Art Dubai 2018: Big diary date for art curators, collectors and enthusiasts

Amba Sayal-Bennett, Tumnus, (2017) in the Contemporary Hall. (Photo courtesy: Carbon 12)
Updated 20 March 2018

Art Dubai 2018: Big diary date for art curators, collectors and enthusiasts

DUBAI: Art lovers, curators, collectors and enthusiasts are rejoicing as the biggest and most globally diverse art fair is set to open from March 21 to 24 at Madinat Jumeirah. Under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Art Dubai’s lineup this year will feature a record 104 galleries from 47 countries. Art lovers can enjoy unique and new contemporary artists and a significant contingent of returning galleries.
Founded in 2007, it’s become one of the leading international fairs in the arts calendar and features a great range of galleries in one setting. Imagine a compiled list of the most prominent art galleries from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Kolkata, India to Turin, Italy and more, all in one fair over three days. This year will feature new first-time participants from Iceland, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan alongside the returning 77 galleries.
Jesús Bubu Negrón, Ethnographic Abstractions (2016) in the Contemporary Hall. (Photo courtesy: Henrique Faria)
Jesús Bubu Negrón, Ethnographic Abstractions (2016) in the Contemporary Hall. (Photo courtesy: Henrique Faria)tion

“For our 2018 edition, we will be launching Residents, a pioneering and unique platform that brings together different energies, synergies, geographies and artistic practices which aren’t usually seen together in one place,” said Pablo del Val, Art Dubai’s artistic director.
Art Dubai’s halls are divided into three main halls, Contemporary, Modern and, for the first time, Residents.
Art Dubai’s Contemporary’s diversity is signified by its strong representation from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. Galleries include Selma Feriani Gallery (Tunis, London), Gypsum Gallery (Cairo), Artwin Gallery (Moscow), Artside Gallery (Seoul), Gallery One (Ramallah), the Athr Gallery Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Gallery 57 from Accra, Ghana, among others.
The artists range from household names to new, up-and-coming artists with a wide range of artistic media: painting, drawing, installations, photography and more.
Art Dubai’s Modern will feature a record-breaking 16 galleries exhibiting artists from 14 countries. Participating galleries will present renowned Modernists from the Middle East such as Gebran Tarazi, Abdel Hadi El-Gazzar, Hamed Abdalla and others. Leading Modernists from South Asia include Zahoor ul Akhlaq, Anwar Jalal Shemza and M.F. Husain, while notable African Modernists will include Mohammed Naghi, Reinata Sadimba, Ernesto Shikhani and more.
Zohra Opoku, Debie, (2017) in the Residents Hall. (Photo courtesy: Zohra Opoku and Mariane Ibrahim Gallery)Caption

Art Dubai’s Director Myrna Ayad said: “It’s very exciting for us to witness the growing appreciation of modern masters from the region and we are pleased to be the only platform in the world to showcase these museum-quality pieces in our largest ever Modern section, which has been the most oversubscribed to date. Serving as an educational platform and theoretical framework for the works on show, Art Dubai Modern will be accompanied by our second annual Modern Symposium at the fair this year.”
For its 12th edition, Art Dubai is presenting a gallery to showcase its 11 solo gallery presentations by artists who took part in their residency program. The program’s aims are to support artists by giving them a platform to develop their practice and create new bodies of work, inspired and influenced by their stay in the UAE. Their work will be presented by the artists’ respected galleries in a special exhibition accompanied by a range of public events and open studios hosted by the residency spaces.
Art Dubai aims to create a dialogue, engage socially in matters of art and, more importantly, educate on the significance of art in our everyday lives. Dubai is an international melting-pot and a capital for art creators, curators and directors from all over the world to meet and present their finest to the public, all in one place.
Jules de Balincourt, Valley Pool Party (2016) in the Contemporary Hall. (Photo courtesy: The artist and Victoria Miro Gallery)Caption

King Abdul Aziz Public Library showcases Arab, Islamic heritage

Updated 21 April 2019

King Abdul Aziz Public Library showcases Arab, Islamic heritage

  • The library has 8,571 books and more than 5,000 manuscripts, documents, coins and rare maps
  • The library has an archive of photographs, one of the rarest collections in the world

RIYADH: King Abdulaziz Public Library provides a key index of Saudi culture, presenting the world with a rich legacy of cultural, historical and literary diversity.

On World Heritage Day, April 18, the library highlighted its efforts in preserving cultural heritage, which makes it one of the most important libraries in the Arab and Islamic world. It possesses a variety of heritage treasures in manuscripts, documents, rare books, coins and photographs. The library has 8,571 books and more than 5,000 manuscripts, documents, coins and rare maps.

The library has established a knowledge-based space to produce large collections of specialized books on the history of the Kingdom and in the Arab and Islamic worlds while continuing to use its knowledge system in line with Vision 2030 and the cultural strategy of the Ministry of Culture.

The library’s special holdings consist of manuscripts, rare books, rare documents, rare maps, rare photographs and coins. These form an integrated picture and are characterized by rare historical scenes that stimulate research.

The library established the Manuscripts Department in 1988 to contribute to the preservation of Arab and Islamic heritage and make it available to researchers and investigators. The department has more than (4,400) original manuscripts in addition to more than (700) photocopies and microfilms, including the charts of the Institute of History of Arabic and Islamic Sciences at the University of Frankfurt. More than 3,500 manuscripts have been indexed and filed in the computer system.

The library in Riyadh, the pioneer in publishing heritage, has digitized all of its manuscripts — more than two million of them — and stored them on CDs.

The library contains a collection of rare books of ancient and rare European editions, consisting of 78 books on the biography of the Prophet Muhammad. The collection also includes 113 translated books in ancient European languages of the Holy Qur’an, as well as 55 books on Qur’anic studies and 54 books on Islamic sources. This collection represents the beginnings of European interest in the Holy Qur’an and its studies. The library acquired a collection of Arabic editions printed in Europe in 1592-1593. These editions are part of the library’s interest in the original Arab and Islamic heritage. They include rare books such as The Canon of Medicine by Avicenna, Rhetoric Mysteries by Abd Al-Qahir Al-Jurjani, a commentary on the “Isagoge” by Abu l-Faraj at-Tayyib, The Perfect Guide to the Sciences of the Qur’an by Jalal Al-Din Al Suyuti, as well as 8,271 rare Arabic indexed books.

The library hosts a number of private collections, including that of the American orientalist George Rantz. This collection has many books, manuscripts, maps and rare documents, containing books in Arabic and 3,265 books in foreign languages. It also has the collection of Hamza Boubakeur, dean of the Islamic Institute and former imam of Paris Mosque. It is an integrated collection with 17,170 titles of 19,821 volumes of periodicals, newspapers, manuscripts, documents, newspaper clippings, rare books and books in Arabic, French, English, German and Russian. It includes books on scientific and religious sciences, and tourist literature that describes countries, their heritage, customs and traditions, and is linked to Saudi Arabia, the Arabian Gulf and the Islamic world.

The library has an archive of photographs, one of the rarest collections in the world, with a total of 5,564 single original photographs or collections in albums, taken by the most famous photographers of the East and the Arab world since the beginning of photography in 1740, as well as photographs taken by travelers, sea captains, military personnel, envoys, consuls and politicians who visited the region from the middle of the last century until the beginning of this century. This archive of photographs is one of the most unique in the world.

The library has 365 photographs of the two Holy Mosques with previously unpublished negatives. These photographs were taken by the Egyptian international photographer Ahmad Pasha Helmi, who was commissioned by King Farouk to photograph the two Holy Mosques during the visit of King Abdul Aziz to Makkah and Medina, in addition to a collection of albums depicting the Hijaz railway and other parts of the Kingdom.

Official and non-official documents are important scientific materials in the writing of history. Nations rely on collecting their documents, archiving them and making them available for study. The library in Riyadh has been keen to acquire rare documents and books, especially on the history of King Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the history of Saudi Arabia, and to allocate a special section for them. These documents include:

George Rantz records: in English, French and Arabic, covering the period from 1930 to 1960.
Documents of the Egyptian and Arab press on the visit of King Abdul Aziz to Egypt.
Documents of the American press about King Saud’s visit to the US.
Documents on oil agreements between the Kingdom and some American companies.
Documents of the British press regarding the war between the British forces and the forces of the Sultan of Muscat and Oman against the forces of the imam of Oman, and the effects of this war on the region and the position of the Saudi state and King Saud of this war.
Abdul Rahman Azzam’s collection of documents (in Arabic and English) covering the period from 1925 to 1960.
Correspondence reflecting the assistance provided by Saudi Arabia to the Mosque of Paris and Makkah pilgrims.
The British collection of documents on King Abdul Aziz Al Saud (English), covering the period from 1800 to 1953. These are photocopies of the original documents and constitute one of the most important sources of the history of the Arabian Peninsula.
Khair Al-Din Al-Zarkali’s collection of documents: (in Arabic) covering the period from 1920 to 1975.
The library also has 700 rare maps, especially of the Arabian Peninsula, dating from 1482. The library has acquired more than 7,600 rare gold, silver and bronze coins, dating back to different Islamic times.

World Heritage Day was proposed by the International Council of Monuments and Sites on April 18, 1982 and approved by UNESCO in 1983 with the aim of promoting awareness of the importance of cultural heritage and protecting it.