Becoming an exhibiting artist is much like finding your first job: most opportunities require prior experience, but without connections it’s almost impossible to get any. This is why the news of Ductac’s new Rotational Gallery, which will serve to showcase unknown artists, is something to be celebrated by aspiring creatives as well as by those who want to see a fresher, less commercial side of art. Ductac art manager Colette Mol and the team have turned this unused space into a gallery to allow new artists a platform to sell their art, as well as giving Dubai’s art enthusiasts access to more affordable works, with prices starting at about Dhs2,500.
Colette says she’s looking for artists that do something different, particularly artwork that ‘highlights new trends and techniques, that explores modern and innovative means of expression with emphasis on conceptual content’. The only criteria is that artists are aged 18 or over and must be creating their art within the UAE. When asked why art being produced within this country’s borders is worthy of note, Colette explains it’s because of the country’s richness and multiplicity of cultures. ‘Art in the UAE has become increasingly experimental, thought provoking and transgressive, addressing the complexities of a postmodern, post-global society.’
The exhibiting artist
Mona Ayyash is a Palestinian who was born in Kuwait in 1987 but grew up in Dubai, which she now calls home. Her latest series, titled ‘An Honest Connection’, documents the industrial area of Al Quoz, but at night. ‘Al Quoz is one of those spaces in Dubai that is ignored: warehouses are practical so they are rarely decorated. The area can seem cold and ugly from a distance, but after the sun sets its beauty unveils itself. I play and paint with light. The sun has set and the roads are clear. No one is around. We can connect.’ While Mona is not completely fresh off the blocks – her works have been on show at ArtSpace, Ayyam Gallery, The Empty Quarter and The Third Line – this opportunity of a solo show is rare. Also, with her works priced at around the Dhs5,000 mark (and negotiable at that), this is also a rare opportunity for investors to find art they love at a reasonable price. With the Rotational Gallery showcasing one artist a month, you’ll be sure to soon find a piece you’ll fall in love with.
Artist: Mona Ayyash
Exhibition: ‘An Honest Connection’ at Ductac’s Rotational Gallery, until May 11
Price range: Around Dhs5,000
Top tips to help you choose wisely when buying affordable work
• Buy something you truly love When investing in a piece by a student or relatively unknown artist, there’s no guarantee that the value will increase (in fact, the person may fall off the radar entirely). Make sure you buy something you’re committed to, a work you can imagine sharing your home with in years to come.
• Do your research Visit Dubai’s many galleries and speak to the gallerists about what and who is selling well. Do some online research. Learn what it is that makes an artwork desirable to the market, then try to identify whether these qualities are held by the artist you’re interested in.
• Find intelligence A beautiful piece with no story or conceptual network behind it is mere decoration. Contemporary art must feature strong ideas. Speak to the artist or the Ductac team to learn more about the concept behind the piece you have your eye on.