A.R.M. Holding’s new initiatives for enriching UAE cultural scene - GulfToday

A.R.M. Holding’s new initiatives for enriching UAE cultural scene

sahil naik 2

Sahil Naik in his Goa studio.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

In a happy coincidence, as Dubai Art Season 2024 continues to cement the city’s status as a global centre for culture, leading Dubai-based investment firm A.R.M. Holding has announced updates on its cultural initiatives.

Three separate programmes aimed at enriching Dubai’s artistic and cultural fabric will extend their reach to families, schools, and the wider creative community. A.R.M. Holding is dedicated to cultivating the arts and creative education in the UAE. A.R.M. Holding Children’s Programme, now in its fourth year, was created to inspire the next generation of artists. The 2024 edition will launch at Art Dubai (Mar. 1-3) before expanding to 100 private and government educational institutions, including schools for people of determination, across the UAE. The one-of-a-kind initiative will reach over 15,000 students in all seven emirates, making it the largest such programme in the UAE.

al mazrou art 1 Shaikha Al Mazrou’s artwork Focal Point in wet coated steel.

Designed for students from ages 5 to 17 to foster understanding and interest in the arts through interaction with international artists and exposure to a wide range of art and design practices, this year’s programme will further expand bespoke workshops to enhance teaching capabilities by providing teachers with masterclasses, as well as the first-of-a-kind adapted programme in schools for people of determination.

  Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, CEO of A.R.M. Holding.

Goa-based artist Sahil Naik was selected to conceive and deliver his ‘Worlds in a Box’ programme, exploring creation using dioramas, memory and the built environment as sources of inspiration. Each workshop will conclude with a tour of Art Dubai, enabling children to take the ideas learned outside of the workshop space and learn from some of the world’s top visual artists. Naik has also designed a purpose-built Creative Play Area for children attending the fair, incorporating elements from the previous three iterations, by Jacob Dahlgren (2023), Cyrus Kabiru (2022) and Noom Project (2021). The programme enables schools to bring the workshops directly to classrooms, with the second phase commencing in April.

pablo reinoso art 1  Pablo Reinoso’s Solo Bench I.

Huna, a subsidiary of A.R.M. Holding, is a culturally driven lifestyle developer that transcends traditional property development by infusing art and culture into each project. Seeking to become a catalyst for creative experiences to build culture-focused communities, Huna will officially launch its year-round Cultural Programme on March 1, with the unveiling of the Huna Sculpture Park at H-Residence along Jumeirah Road, Dubai. The Huna Sculpture Park will feature a selection of world-class artworks by three leading international artists in a showcase of the interplay between sculpture and architecture. The Park will invite viewers to reconsider their relationship with their environment. Rana Begum’s ‘No.1235 Mesh’ is a folded metalwork that blends sculpture, painting and architecture, with light playing an integral role.

One of the most dynamic and promising talents of her generation, Emirati artist Shaikha Al Mazrou’s ‘Measuring Physicality of Void’ consists of five pillow-like copper sculptures exploring the tension between the object and its surroundings. Pablo Reinoso’s ‘Solo Bench I’ is a seating tool made of steel that reflects on the relationship between object and functionality, addressing environmental concerns and human-nature relationship. The Huna Cultural Programme offers tailored experiences blending visual art, dialogues, performances, music and gastronomy.

saeed al 22 Benedetta Ghione, Art Dubai Executive Director.

A.R.M. Holding also expands its art collection to 38 artworks by 35 artists, making it one of the largest corporate art collections in the UAE. Leveraging art as a universal language to stimulate dialogue and cultural expression, the company acquires works by regional and international artists. Themed ‘Constructing Identities,’ the collection offers diverse perspectives on global urbanism. New acquisitions over the past 12 months include seminal artworks by Shamma Al Amri, Pablo Siquier, John Torreano, Gil Heitor Cortesao, and most recently, Hussain Sharif.

As a founding patron of Dubai Collection, the first institutional collection of modern and contemporary art for the emirate of Dubai, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, A.R.M. Holding is loaning works for ‘Encounters,’ an exhibition of Emirati artists that will be a central feature of Art Dubai’s non-profit programming. Among the pieces on show are works by Lamya Gargash, Shaikha al Mazrou, and the newly-acquired work of Shamma Al Amri.

  Rana Begum’s No. 1235 Mesh.

“Our holistic approach weaves A.R.M. Holding’s unique imprint into the cultural fabric,” said Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, Chief Executive Officer of A.R.M. Holding. “Dubai’s vibrant cultural landscape is able to thrive, thanks to the support of a wide group of committed stakeholders, from government and institutions to patrons, corporations, and individuals. A.R.M. Holding is an exemplary model …” said Benedetta Ghione, Executive Director, Art Dubai.

A.R.M. Holding is a private investment firm and multi-focused economic enabler that creates synergies and opportunities through local, regional and global investments. The Holding’s investments are focused on tech-enabled industries and sophisticated technologies around the world that demonstrate viable potential for long-term positive social impact. It also holds equity stakes in some of Dubai’s foremost companies in a variety of sectors including banking, telecom, FMCG, real estate, and hospitality. In 2021, it became the first corporate patron of the Dubai Collection.

Huna curates and combines celebrated designers, creators and places for an elite clientele. Founded in 2007, Art Dubai is one of the premier platforms to see and buy modern and contemporary art from the Global South. Alongside the annual Art Dubai art fair, which takes place each spring, Art Dubai has an extensive year-round education and professional development programme, working with local and regional partners to deliver cultural programming across Dubai.

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