Arab Art in a changing world
Rafia Gallery in Damascus is organizing a series of lectures with prominent artists and scholars to discuss and exchange topics related to the place of art and culture in society, in Syria and the region
There are a lot of artists and art exhibitions in Syria—comparatively, their volume is major in the region-yet Syria remains closed to the outside. That is why Rafia Koudmani, owner of Rafia Gallery, believes that a cultural exchange is needed, to introduce ideas and have people learn and share with the outside, establishing a dialogue between Syria and the Arab world, and Syria and the globe respectively, on arts.
“About a year ago, the Tate Modern in London had a conference on Arab arts with key speakers on the topic, including Nada Shabout. Tickets were sold-out so I flew from Dubai and arrived awaiting at the opening hoping I’d replace those who didn’t show up- yet I was astonished at the multitudes showing up from everywhere in the globe thinking the same.”
Inspired by that, Rafia conceived the idea for a series of seminars and panel discussions with prominent artists and scholars from Syria and the region. Though Syria might have many general local seminars and conferences, yet outsiders’ opinions are needed, so for this year Rafia Gallery is inviting from outside Syria 10 Arab professionals and researchers in the field of arts and culture.
This will be a start for discussions, where all participating parties could dialogue and share in a positive way, opening up Syria culturally to the world, as well as introducing it to help form its true image in the region and beyond. Additionally, emphasizing on the deep cultural role of arts, showing that artworks are more than ornaments or investments.
“Our goal is to have an art and culture conference every year or every other year inviting the most prominent lecturers and researchers in the field to discuss and exchange important intellectual topics in Syria and the region, building up a new discussion platform to pave the way for a high level educational and communicational channel,” said Koudmani.
By Hamzeh Abu-Fakher | www.forwardsyria.com