Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation’s Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy has in the past two weeks acquired pieces worth more than AED1.5 million created by emerging and established Emirati artists.
The next phase of the project will involve the Ministry procuring artwork by long-time residents. “We want to lend our support to everyone who is part of the country’s rich artistic ecosystem,” Minister of State Zaki Nusseibeh said.
Nusseibeh pointed out that, with so many galleries and museums closed, now is a good time for those who can support the arts to do so.
“With the cancellation of the many art events that were scheduled to take place this season, we wanted to send a message of solidarity to our artists,” Nusseibeh said, adding that the artwork will also play an important part in the UAE’s cultural diplomacy abroad.
While the works of art will find a home at UAE embassies and missions across the world, they will first be put on display at Alserkal Avenue within the next month in an online exhibition.
“In its initial phase, the Ministry has procured artwork for 10 embassies,” Nusseibeh said. “But we will continue until the majority of UAE embassies exhibit Emirati artwork.”
The initiative, which has been given the informal title Artists in Embassies, was launched under the directive of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed.
“With the recent pandemic, we wanted to realise and announce this project,” Nusseibeh, who is overseeing the initiative, explained. “It is a message that demonstrates our deep appreciation and support for the local arts and acknowledges that they are a critical part of the national identity.”
The initiative is a help to many local artists and galleries during a time of uncertainty, though the idea of populating UAE embassies with local artwork has been in the works since 2018.
“We set up a committee with historians, curators and art experts to get a varied take on which artwork to procure,” Nusseibeh says, adding that the committee sought to amass a set of works that best represented the diverse artistic traditions of the Emirates.
“We also consulted with diplomats to get a better understanding of every country’s artistic landscape and their respective sensibilities to know which embassy was best for each artwork.”
Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs