Art Dubai: Talking cultural diplomacy with art
One night of art and ‘cultural diplomacy’ was held to complement a whole week of art as Dubai hosts its annual Art Dubai week.
Titled ‘A Night of Art’, the event was held at the US Consulate-General in Bur Dubai on Wednesday night. The consulate opened its doors to display the permanent pieces of art adorning the interiors.
One of the dozens of artists on display was Professor of Photography at the American University in Dubai, Roberto Lopardo. His work ‘Mapping Dubai’, a time sequence that shows one photo taken per minute in a 24-hour cycle in Media City — an epic of 1440 photos — takes pride of place in the consulate’s waiting room.
Another notable work on display is a grouping of seven vivid panels, each representing one of the seven UAE emirates, painted by Dr Najat Meki and displayed in the consulate’s atrium.
US Consul General Rob Waller was pleased to have Dr Meki and Lopardo at the consulate on Wednesday night to discuss their works with those in attendance.
Lopardo’s work, which sits in a lightbox, was commissioned by the Consulate General in 2011 to mark the American government’s 40-year relationship with the UAE. The artwork coincided with the opening of the new Consulate General in the same year.
Waller emphasised the role of art in diplomatic relations and cultural understanding — part of what is known as “cultural diplomacy”. “The United States places a great deal of emphasis on cultural diplomacy. For five decades, the Department of State’s Art in Embassies programme has played a leading role in US public diplomacy through a focused mission of vital cross-cultural dialogue and understanding through the visual arts and dynamic artist exchanges,” he said.
The Consulate General’s rich and diverse artworks are a testament to the relationship between the US and the UAE. “As we gather to celebrate Art Dubai, evidence of the importance the State Department places on cultural diplomacy is on full display at the US Consulate in Dubai this evening,” Waller said. The event at the consulate was widely attended by the art and diplomatic community in Dubai and included dozens of supporters of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, visiting Dubai for the first time to experience Art Dubai.
Art Dubai, which is part of the broader Art Week, also features panels on art and art history, architectural tours and an art collector’s programme, with most events taking place at Madinat Jumeirah.
Art Week also features events such as Design Days Dubai, UAE contemporary art fair Sikka, and Galleries Nights, featuring 40 new art exhibitions across Al Quoz and Dubai International Financial Centre.