In 2014, the Forum sets out to create an imagined timeline of turning points in history—significant decades, years or days that shifted an understanding of the world.
Titled 'Meanwhile…History', the Forum also reflects on the philosophy and fiction of making history matter: each interview, discussion, presentation or commissioned project at Global Art Forum 8 is a point on this imagined timeline. As a whole, the Forum becomes a journey through known and unknown histories, of critical change and seismic moments.
'Meanwhile…History' has been programmed by writer Shumon Basar; the curator-translator Omar Berrada, co-director of Dar al-Ma’mûn in Marrakech; and the artist and curator Ala Younis.
Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Douglas Coupland, Michael Stipe, Shumon Basar, 2013 / Courtesy of Art Dubai
The Global Art Forum was launched by Art Dubai, the leading international art fair in the Middle East and South Asia, at its inaugural fair in 2007. In 2014, the Forum is presented by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), and is held in partnership with the Office of Strategic Cultural Relations at Qatar Museums Authority through their Years of Culture annual initiative. The Doha days (March 15-16) take place during the Qatar Brazil 2014 Year of Culture at Katara Art Center, while in Dubai, the Forum is located next to Art Dubai Modern, at Mina A’Salam, Madinat Jumeirah (March 19-21).
“Meanwhile...History takes Eric Hobsbawm's adage, ‘A protest against forgetting,’ as its starting point,” says Shumon Basar, commissioner of the Global Art Forum. “As our experience of time accelerates, so does the build-up of history. Amnesia is built into this process by default. This year’s Forum is an occasion to time-travel to some of history’s blind spots.”
Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, Uzma Z. Rizvi, Slavs and Tatars, 2013 / Courtesy of Art Dubai
Global Art Forum co-director Omar Berrada adds: “Within its context, the Global Art Forum is a unique event, for its idiosyncratic format, its eclectic approach to art and knowledge, and its enduring appeal. Through this year’s iteration, we hope to achieve world-class conversation and thought-provocation around topics that we think should be on everyone’s mind.”
“It’s one of the few established annual meetings with a Middle East focus,” comments co-director Ala Younis. “The Global Art Forum is a unique event with an amazing constellation of topics and projects devised by artists, intellectuals and regional experts.”
'Meanwhile...History' tours through Ibn Khaldun’s medieval treatise, the Muqaddimah; Soviet Orientalism; American Cold War paranoia; a hundred years of the art exhibition Documenta; several millennia of the pearling industry of the Gulf; the “Short Seventies” in the UAE and across the world; as well as cultural experiments in Kuwait; Iranian art collections in Dubai; Africa in 1966; and creative lapses in storytelling and Facebook timelines.
Free, and open to all, this year’s Global Art Forum will be simultaneously translated into Arabic/English, and will be live-streamed globally and to sites within the fair, thanks to the support of Ibraaz/Kamel Lazaar Foundation.
Global Art Forum, 7 audience, 2013 / Courtesy of Art Dubai
Forum Forum, 2013 / Courtesy of Art Dubai
The Global Art Forum’s fellowship programme Forum Fellows returns this year with a focus on curating, led by writer and curator Tirdad Zolghadr. This intensive programme of workshops enables exceptional upcoming curators from the Middle East to exchange ideas and experience. Fellows selected for the 2014 programme are: Amanda Abi Khalil (Beirut); Azar Mahmoudian (Tehran); Yasmina Reggad (Algiers); Yara Saqfalhait (Ramallah), and Ania Szremski (Cairo). The Forum Fellows 2014 programme is kindly supported by the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC).
Global Art Forum 8 features 40 contributors, including:
- Rahel Aima, Editor, The State, Dubai
- John Akomfrah, Artist, filmmaker and writer, London
- Shiva Balaghi, Professor, Departments of History and History of Art, Brown University, Providence
- Sulayman Al Bassam, Writer and director, Kuwait/London
- Omar Berrada, Writer, translator, co-director of Dar al-Ma’mûn and co-director of Global Art Forum 8, Marrakech
- Jocelyne Dakhlia, Professor, L'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris
- Catherine David, Art historian and independent curator, Paris
- Okwui Enwezor, Director, Haus der Kunst and director of the Visual Arts Sector of the 56th Biennale di Venezia, 2015
- Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, Author and academic, London
- Frauke Heard-Bey, Historian, Abu Dhabi
- Adina Hempel, Assistant professor, College of Arts and Creative Enterprises, Zayed University and head of research for the National Pavilion of the UAE Venice Architecture Biennale 2014, Dubai
- Butheina Kazim, Fulbright scholar of Media Culture and Communication, New York University, New York/Abu Dhabi
- Kristine Khouri, Researcher and writer, Beirut
- Masha Kirasirova, Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow of History, New York University Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi
- Ahmad Makia, Editor, The State, Dubai
- Farah Al-Nakib, Assistant Professor of History and Director of the Centre for Gulf Studies, American University of Kuwait, Kuwait
- Hans Ulrich Obrist, Curator, co-director of exhibitions and programmes and director of international projects, Serpentine Gallery
- Todd Reisz, Visiting assistant professor, Yale University School of Architecture and editor of Al Manakh and Portal 9, Amsterdam
- Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Artist and writer, Raqs Media Collective, New Delhi
- Justin Stearns, Assistant professor of Arab Crossroads Studies, New York University Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi
- Brett Steele, Director, Architectural Association School of Architecture, London
- Adam Szymczyk, Director, Kunsthalle Basel and artistic director of documenta 14, 2017, Basel
- Michael C. Vazquez, Writer and editor, New York/London
- Marina Warner, Writer, London
- Ala Younis, Artist, curator and co-director of Global Art Forum 8, Amman
- Tirdad Zolghadr, Writer and curator, Ramallah
The Global Art Forum 8 also features a range of commissions, including new projects by the Gulf-based artists Sarah Abu Abdallah, Raja’a Khalid and Hind Mezaina.