Creating a Louder Voice for Middle Eastern Art at Khawla Art Gallery

July 6, 2023
Creating a Louder Voice for Middle Eastern Art at Khawla Art Gallery

The Middle East has the potential to be one of the great global art hubs. It boasts numerous exciting, hugely creative artists who can channel our region’s distinctive perspectives on universal issues. But they need a higher profile.


All too often, their artistic brilliance and insights into everything from climate change to conflict are lost in the global conversation. Khawla Art Gallery, a new space in the heart of the Dubai Design District, will change that.


It will promote emerging and established Middle Eastern artists to the global art scene and make sure the world takes notice of their talent, stories and ideas. Through exhibitions, online viewing rooms and art fairs, our region’s talent will gain far greater visibility locally and internationally. Art transcends national borders and Khawla Art Gallery will use it to create rewarding, cross-cultural dialogue among communities.


The gallery’s inaugural exhibition will feature Lebanese artist Ghaleb Hawila’s work. Inspired by dramatic events and scarred walls, the artist shares his insights on the contradiction between what we present to the outside world and what we carry within us. Behind everyone, there is a certain depth, another dimension, and a story that one can’t see.


Over time, we become the observers of our scars rather than being identified by them. As we experience life through the different prisms of scars, they become doorways to our enlightenment and “a little gem where light enters your heart”. (Persian Poet, Rumi).


الجرح هو الثغرة التي ينفذ منها النور الى أعماقك


Ghaleb will be the first of many exhibitors in the gallery who draw upon Middle Eastern culture and tradition to create innovative, thought-provoking new works. These will include hugely respected Persian painters Alijan Alijanpour and Hooman Bayat. There’ll also be an exhibition of 50 artworks to celebrate 50 years of the United Arab Emirates. The gallery will be a space where everyone is welcome.


Khawla Art Gallery, which opens with a series of workshops and talks by artists such as calligrapher Bahman Panahi from September 26, is the latest important development in some encouraging times for our region’s cultural improvement.


Dubai and Abu Dhabi have made colossal investments to establish themselves as significant cultural destinations. Events such as Art Dubai and the Abu Dhabi Art Fair have been introduced. The Middle East contributed UA$ 92.7 billion to the global art market in 2018 – a figure that is expected to rise to US$111 billion by the year 2023.


From the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha to the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Saudi Arabia and the immense development of Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, the growth in cultural infrastructure across our region over the past decade has been unprecedented. Middle Eastern art’s reputation and accessibility have increased around the globe.


But, at Khawla Art Gallery, we know there is so much more that can be achieved. We want to build on progress to give our art a new level of global influence and respect. To truly make our region’s tastes international tastes. To help make culture a driving force embedding the Middle East’s perspectives into global thinking.

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