Last month I had the most marvelous feature-writing experience freelancing for Open Skies, Emirates Airline’s in flight publication. I had the opportunity to research the first years of Dubai’s art scene and interview 8 Dubai gallerists who have made the city’s art scene the powerhouse it is today. I also had the rare opportunity to speak with Mr. Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, Patron of the Arts and developer of Alserkal Avenue, who is a tremendously capable but commendably humble person.
Photographer Rebecca Rees snapped outside the box portraits to accompany my text. We traipsed all over dusty Al Quoz in scuffed up flats (I have a pair of overly loved shoes that I call my Al Quoz shoes for a reason!), bouncing off the gallery walls from multiple cups of strong Arabic coffee, and binging on oily pastries when we had a spare moment between appointments.
Behind the scenes gems included witnessing a giant statue of a security guard being hauled out from the Cuadro Gallery back room to please a small art-appreciating child, admiring the scented candles burning fire hazard wildly at Koroush Nouri and Nadine Knotzer’s playful desks at Carbon 12, and talking falling in love with Third Line “it girls” Claudia Cellini and Sunny Rahbar.
Here’s an excerpt from the feature:
“There is a mood of carbonated excitement in the air, the feeling that the history is being made here and now in Dubai. Due to its geographic centrality, peaceful climate, and highly efficient logistical operations, the city attracts artists, collectors, and gallerists from all over the world. The artistic community’s roots were planted in the 1980’s by the Emirates Fine Arts Society, a collective of UAE artists who were considered quite experimental at the time. Although there were only two galleries in town, openings were already all the rage in the mid-90’s, but the scene didn’t continue to develop. The country wide economic boom that followed, transformed Dubai into an art market of note that is now growing exponentially by the year.”
You can read the rest here: CREATIVE COMMUNITY
Image Credits: Open Skies and Rebecca Rees Photography