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Panel Discussion: Cultural Institutions In The Face of Creative Uncertainty

Cultural institutions in the face of creative uncertainty

6 October 2016, 18.45 – 20.15

To coincide with Frieze London (6 – 9 October 2016), Caspian Arts Foundation and Asia House will host a panel discussion with Jonathan Watkins, Director of Ikon Gallery, Birmingham. Jonathan will be in conversation with ArtBahrain co-founder Kaneka Subberwal; Qattan Foundation chairman Omar Al Qattan; and Sharjah Art Foundation president Sheikha Hoor Al-Qasimi.

The panel will focus their discussion on the role of institutional cultural education within the current geopolitical climate, addressing topics such as adaptation, conflict, preservation and legacy which are encountered by institutions based in the Middle East. The future of institutional stability, sustainability and longevity will also be explored.

The conversation will look at the issue of ‘soft power’ compromised by censorship as well as the impact technology has regarding the creation and preservation of institutional archives.

In bringing together leading voices from cultural institutions based in the UK and the Middle East, the evening promises to be both timely and stimulating.

Jonathan Watkins has been Director of Ikon Gallery since 1999. Previously he worked for a number of years as curator of the Serpentine Gallery (1995-1997). He has curated a number of large international exhibitions across the Middle East, Asia and Europe including the Shanghai Biennale in 2006, China’s Guangzhou Triennial in 2012 and the Iraq Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale.

Omar Al-Qattan was born in Beirut and moved to the UK at the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War. Following a degree in English Literature from Oxford University, he studied Film Direction at the Institut National Supérieur des Arts du Spectacles (INSAS) in Brussels. In 2008, he established The Mosaic Rooms in London, an organisation dedicated to supporting and promoting contemporary Arab culture in London, which has become the leading institution in its field. He was Chair of the Shubbak Festival of Contemporary Arab Culture in London in 2013 and 2015. He has been a member of the Welfare Association since 1999, in which he heads the Palestinian Museum Committee. The Museum building was inaugurated in May 2016 and is expected to open its programmes to the public in 2017. In addition, Al-Qattan is a director of Al-Hani Construction and Trading Company in Kuwait, a leader in the construction of large-scale public projects such as the recently completed Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre.

Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi is President and Director of the Sharjah Art Foundation. She is a practising artist who received her BFA from the Slade School of Fine Art, London (2002), a Diploma in Painting from the Royal Academy of Arts (2005) and an MA in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art, London (2008). In 2003 she was appointed curator of Sharjah Biennial 6 and has continued as the Biennial’s Director since that time. She is Chair of the Advisory Board for the College of Art and Design, University of Sharjah; and Member of the Advisory Board of both the Khoj International Artists’ Association, India and the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing. She serves on the Board of Directors for MoMA PS1, New York; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; the International Biennial Association, Gwangju; and Ashkal Alwan, Beirut.

Kaneka Subberwal is the Founder and Managing Director of Art Select, an initiative that aims to encourage and advise individuals and companies on art as an investment. She is also the Co-Founder of this year’s inaugural ArtBahrain, with the aim of establishing a forward thinking platform to further promote the growth of art in the country. Her initiative is to make Bahrain a focal point for art in the West Asian region and establish a forward thinking platform to promote the growth of art in the country. She takes this many steps forward with BAAB – Bahrain Art Across Borders – an initiative to take the art of the artists of Bahrain across borders globally.

This event will launch De[con]struction | Reconstruction: Living in a State of Creative Uncertainty, a joint project from ArtRole, Asia House, Caspian Arts Foundation and Yorkshire Sculpture Park. More details to follow.