The Custodian: Custodian Chronicles: Art galleries fostering art preservation through foundation collaborations.

This article appeared in The Custodian Issue #66 and was dedicated to the Dalloul Art Foundation and its custodian Basel Dalloul in which we covered the foundation’s mission, influence and importance in championing and safeguarding Arab art for generations to come.

Rima Nasser: Art galleries often play a pivotal role in collaborating with foundations to showcase and promote art. Can you share insights into your collaboration with the Dalloul Art Foundation and the goals you aim to achieve together in the realm of art preservation and promotion?

NAYLA KETTANE: One of Galerie Tanit’s main goals is to promote and encourage young emerging artists from the MENA region. Today, Basel Dalloul is rejuvenating the art collection started by his parents and bringing in contemporary artists from the 21st century. Together, we aim to include as many young talents as possible in his reputable collection for generations to come.

NADINE BEKDACH: My relationship with the Dalloul Art Foundation, as the owner and director of Galerie Janine Rubeiz, started with Dr. Ramzi Dalloul in 2012. He was a passionate art lover and a visionary collector, and he had extensive knowledge and a very keen eye for art. His regular visits to our gallery were always accompanied by a great curiosity for our exhibitions, especially for artists of the newer generation. As an avid art collector, always in search of key artworks for his collection, Dr. Ramzi made sure to study and inquire about each artist’s profile and history before choosing to invest in their work. We also frequently met at regional art fairs, like Art Dubai, Abu Dhabi Art Fair, and Beirut Art Fair. After Dr. Basel became the custodian of the Foundation, the continuation of this amicable relationship of collaboration followed naturally, as he consistently demonstrates his unwavering support for our exhibitions and events and our represented artists, old and new.

JOUHAINAH SAMAWI: Having known the Dalloul family for over a decade now, we have been able to help place works in the foundation from various artists. This has provided great joy for our artists to know that those works will be kept in custody from an institution that will preserve and make sure to promote their work for the many years to come.

WILLIAM LAWRIE: There are four areas I can think of: firstly in identifying and acquiring significant works by prominent or over-looked artists, and preserving them within the collection (these can be either contemporary works or historical works bought in auction or otherwise through the secondary market); secondly by supporting artists by acquiring works either through their galleries or, if unrepresented, directly; thirdly, through research and archiving, and making this research available online, lastly through loans to institutional exhibitions worldwide. For DAF, all of these apply with artists our gallery works with.

HICHAM DAOUDI: Morocco (CMOOA), I met Dr. Ramzi Dalloul and welcomed him three times in Morocco in 2014, 2016, and 2018. I can never forget Dr. Ramzi Dalloul’s first visit when we met the late Farid Belkahia, who was very ill and shortly before he passed away, after he and his wife invited us to lunch in the artist’s studio. It will always remain an unforgettable memory now that the two main protagonists are gone. Since 2014, Dr. Ramzi initiated his acquisitions of Moroccan artworks, fast gathering incredible documentation. I used to research and gather for him very rare works by artists from the Casablanca movement and this in turn had an impact on the recognition of artists such as Farid Belkahia, Mohamed Melehi, Mohamed Chabaa, Mohamed Hamidi , and Chaïbia Tallal. Later, when the acquisitions of the Dalloul collection were visible in Beirut and the foundation was structured with remarkable diffusion work, the artistic impact was the reconciliation of artistic expressions between the Maghreb and the Mashreq.

SALEH BARAKAT: My collaboration with the Dalloul Art Foundation began with one of its founders, Dr. Ramzi Dalloul, in the late 2000s, around the time he returned to Beirut and began to develop his collection of Arab art more seriously. Ramzi Dalloul was a studious character and an avid reader, with a clear passion for collecting. From our early discussions, we naturally found common ground in shared interests in Arab nationalism and the development of Arab art and culture. From the outset, the Dalloul Foundation has maintained a focus on this subject, with specific attention to the various ways in which Arab artists perceive and reflect on the Palestinian cause. As a gallerist with a strong emphasis on Arab modernity and culture, our intellectual and practical interests clearly overlapped. It was equally clear that by working together, we could further the cause of developing the art and artists of the region.

CHARLES POCOCK: My collaboration with the Dalloul Art Foundation is based on sharing data we have at Meem and the Al Noor Library that might be of benefit to DAF. This is by way of pdfs of catalogues re works they hold in the DAF collection. We also offer Basel Dalloul advice re acquisitions and provenance reports re works held at DAF. We also discuss directly with Basel common concerns that not just affect DAF but the wider market, these being forgeries and looted items, specifically works that are coming out of Lebanon. I remember well the discussions we had about the fake works of Saliba Douaihy his late father acquired from a well-known Beirut gallery, compounded with the same gallery handling looted works by pioneer Iraqi artists.

BARRAK NAAMANI: Art galleries and foundations complement each other. As for me, it’s an honour to collaborate with DAF. I believe that every artist has a story behind his work, and I like to get into the depth of these touching stories and what lies behind them. Art always leaves a beautiful trail behind and is a witness of what is taking place in our present times. The Collaboration was showcasing those stories, The Intifada Cow sculpture for example, has a beautiful story about resistance. It is a witness of the oppression of the Israeli occupation. I am quite sure that the land will be free and will be back to its rightful people, maybe not now, but it will one day. The Intifada Cow will be a witness for the future generations. We have been sharing and reviving stories about artworks that had unfortunately been hidden throughout the years, to make us aware of what has been going on.

SALWA ZEIDAN: Certainly! Our collaboration with the Dalloul Art Foundation is essential in our efforts to preserve and promote art. The foundation shares our passion for art and is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and exhibiting contemporary art from the Arab world and beyond. By partnering with them, we aim to create a platform that fosters cultural exchange and education and off course their support to our represented artists is crucial. Additionally, the collaboration enables us to access the Dalloul Art Foundation’s extensive collection, which includes significant artworks from different periods and styles, that are not only visually compelling but also intellectually stimulating. The foundation brings together important artworks and support emerging artists, they contribute to the wider conversation around contemporary art and its role in society. Ultimately, our future collaboration with the Dalloul Art Foundation aims to create a vibrant and inclusive space for artistic expression, cultural preservation, and community engagement. Through our joint efforts, we aspire to inspire and educate audiences while nurturing the next generation of artists.

 

Rima Nasser: Basel Dalloul, as the Custodian of the Dalloul Art Foundation, is known for his dedication to preserving and sharing art. How has your collaboration with him impacted your gallery’s exhibitions and outreach efforts, and what have been the key outcomes?

NAYLA KETTANE: Basel Dalloul is an avid art collector. Therefore, in the process of acquiring artworks showcased at Galerie Tanit, DAF is inevitably pushing our artists forward, which in turn greatly impacts the gallery and provides us with an important growth factor.

HICHAM DAOUDI: The impact of Basel Dalloul comes initially from his energy, and from his support and faith in artists. He is fully engaged with promoting their work and sharing his opinions with his network. He is not a collector who solely plays a role for the benefit of his collection; he is also involved in the artists’ promotion.

WILLIAM LAWRIE: Basel has been a valued supporter of our gallery programme and our artists, almost since its inception. As well as encouraging people to pay attention to our artists’ work and their exhibitions, the loans facilitated from the DAF collection have enhanced the visibility of several of our artists, particularly in shining a light on their historical practice.

NADINE BEKDACH: Basel has helped immensely in introducing art from the Middle East to the international scene. He is very involved, dynamic, and eager to extend regional and Arab art on a global level. He carries his father’s legacy as a custodian of Arab art and is equally committed to supporting emerging talents by acquiring and documenting their work. I have always endorsed his efforts to disseminate art culture and visual knowledge through publications, especially his efforts towards education, starting with schools and expanding towards the general public. Dr. Basel Dalloul is very supportive of our efforts at the gallery through his regular presence at our exhibitions and events and his friendly relationship with most of our artists. He also does not hesitate to employ his vast connections in the art world to the benefit of artists, introducing them to key figures in the field and opening doors of opportunity. Basel, like his father, also supports our efforts by way of acquisitions for the foundation’s collection.

SALEH BARAKAT: As the foundation has expanded, and custodianship has shifted from Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul to their son, Dr. Basel Dalloul, there has been a subtle yet important change in direction and emphasis. The elder Dallouls’ work mostly revolved around the collection of individual artworks, and the early Dalloul Foundation’s collection resulted from this focus. The more recent and impressive efforts of Basel have primarily concentrated on extending this rich legacy of individual artworks through a new emphasis on research and dissemination. Basel’s promotion of the role of research has turned the foundation into a hub of knowledge production, commissioning and producing publications and films, for example, to create new knowledge and opportunities for researchers, scholars, and the wider public to access and learn from the collections. In this aspect too, we share a common vision, and I am proud of how closely we continue to work to produce and share knowledge through our combined efforts for a shared vision of Arab art.

GHADA SHOLY: As a result of our collaboration with the Dalloul Foundation, several young promising artists were given the chance to be exhibited at our gallery and to be acquired by the foundation, giving them significant recognition and inspiration to achieve more. As a result, several artists have also been contacted by international museums and institutions for exhibitions and commissions.

SALWA ZEIDAN: Our collaboration with Basel Dalloul, the custodian of the Dalloul Art Foundation, has had a significant impact on our gallery’s exhibitions and outreach efforts. His dedication to preserving and sharing art has been instrumental in expanding our reach and fostering meaningful connections within the art community. Through our future collaboration, we aim to curate exhibitions that feature renowned artists from the Dalloul Art Foundation’s collection. These exhibitions will not only attract art enthusiasts, but also garner attention from collectors, curators, and critics from around the world. Basel’s expertise and support have helped many galleries create a platform for artists to showcase their work and gain international recognition. Furthermore, His direct involvement has enhanced many new collectors and art lovers. The Foundation has a wide network of contacts and resources, which has allowed us to engage with a larger audience. This collaboration has resulted in increased attendance at many exhibitions, expanded educational programmes, and strengthened partnerships with other art organisations. Overall, the key outcomes of our collaboration have been elevated exhibitions, enhanced outreach, and increased visibility within the art world.

BARRAK NAAMANI: Basel is not only a custodian of DAF, but is one of the very few in the Arab world to preserve and promote art from his foundation- like museum. I have been sharing stories while also having the honour of learning from him as well. He has a vast knowledge about art and artists, which has been helping me reach out to more and more people. I think one of the most important outcomes of this collaboration is spreading more knowledge about art and culture. With that being said, I can proudly say Arab art and culture is one of the finest in the world.

 

Rima Nasser: The Custodian issue emphasises the significance of foundations and individuals in art preservation. From the gallery’s perspective, what role do foundations like the Dalloul Art Foundation play in fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of art and culture?

NAYLA KETTANE: The Dalloul Art Foundation is an essential homestead for housing a great collection of art from the MENA region. I believe our roles as galleries and foundations are complementary. Where we (galleries) aim to showcase and promote art, foundations focus on preserving and making the works accessible to a much wider audience.

HICHAM DAOUDI: From Morocco and the activities that I carry out with the CMOOA auction house or the Comptoir des Mines gallery, I perceive the “translation” and “mediation” work that the DAF foundation provides. The undertaken scientific work, archive and dissemination, make it possible to read an artistic history of the Arab world from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. The historical but “geographical” extent of such a collection is a valuable tool for analysing the modes of artistic expression of several societies/ populations which have had distinct evolutions. The DAF collection is a very strong response to the question that the West regularly asks us about the existence of a history and an artistic value in our regions. Ramzi Dalloul, and now Basel, prove the existence of several artistic modern parentheses that complete the narrative of Western artistic modernity.

GHADA SHOLY: The Dalloul Art Foundation is one of the major foundations in the region. Most foundations focus on their local artists, whereas the Dalloul Foundation embraces all artists from the entire region and documents their work, exhibits their work and travels with their works to major world museums and institutions. This is very crucial to expose our culture and export our great artists and talents to the outside world.

WILLIAM LAWRIE: DAF has such a breadth and depth of collecting that there are really very few others like it in terms of holdings of Arab modern and contemporary art. The only other one with comparable scope is the Barjeel Collection. When institutions are looking for loans, particularly of 20th century Arab painting or sculpture, these are the prime sources of the best material. Works held by these foundations are exhibited worldwide, and the choices of acquisitions thereby shapes the narrative to quite a great extent of what is being discussed.

NADINE BEKDACH: Galerie Janine Rubeiz has dedicated great efforts to discover and promote young and emerging artists in Lebanon and the region, in addition to the roster of established artists it represents. We believe this support of newer talents is essential to the vitality of any culture, and we see it as part of our mission and our responsibility towards artists and audiences alike. An art foundation, on the other hand, is mainly dedicated to the conservation and preservation of art and has a curated collection of works that share links, or a certain narrative, depending on each foundation. Preservation, of course, is not limited to the physical aspect but rather encompasses the dissemination of knowledge around the collection and its constituents through films, podcasts, publications, and the inclusion of the collection in international exhibitions. Foundations are able to provide longevity and context to artworks and artists ushered and promoted by galleries. They offer educational possibilities for young students as well as scholars and opportunities to generate more research and documentation about art.

SALEH BARAKAT: The Dalloul Foundation is a significant example of how individual passions and philanthropic interests, combined with the knowledge of others, can create a cultural legacy that would not otherwise exist. Now and in the future, the work and mission of the Dalloul Foundation are naturally entwined with those of my galleries and artists. Our goal is to contribute to the development and growth of the art and artists of the Arab world, and to continue to support the production of new research and understanding through the interconnected spheres of collector and gallerist.

SALWA ZEIDAN: The Dalloul Art Foundation plays a crucial role in fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of art and culture. They provide valuable resources, financial support, and expertise that enable galleries like ours to curate exhibitions, preserve artwork, and educate the public. Firstly, foundations often have extensive art collections, which serve as valuable resources for research, education, and inspiration. The Dalloul Art Foundation, for example, has an extensive collection that spans various periods and artistic styles. By collaborating with such foundations, galleries gain access to these collections and can create exhibitions that offer a comprehensive view of art history. Secondly, this foundation plays an important role in funding and supporting cultural initiatives. They provide financial resources for exhibitions, educational programmes, and art conservation efforts. This support enhances the overall art ecosystem by enabling galleries to showcase artworks, organise workshops, and engage with diverse audiences. Lastly, the foundation also contributes to the preservation and conservation of art. They invest in research, restoration, and digitisation projects, ensuring that artworks are safeguarded for future generations. By encouraging best practices in art preservation, foundations like the Dalloul’s help galleries to maintain the integrity and longevity of their collections.

BARRAK NAAMANI: We cannot preserve our identity without foundations like DAF. Basel is willingly and passionately preserving our Arab art identity. We should honour and respect a true collector and preserver of the arts in our Arab world today.

JOUHAINAH SAMAWI: A foundation in its very structural essence plays a greater role than any one individual in safekeeping and preserving art. And with the right people operating and running a foundation, an art collection in its custody and its message can be safeguarded for generations to come. A foundation being an institution can also have a greater facility with dealing with other institutions for exchanges and collaboration which would help widen the reach of the art collection it holds, thus helping promote artists to a greater audience.

CHARLES POCOCK: Foundations like the Dalloul Art Foundation, the Barjeel Art Foundation in Sharjah and Mathaf in Doha, by way of their commissioning publications and making works available for loan to international exhibitions as well as funding the transport of these works, have generated an incredible amount of exposure for artists of the region to a wider international audience. This is also combined with a strong acquisition programme, which has positioned Modern Arab Art as central within the auctions of Bonhams, Christie’s and Sotheby’s in London. It is these foundations like DAF, Barjeel and Mathaf that have established the market as we know it today. Without them there were would not be a Middle Eastern Art Market, so I would say they are central to this market, not just one, but all together collectively.

 

Rima Nasser: Art preservation often involves a combination of exhibition curation, education, and outreach. How does your gallery approach these aspects in collaboration with the foundation, and what initiatives have been most successful in reaching diverse audiences?

NAYLA KETTANE: As a gallery, our job is to provide our collectors, like the custodian of Dalloul Art Foundation, Basel Dalloul, with crucial and precise documentation regarding any artwork that is acquired from our space. Such documentation would include certificates of authenticity, provenance, artwork details and images, history of exhibitions, texts, etc. All of which play a primordial role in art preservation.

NADINE BEKDACH: We always welcome collaborative activities, especially with the Dalloul Foundation, in any cultural initiative or event that helps disseminate regional and Arab art and culture. Galerie Janine Rubeiz had always supported educational ventures and received children, students, and public groups interested in art. We share the belief that art is an indispensable part of a healthy education for our younger generations, especially, unfortunately, in the actual void that we suffer in the public cultural educational system. In this respect, and as I have mentioned, our gallery believes in the necessity to present and promote promising young and emerging talents and in the necessity to uphold the cultural and artistic facet of our country and our region. Our gallery has not yet had concrete collaborations with DAF in this respect; however, our contribution has mostly been in providing access to information about artists and artworks for DAF and sharing our archives when requested. We also direct researchers who come to the gallery towards DAF when we know they will be able to help with their research, and vice versa. I look forward to more particular and fruitful collaborations in the near future.

WILLIAM LAWRIE: An important part of our gallery programme is the promotion of work by older artists, with long careers spanning the 20th and 21st centuries, whose earlier works we feel were somehow missed out from the Euro- centric/Anglo-centric global discourse of 20th century art on first telling. Through a combination of focused solo presentations at art fairs, outreach to curators, institutions, and collectors, and assistance in publications, this has been one of our main activities since 2014. The first was a show of 1970s and early 1980s geometric paintings and drawings by Nabil Nahas in the first iteration of Art Dubai Modern, the most recent (this season) are presentations at Frieze Masters in London for Mehdi Moutashar, and in Artissima in Turin for Mona Saudi. We see these activities in parallel to those of DAF, which has important holdings of all three artists.

HICHAM DAOUDI: The conservation of the physical state of artworks is a major issue in the Arab world, especially for works produced at the dawn of the 1930s-1970s when artists were not yet aware of conservation techniques. The preservation of this historical heritage today is a major challenge and I know the means deployed by DAF to restore or conserve the works in the best conditions possible. At my level, I always share archival documents and historical content related to the works that I had the honour of selling to the foundation. Basel never hesitates to enter into fruitful dialogues with me regarding the artworks, and he already has a very considerable documentation which allows the foundation to go directly to the heart of the subject.

SALEH BARAKAT: We have collaborated with the Dalloul Foundation and Dr. Basel Dalloul on many projects, with the nature of the collaboration often taking the form of artwork loans or close dialogues concerning different exhibitions and ideas. Having the opportunity to draw from the knowledge and acquisitions of the Dalloul Foundation is extremely useful and enhances many projects. Simultaneously, their ability to draw on our expertise in Arab art and our close connections with many significant Arab artists provides a positive reciprocity.

SALWA ZEIDAN: At our gallery, we approach art preservation through a combination of exhibition curation, education, and outreach, in collaboration with the Dalloul Art Foundation. Our aim is to make art accessible to diverse audiences and create a space for meaningful engagement. In terms of exhibition curation, we are planning to work closely with the foundation to select artworks that represent a diverse range of artistic styles, themes, and cultural perspectives. This ensures that our future exhibitions will appeal to a wide audience and provide opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue. Education is another crucial aspect. We are planning to organise guided tours, workshops, and artist talks to provide visitors with a deeper understanding of the art on display. Collaborating with the foundation allows us to tap into their extensive knowledge and network, facilitating enriching educational experiences for our visitors.

GHADA SHOLY: We at Anima often discuss upcoming exhibitions with the foundation and collaborate to find ways to promote the artists by setting up talks with speakers such as collectors, curators and art critics.

BARRAK NAAMANI: Nowadays social media plays a critical role in our lives. Sharing stories about arts and artists, I have been able to reach a wide range of diverse audiences from different nationalities and spectrums which maintains our culture and identity.

JOUHAINAH SAMAWI: As a gallery, some of our most impactful and successful collaborations with foundations have been those where we help organise a large-scale show for one of the artists we represent in the premises of the foundations. Being primary dealers and having been present for a substantial chapter of our artists’ careers, we have the knowledge and access to help the foundations in sourcing works from private individuals and provide them with the necessary literature to be able to put a show together.

CHARLES POCOCK: At Meem, we have tried so hard for so many years, I think for over ten years now, to establish an art market association for the region, which in turn gives institutions like DAF, Barjeel and Mathaf more protection in their acquisitions. This is done by the galleries joining an association and the gallery members signing up to a code of market ethics such as not dealing with forgeries or looted items as listed by CINOA, and this is in place and followed by the leading art dealer associations of London, Paris and New York. The institutions, especially DAF, are incredibly supportive of such an association as it gives them more protection. The problem is a number of galleries refuse to sign up to such a code as some of them have ‘previous form’.

 

Rima Nasser: The Dalloul Art Foundation is known for its dedication to preserving Arab art. How do you, as a gallery, perceive the significance of preserving and promoting this specific artistic heritage, and how have you contributed to this mission through your collaboration with the foundation?

SALEH BARAKAT: In the late 1990s, I curated what was to be a seminal exhibition for me as a gallerist at Agial Gallery. The show was titled 1948-1998: 50 Years of Arab Art for Palestine and included one artwork from each of the fifty years since the Nakba, shedding light on the displacement and tragedy that this event caused the Palestinian people. In creating this exhibition, I wanted to highlight the richness and diversity of Arab artists’ engagement with Palestine across time and the Arab world. While the show was certainly a success, the experience also taught me something very useful that has remained central to my thinking ever since. It was clear to me that much more specialisation was needed in this, as in many other areas, in order to bring together and, therefore, see more clearly the links and relationships between apparently disparate artists and artworks. This interest in uniting around a specific theme to produce new ways of seeing emerged in my early conversations with Dr. Ramzi Dalloul, and I sought to impress upon him the importance of the focused work that can be undertaken by collectors, the need to specialise in specific areas, and therefore to become more expert in that one concentration. As a commercial gallerist, I am well aware of the importance of the market, but in my view, it is equally necessary to foster a wider network of focused professionals, including conservators, academics, and institutions, among many others, who together form a powerful web of knowledge, both broad and specific, that nurtures and promotes our talents. I believe in the importance of institutional alongside individual collectors to provide a kind of platform which artists can attain at a certain point in their careers. But more than this, I believe it is important to foster collectors with a specific focus, a collection with a concentration on one subject, whatever this might be. This is where the expertise of the collector can truly flourish, and also where new meanings can be derived through, for example, seeing a significant body of paintings together for the first time. This is the point at which we can start to discern new narratives and produce new knowledge that might otherwise be overlooked. The Dalloul Foundation has nurtured and developed just such a specialty and is now a significant voice in the growth and knowledge of Arab art globally.

CHARLES POCOCK: We at Meem are there to support all recognised foundations, be it giving advice based on our extensive experiences in the market with artists or advice such as re- acquisitions as well as supporting such institutions through the vast resources held at the Al Noor Library, held at Meem, which holds over 20,000 publications devoted to the arts of the region, as well as over 150,000 images/ files in digital format.

NAYLA KETTANE: As a gallery based in both Lebanon and Germany, we recognise the importance of having foundations like the Dalloul Art Foundation present in our country and region. Preserving Arab art serves to nourish and expand its art history and to place it on the international art scene.

NADINE BEKDACH: Galerie Janine Rubeiz has contributed to the promotion of certain Arab artists by presenting their work, such as Adam Henein, Fateh Moudariss, Ahmad Kleige, etc. We have also persevered for three decades in the promotion of Lebanese artists, who are also naturally Arab. We believe in supporting our own culture and our own artists, regardless of whether they achieve international recognition or not, which is always welcome but not necessarily the main goal. And I believe the Dalloul Art Foundation and my gallery share the same principles for supporting and celebrating Arab culture and art. Again, here, the preservation of heritage is extremely important, yet taking the bull by the horns and betting on the promotion of emerging artists would be a wonderful occasion in shaping the future, an effort that I personally endorse.

JOUHAINAH SAMAWI: Since its founding, the gallery has dedicated its focus to promoting artists from the Arab world and the diaspora. Our goal since the start has been to offer international- level artists that are underrepresented and that stem from this region. While the gallery and foundation play different roles, our end goal is the same: making sure the art from the region is showcased and documented.

BARRAK NAAMANI: Every artist is contributing in their own way towards our artistic heritage and towards arts in general, as are all the art galleries. By spreading arts and by reaching out, more people maintain one’s culture and the feeling of belonging.

SALWA ZEIDAN: As a gallery, we perceive the preservation and promotion of Arab art as a significant mission. Arab art has a rich and diverse heritage that deserves recognition and appreciation on a global scale. By collaborating with the Dalloul Art Foundation, we actively contribute to this mission in several ways. Firstly, our collaboration allows us to introduce new Arab artists to the foundation and curate exhibitions that specifically highlight Arab artists and their contributions to the art world. By showcasing their work, we aim to shed light on their unique cultural perspectives and artistic expressions. Secondly, our gallery actively engages in research and documentation of Arab art, working closely with the foundation to gather historical information and contextualise artworks. This not only helps in preserving the artistic heritage but also contributes to a deeper understanding of Arab art for scholars, researchers, and art enthusiasts. Furthermore, our gallery actively participates in cultural exchange programmes and collaborations with other galleries and institutions. This helps promote Arab art globally and foster dialogue between different artistic communities. Overall, our collaboration with the Dalloul Art Foundation allows us to actively contribute to the preservation and promotion of Arab art, ensuring its rightful place in the broader art landscape.

GHADA SHOLY: Our common goal to promote art is achieved by combining efforts to share research and passion for the promotion of our artists in the region as well as the outside world through seminars, travelling exhibitions and international art fairs.

 

Rima Nasser: In your experience, what are the key challenges and triumphs of working closely with foundations in the art world, and how do you envision the future of these collaborations in enhancing art preservation and appreciation?

NAYLA KETTANE: In these troubled times and in the midst of our current situation, one cannot expect from foundations more than what they are currently doing.

NADINE BEKDACH: I believe galleries and foundations face the same challenges together, rather than difficulties in working together. Since we both share the same goal of promoting and providing access to the region’s artists and artworks, our efforts go hand in hand, especially considering the lack of support for the arts and culture field from our governments. In light of these circumstances, I believe we have been moving towards a more collaborative place where we create a network of support and share resources, allowing for more exposure for all parties involved as well as a wider documentation of the heritage of our region I hope the relationship established between my gallery and the Dalloul Art Foundation will lead to even more activities and collaborations, whether in research, publications, or perhaps in a shared emergency-preparedness context.

WILLIAM LAWRIE: Foundations such as DAF have concentrated collections of artworks that can be appreciated, studied, and loaned, and are go- to organisations for any institution, curator, academic etc to access such works. In terms of authenticity and provenance, such foundations, due to their public nature (ie works loaned, published, exhibited) have to be even more stringent than private collectors in general. This acts as an important quality control measure in the market – such foundations can really not afford to have works where either provenance or authenticity is in doubt. As a gallery that handles 20th century works as a key component of our programme, it is essential to us that such works are completely clear in both areas, and to have foundations with their collections to point to as a mark of quality supports this approach.

SALEH BARAKAT: I am personally very aware that art galleries and gallerists cannot work alone but rather exist and grow as complex and multi- layered ecosystems. The infrastructure of regional art worlds, as well as the global, is, I believe, extremely important. Throughout my career, I have worked to support and grow not only artists in the Arab world but also the many connected worlds of which they are a part, expanding the more obvious narratives that have often characterised the region to include a multiplicity of voices and perspectives.

BARRAK NAAMANI: This has been my first time collaborating with a foundation & fortunately it was with DAF. Working with Basel was easy since we share the same passion for arts and culture. Hopefully the collaboration will always be working on preserving Arab arts, and the gallery will always share the stories behind it. Art is a powerful tool for fighting aggression, rooting identities and culture. However, oppression often targets art as a way to erase people’s identity.

GHADA SHOLY: I personally don’t see any challenges. It is a very productive collaboration that benefits the foundation, the galleries, the artists, and art as a whole. We compliment and strengthen each other’s efforts and goals.

SALWA ZEIDAN: In my experience, working closely with foundations in the art world presents both challenges and triumphs. One key challenge can be aligning the goals and visions of the gallery and the foundation. Each institution may have different priorities and approaches, so finding common ground and establishing effective communication is essential. Balancing artistic integrity and commercial considerations can also be a challenge, as galleries often have to navigate the fine line between preserving art and making it accessible to audiences. However, the triumphs of these collaborations are numerous. Working with foundations brings a wealth of resources, knowledge, and access to art collections that can greatly enhance the gallery’s exhibitions and programmes. Foundations often have established networks, connections, and expertise, which can lead to increased exposure and opportunities for artists and institutions. Looking ahead, I envision that collaborations between galleries and foundations will continue to play a pivotal role in enhancing art preservation and appreciation. With advancements in technology and increased global connectivity, these collaborations can reach wider audiences and create more inclusive experiences. Additionally, collaborations can focus on engaging diverse communities, supporting emerging artists, and promoting cross- cultural understanding. By leveraging the strengths and resources of both galleries and foundations, we can collectively contribute to the enduring legacy of art preservation and appreciation.

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