By Karen Leigh
Global Art Forum aims to boost growing arts infrastructure in region, foster young talent
Art Dubai has named an inaugural council of six fellows to
its Global Art Forum, tasked with creating a think tank to formulate arts
policy for the MENA region.
The group includes Dubai-based Emirati artist Noor Al
Suwaidi, joined by artists and curators from countries including Turkey, Iran
She and the other fellows are sponsored by Global Art
Forum_5, MENA’s preeminent platform for art dialogue and debate, as part of Art
Dubai, the region’s largest art show.
Running 16-19 March, the event will feature work from more
than 500 artists and 81 galleries.
The fellows will help bolster a growing arts infrastructure
in the region, which trails traditional powerhouses Europe and Asia but has
become a hub for younger talent. In the last five years, it has seen more than
50 galleries open, many of them clustered at Dubai’s International Financial
Centre – the location for Christie’s Middle East, currently on its tenth
“In the region, there’s different levels of development when
it comes to infrastructure for the art field,” Al Suwaidi, told Arabian
Business. “This type of collaboration between collaborators and artists in the
region, supporting each other through challenges, is new.
“We all come with a different experience, in between all of
this there’s even an idea of ‘how could you work with me on something or how
can I support you on this.’”
Challenges could include legal issues if an artist’s work
challenges his or her country’s political and religious beliefs.
“Every country has its own idea of what is taboo,” she said.
“While it might not be hanging in a wall in Tehran, it could be here in Dubai.
And art that may be controversial here may not be judged in Paris.”
It will also provide a MENA-wide forum for artists, who,
though occasionally sponsored by galleries, operate on their own and have
lacked the regional support system long fostered in Europe, Asia and America.
“Ultimately, by pooling and exchanging ideas they will
develop ideas for best practice and influence the way that the region’s art
sector develops,” said Art Dubai director Antonia Carver.
“Independent curators and artists are usually working alone
or with a nonprofit, but this kind of forum allows them to exchange and share,”
Al Suwaidi said.
“Of course everyone has their own network, but this kind of
diversity that we have – Turkey to Iran to Dubai – there are very different
situations in every one of these places.
“There’s this feeling that there’s this knowledge to share
because everything is constantly evolving. In the UAE, a challenge is making
opportunities for art to be exposed on platforms that will give it value.”
I would really like to know, what all the curators found great in this work.