Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Art Dubai announced today a partnership with the Misk Art Institute, which will materialise in a variety of ways and in different sections across the fair. These will include an exclusive partnership with the Misk Art Institute for Art Dubai’s Modern section, including dedicated sessions in Art Dubai’s Modern Symposium; a non-selling exhibition celebrating Modern art from the region entitled That Feverish Leap into the Fierceness of Life, curated by Dr. Till Fellrath and Dr. Sam Bardaouil; as well as an exclusive preview screening of Reframe Saudi, a Virtual Reality film on contemporary art in Saudi Arabia.

Founded in 2017, the Misk Art Institute was established to encourage artistic production in Saudi Arabia, seeking to establish strong connections with the Kingdom’s artistic past through documenting and recording cultural histories from Saudi Arabia and the wider region, while enabling cultural diplomacy and exchange, and being an artist-centred cultural innovator.

The partnership and its physical manifestations at Art Dubai aim to strengthen and celebrate some of the objectives that Misk Art Institute and the fair have in common; education on art from the region, creating a platform for the regional cultural scene, and acting as an ambassador for Modern and Contemporary art alike.

Art Dubai Director Myrna Ayad commented: “We are delighted to partner with the Misk Art Institute, an organisation which shares our support for educational initiatives in the arts and culture sector. No doubt, Misk’s activations in both the Contemporary hall by way of VR presentations, and the Modern hall through its support of the exhibition, That Feverish Leap into the Fierceness of Life, will augment the overall visitor experience to the fair.”

Ahmed Mater, Director of the Misk Art Institute added: “It feels particularly fitting to forge this partnership through the presentation of Art Dubai Modern. When considered in the context of wider Arab visual arts narratives, both the Misk Art Institute and Art Dubai are relatively young, yet it is through these historical channels that we have come together. Though we are newly inaugurated, our focus does not depart from the past; instead, we embrace regional art histories and cultural archives as the substantial and essential foundations of sustainable future growth. In many ways, the very existence of our institution is predicated on the strength, understanding and preservation of these cultural narratives – with them, we can build new, rooted stories for the future.

About That Feverish Leap into the Fierceness of Life

The exhibition That Feverish Leap into the Fierceness of Life surveys five modernist artist groups and schools spanning five decades in five Arab cities: the Contemporary Art Group in Cairo (1940s/1950s), the Baghdad Group for Modern Art (1950s), the Casablanca School of Art (1960s/70s), The Khartoum School (1960s/70s), and Dar Al-Funoon Al-Saudia in Riyadh (1980s). It derives its title from the 1951 founding manifesto of the Baghdad Group for Modern Art, reflecting these artists’ passionate contributions to modernism within their respective socio-political contexts. By highlighting the contradictions, as well as the similarities between these groups, the show reveals the diverse expressions of modernism across the Arab world. The exhibition is curated by Dr. Sam Bardaouil and Dr. Till Fellrath, founders of Art Reoriented, chairmen of the Montblanc Cultural Foundation, and Guest Curators of Art Dubai’s Selection Committee. The exhibition consists of 75 paintings and works on paper by 29 artists assembled from 25 lenders across 15 cities, and is accompanied by a fully illustrated bilingual English / Arabic catalogue with texts by 5 leading scholars. Dr. Nada Shabout, Professor of Art History and Coordinator of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Initiative (CAMCSI) at the University of North Texas and member of the Art Dubai Modern Advisory Committee, acted as academic advisor. This non-selling exhibition is presented by Art Dubai Modern, and is generously supported by the MiSK Art Institute.

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