Myrna Ayad is to be new Fair Director, while current Director Antonia Carver will stay as Board-level advisor and become Director of Art Jameel.

Independent arts writer, editor and consultant Myrna Ayad takes the role of Antonia Carver as Fair Director, leading a new senior management team at Art Dubai. Antonia Carver, while still functioning as a Board-level advisor to the art fair, will become Director of Art Jameel in August 2016.

From left to right: Art Dubai International Director Pablo Del Val, Art Dubai Fair Director Myrna Ayad, Art Dubai Board-level advisory memberand Art Jameel Director Antonia Carver, and VIP Relations Director Lela Csaky. Image courtesy Art Dubai.

From left to right: Art Dubai International Director Pablo Del Val, Art Dubai Fair Director Myrna Ayad, Art Dubai Board-level advisory memberand Art Jameel Director Antonia Carver, and VIP Relations Director Lela Csaky. Image courtesy Art Dubai.

On 25 April 2016, two important announcements signalled significant developments for two of the most important institutions in the Middle East.

The premiere Middle Eastern art fair, Art Dubai, announced the appointment of a new Fair Director (PDF download) from 1 May 2016 – Lebanese independent arts writer, editor and consultant Myrna Ayad. Ayad will be leading a new senior management team composed of VIP Relations Director Lela Csaky and International Director Pablo Del Val. Current Fair Director Antonia Carver will step down to take up a Board-level advisory role.

At the same time, Art Jameel announced Antonia Carver as its first Director from August 2016, ushering in a new chapter of development and growth for the organisation.

Art Dubai’s new management

Myrna Ayad (b. 1977, Beirut) has been based in the UAE for more than 30 years, working as an independent arts writer, editor and consultant. She has written for The New York Times, The Art Newspaper, Artsy, Art Forum, Artnet and The National, among others, and has published books on major collections and art movements in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Prior to become Art Dubai’s Fair Director, Ayad was Editor of Canvas, the premier magazine for art and culture from the Middle East and Arab world (2007-2015). Her new appointment will bring to fruition her particular leverage in the local/regional arts scenes.

Ayad commented on her new role, as quoted in the press release:

I’m overjoyed to be joining Art Dubai which – thanks to the ambitions of Antonia and the team – has become the world’s foremost platform for the art communities of the Middle East and South Asia. Having attended and worked with the fair since 2007, I’m excited by the opportunity to work with the team to build on this success.

Working closely alongside Ayad will be two new important figures, VIP Relations Director Lela Csaky and International Director Pablo Del Val.

Lela Csaky joined the Art Dubai team in 2007, first managing the Global Art Forum and then playing an essential role in the building of Art Dubai’s Outreach & VIP departments, overseeing the annual Gulf-wide VIP Programme and strategic relationships with collectors, curators and international museum groups.

Pablo Del Val comes with decades of experience as a cultural manager, curator and director of contemporary art galleries around the world. He was a pivotal figure for the growth of Mexico’s art fair ZONA MACO, which has become known as one of the most important meeting points in Latin America. He will be based between London and Dubai, to maximize the global reach of the fair to the international community of galleries, curators and collectors.

Myrna Ayad, Director, Art Dubai. Photo: Abbi Kemp. Image courtesy Art Dubai.

Myrna Ayad, Director, Art Dubai. Photo: Abbi Kemp. Image courtesy Art Dubai.

Art Jameel’s first Director

Antonia Carver steps down from her current role as Art Dubai’s Fair Director after six years, remaining as Board-level advisor, while becoming Art Jameel’s first Director from August 2016. In Art Dubai’s press release, Carver was quoted as saying:

While I leave with a heavy heart, it’s been an honour to lead the fair for the past six years […]. The development of Art Dubai and the strength of its programming has gone hand-in-hand with the growth of the local and regional arts scene, and the increased international recognition for its artists, galleries and institutions. There has never been such a palpable engagement from the global arts community in the work being produced by artists emerging and established in the Middle East and South Asia – and we’re really proud of the role played by Art Dubai in this process.

Art Jameel aims to foster and promote a thriving arts and culture scene within the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey region and beyond, as well as to bridge the gap between cultures through art. Carver will be leading all of Art Jameel’s initiatives, furthering and strengthening existing partnerships with leading institutions such as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In addition to her strong experience developing at Art Dubai, Carver also brings invaluable knowledge and skills built during her time as writer, editor and publisher, as well as curator in the Middle Eastern art scene, where she played a role in establishing and curating the Dubai International Film Festival as a member of its programming committee (2004-2014). She has been based in the UAE since 2001, moving there from London.

Carver was quoted in the press release as saying about her new role with Art Jameel:

I feel Art Jameel’s mandate, and its focus on enriching, connecting and further educating regional talent, is crucial and has such huge potential. This, complimented by the wider Community Jameel efforts in promoting positive social and economic sustainability, through job creation initiatives and fostering entrepreneurship, is inspirational. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Art Jameel to build new institutions, devise publishing projects and educational initiatives, and work with renowned international partners to deliver programs that directly benefit and impact on artists, writers, curators and arts communities in the region.

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia

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Related Topics: Fairs, Directors, Antonia Carver, Business of Art, Professionals, events in Dubai

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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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