Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi is an Emirati columnist and researcher on social, political and cultural affairs in the Arab Gulf States. He is also the founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation, an independent initiative established in 2010 to contribute to the intellectual development of the art scene in the Arab region. He has taught ‘Politics of Modern Middle Eastern Art’ at New York University, Yale University, Georgetown University, Boston College, The American University of Paris, Brandeis University, Harvard Kennedy School, Columbia University and most recently at Bard College Berlin. Sultan also recently completed a Fellowship at Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. Sultan is currently a Research Associate at SOAS Middle East Institute, London.
Basma Alshathry, Chief Curator at the Misk Art Institute, has a BA in Art History from the American University in Paris and an MA in History of Decorative Arts and Curatorial Studies from Parsons Paris, the New School. She spearheads various curatorial projects, including the prestigious Misk Art Grant and The Art Library series of publications, which focus on significant Arab artists. Basma’s passion lies in making a social impact through the arts, and her academic research has revolved around topics such as community building and social engagement. Her work primarily involves delving into Saudi art history, documenting its rich history, and providing support to emerging artists. Basma AlShathry’s curatorial accomplishments include her recent curation of the “Echoing the Land” exhibition in Riyadh, and her successful management of the Saudi National Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2019.
Based in Dubai for over 25 years, Shireen Atassi serves as the Director of the Atassi Foundation, a family non-profit initiative that she established in 2016 along with her family, who previously owned the Atassi Gallery in Damascus. Prior to Atassi Foundation, Shireen had an extensive experience in the corporate world, including an eighteen-year career in blue-chip companies. Shireen obtained her MBA from Imperial College Business School in London in 1998, which equipped her with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed. She sits on the boards of other art organisations and serves as a mentor to emerging artists and young professionals.
For over two decades, Myrna Ayad has authored, edited, and contributed to several books, magazines and dailies on visual art and culture from the Arab world and Iran. A frequent panellist, jurist, and moderator, her role as an independent cultural strategist has allowed her to work on projects within the luxury sector, government entities, private companies, and non-profit organisations. Based in the UAE for over four decades, Ayad is a graduate of the American University in Dubai and lives in Dubai with her husband and two children.
Stephan Breuer‘s art practice takes us on a fascinating voyage within some of the most iconic monuments. Aiming at the Sublime in the digital age he is always at the forefront of technology by seamlessly integrating it as poetic gestures. Currently exploring the symbolic relevance of « icons », both in their art and digital understandings, Stephan Breuer has been developing series of infra-thin gold artefacts, reducing their physical footprint to the minimum, thus mirroring their inception into the virtual cloud. A forward thinking approach which enabled one of his icons, the digitization of an angel by Rembrandt, to become in 2021 the first NFC chip authenticated artwork to be archived by the Louvre Museum. In a moment where the past, the present and the future are a deeply intertwined structure, Stephan Breuer invites us to consider our history through the prism of « Atemporality ». Notable presentations include a performance work commissioned by Artcurial, Paris, in 2011, solo exhibitions at the Imperial of palace of Compiegne, France, in 2013 and the Franco-American Museum of Blérancourt, France, in 2017, digital projects produced in relation with the Jardin du Palais Royal, Paris, in 2018 and the Museo Nazionale Romano, Roma, in 2022, and the Giza Plateau in 2023.
Tarek Abou El Fetouh is currently Senior Curator and Director of the Performance Department of Sharjah Art Foundation. Abou El Fetouh’s previous curatorial projects include the Public Art Programme for Expo 2020 in Dubai (2019-2021), Durub Al Tawaya, an annual performance event at Abu Dhabi Art (2013-2018); Rituals of Signs and Metamorphoses (2018) and Captive of Love (2017) at Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing; The Time is Out of Joint, Sharjah Art Foundation and Asian Culture Center, Gwangju (2016); Lest the Two Seas Meet, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2015); Home Works 6, Ashkal Alwan, Beirut (2013); Sharjah Biennial 9 (2009); Roaming Inner Landscapes, Bibliotheca Alexandrina and Garage Theatre, Alexandria (2004); Windows (a multidisciplinary festival of contemporary arts), Minya and Cairo (2004); DisORIENTation, House of World Cultures, Berlin (2003) and It’s Happening in the Garage, Jesuits Cultural Center, Alexandria (2000). Abou El Fetouh established innovative initiatives in the Arab world and has sought to develop conversations among practitioners both regionally and internationally. He founded the Young Arab Theatre Fund (YATF), renamed Mophradat since 2015, which is a Brussels-based foundation working in the field of contemporary visual and performance arts. He initiated the Meeting Points Festival of Contemporary Arts (MP) in 2003 and curated the first four editions of the festival (MP1 to MP4), which took place in several cities in the Arab world. Abou El Fetouh served as the artistic director of MP7 with the Zagreb-based collective WHW (2013-2014), MP6 with curator Okwui Enwezor (2011-2012) and MP5 with curator Frie Leysen (2007-2008).
Nadine Abdel Ghaffar is an Egyptian-French curator, art consultant and cultural ambassador. With both Egyptian and French roots, she grew up in a multilingual environment speaking several languages, this encouraged diversity of thought and expression and imbued her with a passion for communicating culture. Hailing from a lineage of strategic brilliance, as the descendent of Scander Pasha Fahmy an Engineer and Pioneer who was born in Alexandria in 1837 to a prominent Coptic family originally from Upper Egypt. Fahmy worked directly with Muhammad Ali Pasha, the founder of modern Egypt, and later with Khedive Ismail moving through the ranks of the railway establishment. His son Naguib Scander Fahmy followed in his footsteps, eventually moving to France and then England to work with Winston Churchill. Stories such as that of the Fahmy family, from the early nineteenth century right through to the present, are inextricably entwined with Egypt’s history and provide a fascinating glimpse of the making of modern Egypt.Nadine carries forward a legacy for innovation and cultural progression. Her ability to channel her heritage into her work and continue to break barriers is part of the monumental success of Culturvator/Art D’Égypte.
Lulwah Al Homoud is an established international award winner artist who received the first place National Award prize for Visual Art in 2021. She also received the RAWABI prize for fostering cultural ties between UK and KSA in London 2020. Lulwah is an artist and curator who started her career in London after finishing her MA degree in Art and design from Central Saint Martins in 2000 and her style became recognized globally. She exhibited East and West and her work is among the permanent collection of international museums such as LACMA, Los Angeles County Museum, USA, The British Museum, UK, Five Continents Museum, Germany, Jeju Museum, Korea and The Green Box Museum, Holland, The Islamic Arts Museum, Malaysia. She was recently a participant in the first edition of Noor Riyadh Festival. She is also in many renowned international art institutions, among them, The Written Art Foundation in Germany, Barjeel Art Foundation in UAE and RAK art Foundation, Bahrain. She represented Saudi Arabia at The London Design Biennial in 2018 and at The Hermitage Museum in Russia with other international artists in 2019. Lulwah had 9 solo exhibitions during her career. Her work was featured in many art fairs. Lulwah is the founder of LAHAF Art Foundation based in Riyadh.
Art historian Mona Khazindar is an expert on Arab visual arts in the modern and contemporary period, formerly director general of the Arab World Institute (IMA) to which she was devoted for more than 20 years, and curator of a large number of important exhibitions. Mona was appointed by Royal decree as a member of the Saudi General Authority for Culture and is a member of the advisory board of King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra). Khazindar has written widely in publications on Arab art and authored the book Visions from Abroad, Historical and Contemporary Representations of Arabia (Skira, 2019) and she is the editor of The Art Library series produced by Misk Art Institute.
Azza Al Qubaisi is a renowned Emirati Jewelery artist, designer and sculptor. She got her BA in Jewelery from London Guildhall University and her MA in culture and creative industry from HCT. She enjoys experimenting with many materials such as metal and palm. Her work has been exhibited in art fairs in individual & collective exhibitions in different countries such as in Helsinki, London, Milan, Berlin, and Brussels. Her work has been published in many books. She has received several awards including those from the British Council Young Cultural Entrepreneur award and Emirates Woman Award.
Abdullah Al Saadi is an Emirati artist who lives and works in Khor Fakkan and is one of the “Pioneer Five” conceptual artists, who, in the 1980s, bolstered the contemporary art scene in the UAE and influenced a generation of artists in the region. He studied English literature at the United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, before studying Japanese painting at Kyoto Seika University in Japan between 1994 and 1996. Al Saadi’s work ranges from painting, drawing, and the creation of lengthy artists’ notebooks to the collection and systematic categorisation of found objects and the invention of new alphabets. A great affinity with nature and rural life informs the artist’s practice, which explores local environments as well as intersections of personal and cultural history. In 2021, his work was included in the permanent Public Art Programme of Expo 2020 Dubai. He also participated in a number of group and solo exhibitions, including the Sharjah Biennale 12 & 13 (2015,2017); Venice Biennale (2011, 2015); Here and Elsewhere, New Museum, New York (2014); AlToubay, the Sharjah Art Foundation (2014); Emirati Expressions: Realised, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi (2013); Languages of the Desert, Kunstmuseum Bonn, (2005); Sao Paolo Biennale (2004); and The Art of the Five from the United Arab Emirates, Ludwig Forum for International Art, Aachen, Germany (2002). The artist currently lives and works in Khor Fakkan.
Latifa Saeed (b. 1985) is a Dubai-based multidisciplinary artist who graduated from Zayed University with a Bachelor’s degree in Arts and Sciences in 2007. She obtained the Emerging Artist Fellowship by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation in partnership with Rhode Island School of Design in 2019 in the city of Abu Dhabi. In 2021 Latifa received a Grant from the Misk Art Institute in Riyadh and participated in the group show “Under Construction” at The Prince Faisal bin Fahd Fine Arts Hall in Riyadh. Latifa was also a finalist of the Richard Mille Art Prize hosted by the Louvre Abu Dhabi ‘Art Here’ in 2021 and also participated in their group show “Memory, Time, Territory.” Latifa was recently the first Emirati artist to showcase her work in Almaty, Kazakhstan with a solo exhibition “Black Silhouette” curated by the renowned art historian, critic, and author, Valeria Ibraeva.
Dr. Nada Shabout is a Regents Professor of Art History and the Coordinator of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Initiative (CAMCSI) at the University of North Texas. She is the founding president of the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art from the Arab World, Iran and Turkey (AMCA) and founding director of Modern Art Iraq Archive (MAIA). She is a curator and author of numerous essays and books, including Modern Arab Art: Formation of Arab Aesthetics, 2007; coeditor of New Vision: Arab Art in the 21st Century, 2009; and coeditor Modern Art in the Arab World: Primary Documents, Museum of Modern Art, 2018. Shabout is the recipient of the 2020 Kuwait Prize for Arts and Literature from the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences.
Pilar Zeta, an Argentinian multimedia artist based in Mexico City, seamlessly blends elements of philosophy, mathematics, symbolism, mysticism, and surrealism, embracing the aesthetics of postmodern architecture. Through metaphorical doors, portals, and transformative symbols like eggs, she creates surreal spaces that connect individuals with their higher selves, opening gateways to infinite possibilities and engaging with the depths of the subconscious. Fulfilling a lifelong dream, Zeta’s art journey reached new heights in October 2023 with her large-scale “Mirror Gate” installation at Art D’Egypt “Forever is Now III.” This limestone and metal masterpiece, set against the awe-inspiring backdrop of the Giza pyramids, embodied her enduring fascination with ancient Egypt. Beyond installations and artworks, Zeta collaborates with prominent musical artists like Coldplay, Lil Nas X, Katy Perry, and Camila Cabello. Her contributions range from iconic album artwork to directing music videos and live performances. Her 2021 Grammy nomination for Art Director of Coldplay’s “Everyday Life” and Bronze Clio Award for directing Camila Cabello’s “Don’t Go Yet” music video are testaments to her multifaceted creative talent.