Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 1 June 2020

2017: a new gallery at Alliance Francaise, Dubai

Image shows Bernard Frontero at the opening of the new gallery at Alliance Francaise, Dubai. Courtesy of Alliance Francaise, Dubai
Image shows Bernard Frontero at the opening of the new gallery at Alliance Francaise, Dubai. Courtesy of Alliance Francaise, Dubai

This week, in the main paper, we ran an edited version of this interview with Bernard Frontero, the director of Alliance Francaise about La Galerie, the new permenant gallery space at the Oud Metha location. Here is the full Q&A.

Q: Why did you decide to open this new gallery space?

For a long time, we have used the hall of the Alliance to promote artists and to showcase their artworks. For the past two years, we have renovated our premises in Oud Metha. As we were continuously holding art shows, it became obvious that we needed a professional art gallery to host art exhibitions and to allow the meeting between French and Francophone artists and Emirati artists, which is the goal of the Alliance Française all over the world.

Q: Will it function as a commercial or a non-profit gallery?

The Alliance is a non-profit organisation, with a board of benevolent volunteer directors presided by Hussain Al Jaziri. Therefore, the gallery will be non profit, and dedicated to the promotion of artists from the Francophone and Francophile communities.

Q: Will you have a curator in charge of programming?

We will have a different curator for each exhibition. We are very pleased that Meagan Kelly Horsman, Business Development Director at Meem Gallery could play this role with our first artist as well as Guillaume Cuiry from Alserkal’s Galerie Nationale who has been very helpful.

Q: Will you focus on young and emerging artists?

Yes, but also on established ones. We want to present Francophone artists at prominent art events in Dubai, such as Art Dubai. The choice of these artists will be made by a cultural committee composed of artists, agents and professionals from the art business.

Q: Will you only include UAE based artists or will there be artists from France and Europe showing too?

We will mainly focus on artists from the GCC and France but artists from other countries could be shown in group shows. That is the case with the next show at La Galerie: it will be in collaboration with Antidote, a French company based in Dubai. The show is called “The Ink Project and it will feature Nasir Nasrallah from the UAE, Sarah Mumtaz from Pakistan and Joelle Verstraeten from Belgium.

Q: Why did you decide to open with the work of Sheikha Wafa bint Hasher al Maktoum?

As a French cultural centre in the UAE, Alliance Française wanted to invite a local artist for the inauguration of La Galerie. What an honour to welcome Sheika Wafa! She is a talented and professional artist. Her work is contemporary and linked to the culture and heritage of the UAE. To top it off, Sheika Wafa speaks French fluently, without any accent and she enjoys and appreciates very much French culture. She was the perfect artist to illustrate our aim.

Q: How do you plan to position yourself within the UAE’s art scene?

Our intention is to promote UAE artists in France and French artists in the UAE, it’s a goal we share in cooperation with the French Embassy in the UAE. Every year, there are opportunities for artist residence in France and particularly in Paris for young talents in every field of culture and particularly in visual arts. The “Cité Internationale des Arts” or the “104” in Paris invite every year foreign artists in residence for a few months. We cooperate with Mohamed Bendjebbour ,the audiovisual Attaché at the French Embassy, in promoting Emirati film makers at the FEMIS School in France every year. There are many more things the Alliance would like to promote on the cultural point of view. In fact we want to tell professional artists to come and visit us and we will do our best to help them find collaboration in the Francophone world. Alliance Française is a unique French centre in Dubai and the UAE, and in cooperation with the French Embassy, we have the ambition to be “the easy E-gate to France”

* www.afdubai.org

aseaman@thenational.ae

Updated: July 21, 2017 07:00 PM

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