The Dubai Collection gets an airing

At the A.R.M. Holding art collection

The Dubai Collection, the loaned collection of modern and contemporary art for the emirate of Dubai, has announced a series of events under the title Dubai Collection Nights. It’s due to become an annual week-long diary date, with its first edition due 25-31 March.

The Dubai Collection doesn’t have a permanent home (yet), tough some of its works – which are loaned from the private collections of individuals and institutions in the emirate – have been seen on short-term exhibition, notably the 2021 When Images Speak show at the Etihad Museum. The new initiative should provide some exposure for the Collection (or at least for a few of the major local artists represented in it) alongside some of the background thinking – notably the desire to foster a local ecosystem of collectors prepared to share the fruits of their labours.

They get the kudos of being seen to be public benefactors, the public gets the chance to see works that might otherwise be hidden from us, and Dubai adds another element to its positioning as a regional hub of culture.

“The line-up of activities is an important opportunity for our local audiences to see the collection and connect with Dubai-based artists and patrons,” said Benedetta Ghione, Executive Director of Art Dubai – which was instrumental in developing the concept and framework for the Dubai Collection and is obviously a major player in presenting Dubai as a centre for modern art.

Another prime mover in this is Dubai Culture, and the Dubai Collection’s Curatorial Committee is chaired by Muna Faisal Al Gurg, CEO for the Culture & Heritage Sector at Dubai Culture. For her the Dubai Collection Nights series aims “to offer a new platform for local audiences to explore the stories in the collection and connect our communities of artists, collectors, and art professionals” and “underscores Dubai Collection’s mission to build a community of committed patrons of the arts and ignite creativity across the city”.

The Dubai Collection Nights seems to have three types of events – guided tours of institutional collections, hour-long visits to the studios of leading local contemporary artists, and panel discussions – and confusingly not all of these take place at night. Attendance is free to the public; register on this link.

Still from Nujoom Al Ghanem’s Sharp Tools

Perhaps inevitably, however, spaces are limited, particularly for the visits. So the two guided tours of the A.R.M. Holding Collection are already fully booked, and so are the three studio visits (to Abdul Qader Al Rais, Mohammed Kazem, and Safwan Dahoul). When last we checked there were still places available for the two panel discussions and the screening of Nujoom Al Ghanem’s Sharp Tools, her intimate insight into the life and work of the late Hassan Sharif, arguably the most influential figure in contemporary art in the UAE (highly recommended by magpie).

The full schedule:

Saturday 25 March @ A.R.M. Holding Headquarters

  • 3-4pm Corporate Collection Visit: A.R.M. Holding Collection guided tour BOOKED OUT
  • 4-5pm Panel discussion: The future of institutional collections – perspectives from the region. Taline N. Boladian, co-director of the Beirut Museum of Art, and Katia Vraimakis, Acquisitions Manager at the Royal Commission for AlUla, are in conversation with Dubai Collection Director Carlo Rizzo.

Sunday 26 March

  • 9.30-10.30pm Artist Studio Visit: Abdul Qader Al Rais BOOKED OUT

Monday 27 March @ Alserkal Avenue

  • 4-5pm Panel Discussion: The Art of Collecting. Dubai Collection patrons Souheil Soueid and George Salamoun are joined by Sabih Ahmed, Curator at the Ishara Art Foundation, for a conversation with Hala Khayat, Regional Director of Art Dubai
  • 8-10pm Film: Sharp Tools (dir Nujoom Al Ghanem, 2017) at Cinema Akil. Followed by a Q&A with the director

Tuesday 28 March

  • 3-5pm Artist Studio Visit: Mohammed Kazem BOOKED OUT

Wednesday 29 March

  • 8-10pm Artist Studio Visit: Safwan Dahoul BOOKED OUT

Friday 31 March

  • 4-5pm Corporate Collection Visit: A.R.M. Holding Collection guided tour BOOKED OUT

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