ART PROFESSIONALS ART INDUSTRY APPOINTMENTS MIDDLE EASTERN ART INDUSTRY
Antonia Carver, an arts writer and administrator who is often credited with pushing contemporary Middle Eastern art into the limelight, has been named Fair Director of Art Dubai. She succeeds co-founder John Martin, who remains on the fair’s board.
Carver has been living in Dubai for the past eight years and is currently editor-at-large of Bidoun Magazine and director of Bidoun Projects. She has been a member of this renowned Middle Eastern arts organisation since its founding in 2004 and will remain on their board.
Officials from the fair say that they plan to work closely with the Sharjah Biennale to raise the international awareness of artists from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia as they expand into those regions. Recently there has been a surge in contemporary art in the Middle East, as wealthy locals have flocked to international and regional art fairs, snapping up works along the way.
“Any fair is ultimately a place to do business, but Art Dubai is also one of the city’s premier cultural events. We’re continuing with the Global Art Forum and projects, as well as educational events, and there’s more to come. At the last fair I was the director of Bidoun Projects: we commissioned projects such as artist Daniel Bozhkov’s ‘World’s Fastest Tour of Art Dubai’. We want to continue with these types of events – they’re different to what other fairs do and they’re a way to help audiences interact with the work.”
She has a deep knowledge and understanding of Middle Eastern contemporary art although, as she states in a 2008 interview with ForYourArt, this is a term only recently coined:
“Dubai has – dramatically – established itself as a commercial art capital in the last 2-3 years. This has meant that for the first time, in commercial terms at least, it’s possible to refer to ‘Middle Eastern art,’ and compare this nascent market with India, China, Latin America, and so on.”
“There’s never been such a level of international interest in the region and its art and culture. There is a new maturity in the market with a group of young Emirati and UAE-based collectors who are interested in how the market works and are looking at international as well as regional artists.”
Carver graduated in 1994 and since then has worked in publishing and the arts in Sydney, Australia and London. She was a correspondent for The Art Newspaper and has contributed to journals, newspapers and exhibition catalogues worldwide. As a film curator, she is a member of the programming teams for the Dubai International Film Festival and Edinburgh International Film Festival, specialising in Arab and Iranian cinema.
- Xu Zhen takes on Middle Eastern identities and cultures as new artists’ collective alias MadeIn at the Ikon Gallery, UK – June 2010 – an almost review-style overview of this unique exhibition
- Abu Dhabi Art – a major new art calendar event just announced – July 2009 – interesting excerpts from the press release announcement
- Where is the Sharjah Art Museum heading? – Manal Ataya, Sharjah Museum’s director – June 2009 – tidbits from a video interview with The Art Museum
- How art from half of Asia has been missed – interview with Leeza Ahmady ACAW director – May 2009 – a fascinating Art Radar interview about getting the Middle East on the Asian art map
- Art Dubai 2009 – who sold what to whom? 15 galleries talk to Art Radar – March 2009 – direct quotes from attending gallerists on prices and popularity