First Dubai Collection Nights aims to help art enthusiasts take first steps in collecting

It can be overwhelming at the start, but this week-long series is embracing newbies looking to dip into the culture of acquiring pieces

The first Dubai Collection Nights begins on Saturday. Photo: Dubai Collection
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For art enthusiasts, building a collection is both a way to express their passion for the field and help support the industry's ecosystem.

However, understanding how to start collecting art — or what direction you want your collection to take — can be daunting. This is especially true in the UAE, where the art world moves at rapid speed.

Starting on Saturday, Dubai Collection is holding the inaugural Dubai Collection Nights, an annual, week-long series of events. The programme offers members of the public the opportunity to explore and learn about important artworks, and understand the process of artists through studio visits. There will also be sessions designed to offer insight into the culture of collecting art. The locations of where each event will be held will be sent to guests after booking their place.

Dubai Collection, the city's first institutional collection of modern and contemporary art, helps engage communities with themes connected to the historical development of the UAE while focusing on artwork from the region.

Dubai Collection currently consists of artworks from more than 50 collections, gathered from 51 patrons including the personal collection of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, made by 301 artists of more than 40 nationalities.

The works are selected by a curatorial committee, and are then loaned to temporary exhibitions around the city, or made publicly accessible through Dubai Collection’s digital museum.

"The infrastructure and community for collecting art in the UAE continue to grow steadily," Benedetta Ghione, executive director of Dubai Collection partner Art Dubai, tells The National.

"The Dubai Collection Nights initiative was developed to offer a new platform for local audiences to gain insight into collecting practices, network within art circles and explore corporate collections and artist studios," Ghione adds.

The programme will also include panel discussions and film screenings. Here are some highlights to look out for.

Corporate collection visit: ARM Holding Collection Guided Tour

Guests will be able to take a tour of ARM Holding’s private art collection, which includes works from Colombian visual artist Ivan Argote, Syrian artist Tammam Azzam and French artist Xavier Veilhan. Guests also have the opportunity to learn about the organisation's vision to become a patron of the arts.

March 25, 3pm; March 31, 4pm

The Future of Institutional Collections: Perspectives From the Region

The panel discussion with representatives from different regional institutions will explore the process of developing new models for building publicly accessible art collections and the curatorial concerns specific to their contexts.

The panel will feature Taline N Boladian, co-director of the Beirut Museum of Art, Katia Vraimakis, acquisitions manager at the Royal Commission for AlUla, and Carlo Rizzo, Dubai Collection director.

March 25, 4pm

Artist Studio Visit: Abdul Qader Al Rais

Known for his abstract oil paintings and landscape watercolours, pioneering Emirati artist Abdul Qader Al Rais is opening the doors to his studio for an intimate sit-down with Hala Khayat, Art Dubai regional director. Guests can see his work up close and hear Al Rais share important moments of his artistic journey.

March 26, 9.30pm

The Art of Collecting

A group of collectors will share insight into their collecting practices. Sabih Ahmed, associate director and curator at Ishara Art Foundation, and Dubai Collection patrons Souheil Soueid and George Salamoun will discuss the role of collectors and how they set their strategies.

March 27, 4pm

Film Screening: Nujoom Al Ghanem’s Sharp Tools

Guests are invited to a private screening of Emirati artist and filmmaker Nujoom Al Ghanem’s film Sharp Tools on the Emirati artistic pioneer Hassan Sharif at Cinema Akil, followed by a Q&A session. The film gives an insight into Sharif’s life as one of the most influential artists, writers and critics in the history of Emirati art.

March 27, 8pm

Artist Studio Visit: Mohammed Kazem

Multidisciplinary Emirati artist Mohammed Kazem, who participated at the Lyon Biennale last year, will welcome guests to his studio — to explore his work video, sound art, photography and performance art.

March 28, 3pm

Artist Studio Visit: Safwan Dahoul

Living in Dubai, one of Syria’s most renowned contemporary artists Safwan Dahoul’s monochromatic and surreal figurative compositions have become instantly recognisable. Dahoul will sit down for a conversation about his practice following a tour of his studio.

March 29, 8pm

Dubai Collection Nights runs from March 25 to 31. All talks are free. More information is available at dubaicollection.ae

Updated: March 24, 2023, 3:20 PM