DUBAI: The art world has been dealt quite the blow as fairs, exhibitions, and other large-scale events are cancelled in response to the economic and health crisis brought on by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. Art professionals everywhere are still reeling from the effects, and this will undoubtedly continue for the months ahead. One foundation, however, has stepped up to the plate to ensure that creatives are not abandoned in this difficult time.
Art Jameel, the cultural and philanthropic arm of Saudi business conglomerate Abdul Latif Jameel, has recently launched the Art Jameel Research and Practice Platform. The platform opened its first round of applications on April 1 for artists, writers, curators and researchers based in the Middle East and North Africa. Online application will be available in three cycles through to June 7, 2020. The first deadline is on April 10, which allows for timely response to those most in need, followed by the second deadline on April 30. Proposals are considered by an independent jury, which will judge candidates according to pre-set criteria.
“Over the past few weeks, the Art Jameel team has listened to the arts community and brainstormed ways in which we can repurpose our budget to try to help, working alongside industry and government colleagues,” said director of Art Jameel, Antonia Carver, to Arab News.
“In our case, we decided to focus on artists, writers and curators and encourage them to continue working and to weather this storm,” she said. “We hope that the Research and Practice Platform, alongside Art Jameel’s other programs, will play a role in helping the arts scene survive, and even thrive.”
A significant amount of the art world workforce is composed of independent practitioners.
“This is true here in the MENA region as well as in other parts of the world,” said Rahul Gudipudi, curator at Art Jameel. “Even in the best of environments, independent and emerging artists have to put in a lot of effort in working towards supporting their practices in the long term. Given the current circumstances, with cancellations and with such a drop in opportunities across the world, the platform hopes to nurture some of these projects and the artists behind them who have fallen through or who need support in the coming months.”
Some artists living far from major cities may not have access to support from public and private infrastructures, and the platform remains committed to helping all in need during this time.
Visit the Art Jameel website for full details on the grants available.