As part of the Kuwait’s Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre (ASCC) drive for cross cultural exchange, they have sent six artists to Venice over the past few months working across drawing, painting and photography. The artists offer their subjective truths about Kuwait, not so much as a form of representation, but an expression of their own relationships to their history and culture. The first iteration from June to September featured artists Zahra Marwan, Mahmoud Shaker and Amani Al Thuwaini and the second iteration, which opened on September 11 and runs until November features work by Ahmed Muqeem, Nasser Behbehani and Khaled Alnajdi. All six artists have been part of the centre’s inaugural Artist in Residence programme.

The current exhibition In My Dream I Was in Kuwait was well received in Italy and we took the time to sit down with Amirah AlShaalan, Senior Programmer at the Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre to find out more:

Q: How were the artists for this programme selected?
Through an application process open to all artists. After applications were submitted to a panel of experts and management from Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre who then made the selection.

Q: Why was Venice in particular the target for this exchange?
Venice is one of the most important cities in the world for art. The goal of the residency programme at Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre is to give the artists the platform to elevate their practices, by engaging with artists from different regions of the world and truly encouraging cultural exchange.

Q: It is part of the centre’s new drive towards global cultural exchange – what is the overall aim of this drive?
Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre is collaborating with international partners for the purpose of mutually developing as a team in the cultural field. The Centre and its educational initiatives aim to empower a cultural dialogue with its international partners through online communication as well as onsite communication through its programmes.
The cultural dialogue between The Centre and its international partners consists of workshops, talks, exhibitions as well as festivals.

Q: How do you hope it will benefit artists and audiences both in Kuwait and in Italy?
Creating a cultural dialogue between Kuwait and Italy through this exhibition is an added value to the participating artists. Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre reinforces this cultural bridge by grouping skilled artists as well as artisans to exchange their techniques in silk weaving, Sadu weaving (traditional Kuwaiti weaving) as well as the ancient venetian glass blowing techniques. Through these initiatives, The Centre will expand the exchange to ensure its role as leader in cultural dialogue.
This programme provides artists the time, space and professional support to develop their work and explore new creative ideas. The mission of the scheme is to foster a sense of creative community locally, creating dialogue and interest around the artist’s work, while encouraging community engagement.

Q: It will also raise awareness about the Sheikh Abdullah Cultural Centre. What is the key messaging you hope to impart internationally about the centre?
Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre aspires to be a landmark destination in Kuwait and to fully encompass the 2035 New Kuwait Vision. To assist in achieving this vision, the Centre has a well thought out calendar to ensure the continual, high engagement of the nation’s people. Events, activities, seminars, workshops and lectures are just a few of the types of activities the Centre hosts. Through the Fine Arts Centre, Education Department and Events Department, a large team of professionals ensure a wide range of topics are covered, both local and international, that are aimed at the youth and adult citizens.

The exhibition is on view in Scuola dell’Arte dei Tiraoro e Battioro in Campo San Stae, Venice, Italy from 11 September untill 28 November 2019.