UAE, USA to unitedly discuss online the art of building bridges - GulfToday

UAE, USA to unitedly discuss online the art of building bridges

uae artist 2

Maqbool Fida Husain’s artwork Virgin Night from Grey Art Gallery New York University’s Indian Art Collection.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

Mid East Art, the art platform founded and run by Dubai-based Suzy Sikorski that acts as both an art historical archive and periodical featuring a comprehensive coverage of interviews and exhibition reviews of artists from the Middle East, has announced that it will partner with the UAE Embassy’s Cultural Diplomacy Department in Washington DC on a series of digital programming.

The inaugural online discussion series event is titled “UAE-USA United in Art: Building Bridges Through Art” and will be broadcast on June 24 at 12pm EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) and 8pm GST (Gulf Standard Time). Moderated by Sikorski, panelists include Antonia Carver, Director, Art Jameel, Dubai; Lynn Gumpert, Director, Grey Art Gallery, New York University; Hala Khayat, Director & Head of Sale, Christie’s, Dubai and Clare Davies, Assistant Curator, Modern and Contemporary Art Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The distinguished panel will explore how the relationship between United States and United Arab Emirates-based institutions have shaped the regional art scene in the last decade. The discussion will also highlight how these partnerships created an influential ecosystem of arts experts in education, museums, the art market and philanthropy.

One can register for the event at Davies joined the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York in 2015 as the museum’s first curator of Modern and Contemporary Art to focus on the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. In the intervening years, she has built up the museum’s holdings of modern works from the region and organised three special exhibitions including Siah Armajani: Follow This Line, Rayyane Tabet / Alien Property, and Spiritual Pop: Art in 1960s Iran.


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She received a PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University for a dissertation titled Modern Egyptian Art: Site, Commodity, Archive, 1891-1948 and was awarded the inaugural Irmgard Coninx Prize Fellowship at the Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin (2014-2015) for postdoctoral research on the relationship between efforts to decolonise art in the Arab world and the Third World Liberation Movement. Khayat has played a significant role in the expansion and internationalisation of the art market in the Middle East, having been integral in developing Christie’s Dubai since its inception in 2007. Along with lecturing on Arab art history and the market throughout the region since 2010, she has co-curated at Christie’s a number of events.

This includes two in Abu Dhabi, including Best of Best, juxtaposing for the first time in Abu Dhabi works of art by Middle Eastern artists, next to Impressionist works, and Opening the Doors where many collectors were encouraged to share works form their private collections, along with a small salon of the Egyptian artist Mahmoud Said (1897-1964).

uae artist  Emirati artist Abdul Qader Al Rais.

Gumpert has been Director of the Grey Art Gallery, New York University’s fine arts museum, since 1997. She previously worked as a writer, consultant, and independent curator, organising shows in New York, Japan, and France. From 1980 to 1988 she was curator and senior curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. Carver oversees Art Jameel’s work across heritage, education and the arts, and the management of two institutions - Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai, which opened in 2018 and Hayy: Creative Hub, Jeddah, set to launch in 2021. She was previously Director of Art Dubai (2010-2016). During her tenure, the annual event expanded, becoming the leading international fair for the Middle East and South Asia, and the world’s most global, with an extraordinarily diverse not-for-profit programme.

Based in the UAE since 2001, she has written extensively on art and film for international and regional publications, and also edited books and journals. She was part of the founding team of Dubai International Film Festival (2004-2011) and in 2004, joined Bidoun as an editor and later became the director of the Middle Eastern arts organisation’s projects division.

Prior to moving to the UAE, she was based in London, where she served a number of roles, including as an editor at Phaidon Press; in development and projects at the Institute of International Visual Arts (Iniva) and in publishing at G+B Arts International. She graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a Master’s in Social Anthropology in 1994.

Sikorski is an art researcher currently specialising in modern art history of the Arabian Gulf region. In 2016 she founded Mid East Art, a digital art platform that acts as both an art historical archive and online periodical featuring a comprehensive coverage of interviews and exhibition reviews in film and texts of artists from the Middle East. She received a Fulbright Scholarship to the United Arab Emirates in 2016-2017 and is currently a Junior Specialist at Christie’s in Dubai for their Middle Eastern Modern & Contemporary art department. She received her Bachelor’s Degree at Fordham University in New York in Middle East Studies and completed her thesis on UAE Art History since the 1970s. Her projects have included being assistant curator to the 35th Annual Emirates Fine Art Society exhibition (2016-2017) that opened at Sharjah Art Museum in 2018 and she has published encyclopedia entries of Emirati artists for Oxford University Press’ Benezit Dictionary of Artists. Her interviews and reviews are also featured in Canvas, ArtAsiaPacific, The National, Tribe and Harper’s Bazaar Art Arabia.


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