Saturday, January 16, 2021

New Abu Dhabi art centre sets to reshape ‘historical narrative’

ABU DHABI – A recently opened Arab art centre in Abu Dhabi hopes to reshape the region’s art history narrative and provide cutting edge research opportunities for experts in the field.

The Arab Center for the Study of Art, opened in New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus, aims to use a multi-disciplinary approach to better contextualise Arab visual arts in Asia and North Africa. The centre will put on events, produce research on Arab art history and organise an art residency programme that provides opportunities for innovative work in the field.

The project, led by Professor Shamoon Zamir, examines the histories and contemporary practices of photography in Western Asia and North Africa. (NYUAD)
The project, led by Professor Shamoon Zamir, examines the histories and contemporary practices of photography in Western Asia and North Africa. (NYUAD)

Arab and contemporary art history expert Salwa Mikdadi has been named to direct the centre, and will be joined by professors May Al Dabbagh, and Shamoon Zamir, who will each spearhead separate focus areas.

Mikdadi said the institution is a way for the region to bring a fresh perspective to the rich history of Arab art.

”We need to set our own standards, our own historical narrative about this region, from this region”, Mikdadi told The National. ”We’re looking at revising the canon of art history in this region.”

The Mawrid section, headed by Mikdadi, seeks to develop new frameworks to study visual arts in the region.

Haraka: Experimental Lab for Arab Art and Social Thought, led by Dabbagh, utilises social science to study cultural and knowledge shifts in the region.

Haraka: Experimental Lab for Arab Art and Social Thought, is led by Professor May Al-Dabbagh. (NYUAD)
Haraka: Experimental Lab for Arab Art and Social Thought, is led by Professor May Al-Dabbagh. (NYUAD)

Zamir leads Akkasah, a sprawling photography archive and research body on the photography of the region and contemporary practices.

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