Many worlds, one mission: Sabrina Catabelle champions art globally - GulfToday

Many worlds, one mission: Sabrina Catabelle champions art globally

Sabrina 11

Stef Kai’s composition Magic Garden spotlighted by Sabrina Catabelle.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

French national Sabrina Catabelle has nearly a decade of experience in the art field and also in the public relations associated with it. She was a consultant in Europe and the USA (2018 – 2020), organising exhibitions in Bel-Air Gallery London, Empire State Building Lobby NYC, Suite Sandra & Co during Cannes Festival and collaborating with auction house Louis Cornette de Saint Cyr.

She was also involved in public relations, including networking, representing artists in galleries and fairs and creating digital content on social media (Instagram, TikTok). She was the curator of French artist Johann Perathoner’s works. Since 2020, she has organised four artistic events in La Cantine du Faubourg restaurant and Novotel Healthcare City Dubai; curated an art talk with the French Embassy to the UAE (2023) with ten artists, including Anwar Rouane, Sylvia Ong and A. Van Djuin; collaborated with Le Louvre Abu Dhabi Boutique, which involved customisation of souvenir items by Ihab Ahmad; developed sales strategies for the secondary market; and also planned a fashion event in Alserkal Avenue involving British fashion designer and couturier Alexander McQueen’s Summer Fall bags collection launch. As Public Relations Manager (Executive Level) at UNESCO, Paris (2015 – 2018), she was in charge of heritage promotion and organised the annual exhibition for the Group V: Art and Culture in Africa, among other responsibilities. A member of Dubai Business Women Council (Dubai Chamber of Commerce), she is a popular face at Emirati art events, is a regular attendee at ballet and opera happenings, and enjoys tennis and classical dance.

Sabrina  2  Sabrina Catabelle is based in the UAE.

Sabrina Catabelle presents her answers to Gulf Today’s questions

How different is curating art in Paris and curating it in Dubai?

The art scene in Paris is totally different from the one in Dubai; the environment there is closed and leaves no room for originality. Curating art in Dubai means creating unique and fun artistic projects, where art is unexpected. There is everything to do — I am currently working on entertaining collaborations: a project that involves lab-grown diamonds in Dubai and customised scarfs … In France, art is part of everyone’s daily lives as it is part of history and it’s very important for the elite to invest in sculptures and paintings. Most people are quite informed and are familiar with the famous artistic movements and masterpieces. Parisians love to attend auction house sales, opening exhibitions, and when they walk in the street, they stop by a gallery spontaneously. In Dubai, I get people interested in art thanks to live painting occasions, art talks and exhibition inaugurals … it’s quite challenging, but people are becoming more and more interested in art.

What have been your achievements in the field of art in Dubai?

I represent 15 artists at the moment and have begun showcasing some of their pieces in Dubai. People can reach out and contact me to pay a visit and I provide all the details regarding their artistic journeys, technical methods, influence and the type of projects we can work on.

What are the highlights of your work so far?

I am very proud to source artists for exhibitions in La Cantine du Faubourg restaurant (Rikas Group) in Dubai. This French restaurant near DIFC serves divine dishes and the atmosphere is pleasant! It such an exciting long-term collaboration as we plan the marketing strategy together: menu covers, content for social media, framing and lighting of works, promoting the artist and sales ... The opening day of an exhibition is always a fun event, with live music and live painting; everyone enjoys the experience.

Which are your favourite artworks? Why do they find favour with you?

Claude Monet’s Nymphéas are definitely my favourite artworks; they are displayed in Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris; they seem like portals to Neverland! Capturing the complex relationships of water, reflections and light, Monet’s Nymphéas is a lovely meditation on the passage of a moment in time. Upon the surface of the waters, the lilies, each borne on a firm palette of leaves, seem to wait in peace for the coming of their own destiny. A fitting subject for deep thought.

Who is your most preferred artist in the UAE? Why do you like his work?

Local artists are very talented, especially Faisal Al Bastaki. His work reflects the rich culture and heritage of UAE. He paints realistic depictions of landscapes and portraits of places and individuals’ fleeting memories of the past. His goal is to immortalise old traditions and practices in his art and revive sceneries we rarely see today.

What more can be done to promote UAE/Arab art overseas?

There is not enough initiatives to highlight UAE/Arab artists in general; some private collections have been displayed, and they had beautiful and valuable Arabic masterpieces. I am thinking about the famous Al Thani exhibition in Musée de la Marine in Paris. There is currently a temporary exhibition in Musée des Arts Décoratifs, dedicated to Arab artists from April to August 2024, but I regret that UAE artists are not represented. It’s still only a little trend in Europe and US. I discovered their art only when I was travelling in the UAE and it’s a shame they are not getting their due. I think it would be a great idea to display them in a museum dedicated to this region such as Asian fine art in Musée Guimet. I would love to be in charge of promoting these artists overseas.

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