation and insurance.

The objective behind the Barjeel Art Foundation is, in Sheikh Sultan’s words,

A foremost goal of Barjeel has been to give the artworks in the collection greater public exposure; making the space accessible for people to come and view a selection of art in rotating exhibitions seemed to be the ideal starting point.

The collection houses some masterpieces of Arab art. Considered a national treasure, artist Abdul Qader Al Rais’s works are so important that they are only handled by the Ministry of Culture of Sharjah, the Sheikh being an exception.

The gallery is not averse to showing political art, like that of Layan Shawabkeh, a Palestinian artist who died in 2009 at the age of 23. In a work called Ladies of Gaza, Shawabkeh takes inspiration from many of Picasso’s works that deal with women and post World War II trauma.

The Barjeel Art Foundation comes at a time when governments world over are cutting funds for art institutions and the market is relying on trusted modern, rather than contemporary artists for returns. Additionally, the art world of the UAE is fragmented, with only a few galleries in Abu Dhabi where the Louvre and the Guggenheim have yet to be built. Dubai seems to be at the forefront of cultural and financial investment in art although Arab art altogether has a long way to go.

AM/KN

Related Topics: Middle Eastern artists, collectorsgallery showsnon-profit

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Posted in Art spaces, Business of art, Collector nationality, Collectors, Gallery shows, Middle Eastern, Nonprofit, Oil, Painting, Palestinian, Promoting art, Sharjah, UAE | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Gallerist Salwa Zeidan explains mission of inaugural Abu Dhabi Sculpture Symposium – interview

Posted by artradar on March 13, 2010


UNITED ARAB EMIRATES SCULPTURE SYMPOSIUM

Salwa Zeidan, gallerist and an organiser of the inaugural Abu Dhabi International Sculpture Symposium (ADISS),  (25 February to 7 April 2010 at Zayed University) talks to Art Radar about the mission of ADISS, government sponsorship of the arts and her favourite Emirati sculptor.

Her gallery, the Salwa Zeidan Gallery. has collaborated with Zayed University to bring ADISS to Abu Dhabi. Its theme is “Bridging Societies Through the Language of Art,” and involves bringing specially commissioned sculpture to the city as well as opening a dialogue about public art in Abu Dhabi.

Billy Lee, EOS 2004

Billy Lee, EOS 2004

What is the mission of ADISS?

Our mission is mainly to make art available and accessible to everyone so that ordinary people from all walks of life can enjoy a piece of art and interact with it. We also want to create an artistic atmosphere in Abu Dhabi for residents and visitors to enjoy. As beautiful and peaceful as it is, Abu Dhabi is missing public art in its streets and roundabouts and so I believe we came at the right time to compliment the city with these monumental pieces of art.

Has its mission changed since its conception?

No. However, it became more interesting.. to see how many people are so excited about seeing the sculptures in the streets.

Gregor Kregar, Twisting the Void

Gregor Kregar, Twisting the Void

How is ADISS different from other art-related international symposiums?

Well it is taking place in Abu Dhabi, a city known for its high-quality events but the most significant difference is that it is under the patronage of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and is being organized by major entities such as Zayed University and the Municipality – all of these factors have elevated the project to a national scale.

How will ADISS impact the local art scene?

It is very important to see art every day in our lives, and interact with it til it becomes a permanent part of our lives. Events such as ADISS have the power to enrich the art scene as a whole by making it more common and this is very important for a contemporary country such as Abu Dhabi.

What about its global impact?

If we look around the world, we see the economy is not at its best, and this situation is reflecting on the art scene in general, so it is in some areas getting from bad to worse for artists. Abu Dhabi is extending so much attention towards art through Art Abu Dhabi, ADISS and other cultural initiatives by ADACH (Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage) and TDIC (Tourism Development and Investment Company), and through future projects that are being developed such as Saadiyat (the Art district) – this is very encouraging for artists from all over the world as it places art at the forefront of sociological evolution. Such progress is very promising for artists from all walks of life including myself.

Jo Kley, Helix Anröchter

Jo Kley, Helix Anröchter

Do you have a favorite piece being created for ADISS? If so, why?

I like most of the pieces being created, the most important thing is that they are being created in Abu Dhabi and for Abu Dhabi the city that I love, and these pieces are going to stay, the thought that we are creating a new reality for this city is great. When I see how these blocks are being transformed into wonderful sculptures everyday and how the artists are so happy to be here to create and leave their work on this land, I feel a great sense of accomplishment. We are about to change the face of Abu Dhabi with all these great artworks!

How does the general population in Abu Dhabi view art, and will their perceptions change after ADISS?

I’m sure it is going to help the change, and eventually their perception about art will change since living with art on a daily basis is bound to change their way of thinking about art in general no matter what the current state of mind may be.

Is public art the best way for people to include art in their everyday lives?

I guess so, it broadens their horizons to a new reality that will bring forth new questions and new answers which will eventually impact their evolution positively.

Masahiro, Lotus

Masahiro, Lotus

The Abu Dhabi art scene is thriving? Is there anything you would like to change? Why? Regarding the Abu Dhabi art scene, do you have any favorite local artists?

Hassan Sharif is my favorate Emirati artist… He is also one of the Symposium artists working on a great piece called “step” which is going to be 6 meters high. Hassan was the first Emirati national to pursue a career as an artist in the UAE; he has and continues to be one of the most significant influences on the local art scene. There are a few young local artists that I like as well, whom I believe have lots of potential to advance and grow. As a gallerist I have made it my mission to find such talents, nurture them, offer them a place to exhibit their works and give them the right advice to help them realize their full abilities.

I believe local artists will advance much more once the art projects in Abu Dhabi are fully realized and once they have the chance to see and live with works by some of the most influencial artists of our time. They will definitely develop their talents even more and are keen to do so… I see them working very hard at developing themselves and have all the tools they need at their finger tips so why not? I’m very optimistic about the local art scene and find that all the support they are receiving from their rulers and their governments is bound to strenghten their resolve even further and enable them to acquire their place on the international art arena.

Petre Petrov, Guatemala

Petre Petrov, Guatemala

Is there any particular news or information you’d like to share with our readers?

Yes I would like them to come and visit this wonderful City that is giving so much attention to art, culture and music, when the whole world is so busy with other matters and thus taking art for granted. Here art has been taken to another dimension and is becoming part of its identity. It is wonderful to see the government focusing on the cultural aspect of the country to make cultural events and artifacts more accessible to the entire community. I wish all the governments of the world paid as much attention to culture, perhaps there will be no more wars!

ADISS lecture: What is Public Art?

ADISS lecture: What is Public Art?

On 14 March 2010, there will be a public art discussion at Zayed University. Hassan Sharif from UAE, Caroline Ramersdorfer from Austria, Ehab El Laban from Egypt, Billy Lee from United Kingdom and Jon Barlow Hudson from USA will talk about the Public Art, its effect and its importance within the premises of Abu Dhabi at the scheduled lecture programme. Other ADISS events can be found here.

Zayed University - Location Map

AL

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Posted in Abu Dhabi, Events, Interviews, Sculpture, UAE, Uncategorised | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Christies in Dubai sets record for most pricey Arab artwork

Posted by artradar on November 4, 2009


CONTEMPORARY MIDDLE EASTERN ART

Christies

DUBAI- Christies auctions Ahmed Mustafa's diptych "Remembrance and Gratitude" on October 24, 2009 for a record breaking $662,500.

A Christies auction in Dubai set a new record for the price of a contemporary Arab artwork, fetching $662,500 for a double calligraphy piece by Egyptian artist Ahmed Mustafa titled “Remembrance and Gratitude.” Matoob Business reports Mustafa already held the record for the highest selling Arab artwork, and broke his own auction sales record set with a different artwork in 2007.

Christies not surprised

The record breaking sale was little surprise to Christies, however. The Daily Star reveals Christies had given the work the highest-ever guide price, valuing Mustafa’s diptych at $600,000-$800,000. Christies Middle East and Europe president Jussi Phylkkanen notes:

“Expectations were high, especially with regards to the exhibited works of exceptional quality”

Other high sellers

The second highest selling artwork at $578,500 dollars was “Untitled (Yellow Heads)” painting by India’s Tyeb Metha. Turkish artist Burhan Dogancay’s “Rift” sold for $242,500, and Iranian Charles Hossein Zenderoudi’s “Kharjee Spirit” fetched $218,500 dollars.

Middle Eastern market shows growth

The October 24th auction in total sold 6.7 million dollars worth of artworks, twice the value reached in the last auction that was held in April. The October sale was being viewed by experts as a test for the Middle Eastern art market, which has struggled in the recession as the mega rich expressed less interest in purchasing artworks.

Regarding the sale, AFP reports that Michael Jeha, Christies Middle East managing director commented:

“Despite the global economic crisis… the appetite for art in the Middle East continues to grow, and also the appetite for Middle Eastern arts.”

Jeha continued by saying that since the first auction in 2006, Christies sales in Dubai have risen by 400%.

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Posted in Auctions, Business of art, Dubai, Egyptian, Indian, Iranian, Market watch, Middle East, Turkish, Uncategorised | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »