Q&A with Myrna Ayad, the director of Art Dubai 2017

How much do you think your journalistic background influences the way you will direct the fair moving forward?

As a journalist, you accumulate a lot of knowledge and I have been writing about art from the UAE for 15 years so I understand and I am fully aware of the trends, movements, key players, not just regionally but abroad, so that knowledge base is very important. Now, I am talking to the same people, but the conversations are different. I am really thankful for my experience and it also allowed me to join the team with a great sense of familiarity as this fair is not new to me.

How do you balance the commercial and cultural aspects of the fair?

Yes, Art Dubai is a commercial platform, for buyers and sellers whom we bring together, but there is so much more happening on that floor. We can’t only think about the commercial viability of the art works or the galleries, we must remember that we are contributing to the growth of the art scene and we have a responsibility to educate our visitors too.

How specifically, have you placed an emphasis on this?

We have a very strong non-profit programme, which this year is curated by Yasmina Reggad and is focused on performance art. This means, not will our visitors be surrounded by art but witnessing performance right in front of them. The gallery halls have also been tightly curated with a nice mix of solo and multi-artist presentations creating an interesting dialogue.

Why did you decide to start the Modern Symposium?

There is a dearth of historical reference when it comes to the Modern art history of these regions. We have been plagued by political and economic conflict and there is not enough literature or information and it is difficult to access

We initiated the symposium to bring individuals and institutions who have already contributed towards the knowledge gap together.

aseaman@thenational.com

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