Spring brought a very fruitful Art Dubai in March, when the city was buzzing with new shows and events. This year a special section was dedicated to Modern art, curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, in parallel with Art Dubai Modern Talks, closed industry sessions that Selections was honoured to cover. Having enjoyed extensive chats over the years with Hala Khayat, now regional director at Art Dubai, who has vast experience with Christie’s as a specialist in modern and contemporary Arab art, we dedicate this issue to discuss Modern Art and Artist Estates: Ways, Works and Archives. This issue wouldn’t have been made possible without Hala Khayat’s input and expertise in this subject.
We met with scholars who have been doing extensive research and investigation into specific artists to discuss their process and scope: Fatenn Mostafa Kanafani, founder of ArtTalks Egypt and art historian on modern Egyptian art, George Al-Ama, historian and founder of Dar Al Sabagh Diaspora Studies and Research Centre, and art historian Olga Nefedova, who focusses on researching Arab artists in the USSR.
We also approached Arab artist estates to find out how they started, their processes and plans. We noticed that many are not officially registered, either due to funding or personal choice, but rather act as an emotional connection to their relatives. We spoke to relatives of Paul Guiragossian, Mahmoud Hammad, Menhat Helmy, Hafidh AlDroubi and Huguette Caland, as well as gaining legal insights from lawyer Pierre El Khoury, who currently advises the Paul Guiragossian Foundation.
In this issue, we also talk to Charles Pocock, book collector and founder of Meem art gallery, which houses his extensive collection of books ranging from old manuscripts to the latest catalogues. We discuss the major highlights and research process with Dr Basel Dalloul, founder and director of the Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation in Lebanon, which is home to some of the most important artworks of Modern Arab art.
Throughout the issue, you will find works of modern Arab art selected by our participants that narrate the story of their time. We wish you a very happy read and hope this issue can shed light on parts of the art world that are not always under the immediate spotlight. The theme proved to be so complex that we have decided to bring you the content in two volumes. Follow us to get the second volume of this issue in September.