For several decades, London has been a key meeting point for artists and art professionals from the Middle East, with key institutions offering a vital platform to both showcase new work and tell previously untold histories thorough acquisitions, exhibitions, and public programming. What are the current trends emerging from the region and what is on the horizon?
- Princess Alia Al-Senussi (PhD, Cultural Strategist)
- Zineb Sedira (Artist)
- Maliha Tabari (Founder, Tabari Artspace)
- Selma Feriani (Selma Feriani Gallery)
- Moderated by: Laura Egerton
Princess Alia Al-Senussi, PhD, is a cultural strategist, arts patron and academic. Her interests are in the field of cultural diplomacy and soft power, as well as social change through art. Dr Alia has long served as Art Basel's UK and MENA Representative and in 2019 she was appointed Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Culture, Saudi Arabia, where she was integral to the development of the Diriyah Biennale and focuses on international partnerships whilst working on a variety of projects across the Ministry’s commissions. She also holds a number of non-profit board and committee positions, working with organisations across the world such as Tate, Guggenheim and Delfina Foundation.
Over the fifteen years of her practice, Zineb Sedira has enriched the debate around the concepts of modernism, modernity and its manifestations in an inclusive way. She has also raised awareness of artistic expression and the contemporary experience in North Africa. The artist’s experience of living between cultures—in Algeria where her parents are from, in France where she grew up, and in England where she has lived and worked since 1986—has always informed her work. She makes films that blend autobiography, fiction, and documentary to invoke broader questions about individual and collective memories and identity, which have often focused on the connecting and dividing lines between Europe and Africa. Represented by galerie kamel mennour (Paris) and The Third Line (Dubai), Sedira is in this year’s Venice Biennale - significantly, the first artist of Algerian descent selected to represent France.
Maliha Tabari is the founding director Tabari Artspace. Based in Dubai, for the last two decades, Tabari Artspace gallery has played a vital role in connecting international audiences and institutions to the modern and contemporary art of the MENA region. Grounded in the notion that art has the capacity to dismantle borders, foster new ways of knowing and stimulate cross-cultural understanding, Tabari Artspace gallery forms a bridge between worlds, a platform pioneering a diverse roster of exhibitions at the intersection of the local and the global.
Selma Feriani established her eponymous gallery in early 2013 in Tunis. Over the years, Selma Feriani Gallery has set up critically and publicly successful exhibitions and has played a vital role in connecting international audiences and institutions to modern and contemporary art from North Africa. As founding director, Feriani aims to discover exceptional young artists and support their career development over the long term. The guiding principles in selecting an artist have been an instinctive conviction about the importance or potential of their work and a perception that they are leaders within their chosen field of endeavour. Additionally, through the recently-inaugurated L'Atelier at Selma Feriani Gallery, artists are invited from across the globe to spend time in Tunisia, research, and develop site-specific projects. The initiatives established by Feriani foster a connection between places and become a meeting point for artists.
Laura Egerton is a freelance writer, editor and arts educator based in London and holds MAs in the History of Art from Cambridge University and the Courtauld Institute of Art. After a year at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, she relocated to Dubai, UAE, her base from 2006-2019 where she became closely involved in the development of arts communities in the Emirates as part of the founding team behind Art Dubai, project managing symposia at Louvre Abu Dhabi, delivering educational programming for Art Dubai, Alserkal Avenue and the Jameel Arts Centre as well as writing for leading publications. Most recently she has developed resources for Misk Art Institute in Riyadh and 21,39 in Jeddah and is Editor-at-Large for My Art Guides, Venice.