ZeeArts conference panelists outside Queen Elizabeth 2, the only floating hotel in Dubai.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
Following five successful runs since its inaugural edition in 2017, Art Connects Women (ACW) will once again take centre stage as the largest leading women art exhibition in the UAE and the surrounding region (Mar. 8 – 11, 2023). Being organised by ZeeArts Gallery, Dubai, where the gallery is located, the event will play host to an extensive array of art works by 105 women artists, each of whom represents their home country in the annual showcase of feminine creative prowess.
The 4-day art extravaganza aligns its purpose with that of International Women’s Day, thus centering its intentions on providing optimal representation for women in the art sector, while taking ever greater strides in empowering the female gender to achieve new heights, on a global scale. In the coming year, mere survival, it is hoped, will take a back seat to renewal, growth and progress.
“To dream is to inject courage into thoughts, and dreams are the beginning of all new ideas that are to be made real,” says Zaahirah Muthy, ZeeArts Founder and organiser of the show. “As such, the exhibition has been aptly themed Dare to Dream.” The inaugural night welcomes artists from across disparate cultures, nationalities and social backgrounds, to mingle and bask in the glory of creative finesse that will pervade the exhibition halls.
“All things good in history must remain documented for future generations for reference, and it is no different for the annual Art Connects Women initiative,” adds Muthy. So every artist will have her artwork and portrait embossed in a hardback art book titled Women Artists around the World. The book is now in its fourth iteration. The volumes will remain in the private collections of ACW’s stakeholders, public showcases in libraries, as well as be distributed to other artists.
“Education trumps ignorance, and to educate has always been Art Connects Women’s leading advocacy to better navigate the ever-shifting landscapes of the art world. “To equip women artists with the appropriate skill sets, ACW furthers its pedagogical efforts through its hosting of conferences – with assistance from industry experts and leaders – which aim to shed light on often-neglected areas in the field. “Our conference next year will focus on Fostering a Sustainable Art and Cultural Ecosystem,” Muthy concludes.
The philosophy of ACW, she says, is one of celebration. Therefore, as the curtains gradually get drawn over the event, a final tribute is to be paid to all participating artists for their strength, courage, determination and messages of empowerment to the creative sector will be sent, particularly to women globally, as well as to all humanity. The award ceremony ensures that every woman wins recognition.
The missive is that their contributions are valued, and that they play a critical role in fostering a society that is inclusive, altruistic and above all, humane. The 2023 programme includes: Official opening of Art Connects Women - Dare to Dream International Art Exhibition (Mar. 8); Cultural Tour of Sharjah Art Museum (Mar. 9); Conference on Fostering a Sustainable Art and Cultural Ecosystem (Mar. 10) and Award Night and Gala Dinner (Mar. 11). Muthy hails from Mauritius and is an artist, activist and curator.
With a practice ranging from curatorial works to creation, she is mostly a mixed-media artist; she has been able to adapt her art-making discipline to painting and sculpting also. With multiple awards under her belt, among which are the ‘Leonardo Da Vinci Universal Award’ from Florence, Italy, and the Femina – Women International Leadership Award (Artist Category) in India, in 2016 she was awarded the Artist of the Year by Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival. She is also the recipient of the Oscar de la Jeunesse in Artistic Pursuit and Youth Leadership award by the Government of Mauritius.
As a Toastmaster she has been featured in 101 Artists Toastmaster by Armando Cristofori, an achievement which has been circulated worldwide. Muthy’s art is kept in private and corporate collections; she has exhibited widely in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, the United States and Asia. ZeeArts is a global art incubator with a mission to connect creatives of disparate disciplines through a line-up of artistic initiatives and projects.
Its calendar is full of programming such as exhibitions and art fairs, artist empowerment events, arts and culture retreats, art talks and socially engaged art projects that place artists, curators, art dealers, art writers, collectors and the private sector on the same page of the art market. “This is done alongside our strong network of collaborators outside of the art industry, who lend us their support to further educate the public on art investments on a local and vernacular level,” says Muthy.
“It further generates interest towards the pursuits of the artists and increases the demand for their works. Our efforts to maintain global relevance are also accentuated by our online gallery, which allows for heightened connectivity between artists from all corners of the world.” ZeeArts provides art consultancy services, including art advisory and ID assistance for clients. It works alongside a constellation of creatives ranging from artists, designers and architects, to art consultants and curators.
It also commissions artists, selects artworks and accessories for installation in corporate offices, malls and hospitality projects. It believes that Art is a catalyst for social change. ZeeArts was the first gallery representing Middle Eastern artists at the Carrousel du Louvre, Paris. It has been organising the Mauritius International Art Fair since 2019.
A variety of artworks in styles such as Calligraphy, Abstract, Cubism, Sufism, Contemporary and Photography,
It is scheduled to run till March 19. On display are offerings from a cross-section of art disciplines, ranging from mixed media, fashion, music and dance, to sustainability, digital art, photography, graffiti, sculptures, and more. Non
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