I read an interesting article recently in The Sunday Times about the emerging art world in the Middle East.
Despite the major economic crisis hitting Dubai, the Gulf is now aiming to become an emerging artistic power between the East and the West. Oil-rich sheikhs are using their wealth to acquire something hard to price and buy: Culture.
Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Dubai are spending $100bn into galleries and museums, to put their cities on the art world map and to attract local and international visitors.
Prestigious architects, such as IM Pei, Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel, Sir Norman Foster, Franck Gehry are using their knowledge and expertise to build grandiose structures with vast open spaces to display the most famous collections of the Louvre or the Guggenheim.
The point of these fantastic cultural projects is to change Western perceptions of Islam and Islam’s perception of the West.
Besides hosting exhibitions of the Western art, let’s hope the new museums will also help young artists of the Middle East such as Rokni Haerizadeh, Jeffar Khaldi or Sara Rahbar to reach international market.
After great modern buildings will modern art also grow in the desert? Let’s all hope so.