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06 June 2023

Corporates step in to promote art

By Keith J Fernandez




Art Dubai is like your classic art fair: artists of all hues are passionately holding forth on issues close to their heart, gallerists are discussing the art world’s dirty tricks over a cup of coffee, and in a darkened courtyard by the Creek, students and hangers-on gather to watch documentaries.


The story that is being overlooked, however, is how the corporate world intersects with the colourful, arty set. And it goes beyond the Dubai International Financial Centre’s association with the event.


Abraaj Capital, the premier investment firm specialising in private equity investment in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, has announced an art prize that provides an opportunity for up to five artists from the region to work alongside established curators and showcase individual exhibitions of their work at next year’s fair.
“As the Middle East and Asia’s art landscape continues to develop exponentially, the timing is ideal to foster more international understanding about contemporary pieces being produced in the region. By working with an internationally acclaimed curator, the Abraaj Capital Art prize will enable artists to broaden their international reputation and network, as well as develop their work through collaboration,” said Frederic Sicre, executive director at Abraaj Capital.


Visitors will also be the first in the world to view the Credit Suisse Art & Entrepreneurship exhibition that is set to tour London, New York, Moscow and Milan, before being auctioned in London later this year.


Nineteen contemporary artists were tasked with translating core values of entrepreneurship based on a Credit Suisse client survey – vision, knowledge, network, family and social responsibility – into works of art.


The results range from video installations to sculpture, mixed media projects, oil paintings, watercolours and photographs and highlight the risks and rewards of today’s contemporary art undertakings, as well as the confluence of art and entrepreneurship globally.  “With the Middle East being one of the bank’s key growth markets, Credit Suisse is especially pleased to start the exhibition tour in Dubai, in homage to those who drive forward this region’s prosperity: the entrepreneurs,” said Bruno Daher, Co-CEO of the Middle East and Head of Private Banking Middle East/Indian Subcontinent. 


All of this is over and above the Global Art Forum: 2, held earlier this week, which had Art & Patronage in the Business Age as its theme. It brought together 50 of the global art community’s most respected curators, collectors, and artists to debate and advance discussion on the confluence of art and commerce.


Art Dubai. Runs until tomorrow at the Madinat Jumeirah. From noon to 8pm daily, tickets are priced at Dh50. Call 04 342 2395 or log on to artdubai.ae.