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Dubai’s art galleries join forces for UNHCR fundraising

For the first time in history, an online auction gathering sixty pieces made by Middle Eastern artists and a dozen Emirati art galleries will take place. Its objective? To raise funds for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The artistic community mobilized for the benefit of the underprivileged.


Putting art at the service of the common good. This is undoubtedly what motivated this initiative fomented by seven galleries on Al-Serkal Avenue in Dubai in partnership with Sotheby’s. From 18 to 25 June, an online auction with the evocative title of “This Too Shall pass” will be organized by the auction house whose reputation is already well established.



In order to resume their activities while contributing to the efforts of public health agencies to stem the spread of the coronavirus, the owners of art galleries located at Dubai’s famous Al-Serkal Avenue have brainstormed during a web conference on what they could do to fulfill both objectives. As discussions progressed, the idea of a joint auction, with part of the proceeds going to charity, quickly gained the support of all participants. This initiative will provide financial support to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (10% of the profits will be reverted to it) and at the same time support the galleries and their artists, who have been massively impacted by the crisis. 


“We wanted to showcase the galleries’ best work to an international audience, express the solidarity within our community that we have spent ten years building, and support a cause we all care about: the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,” said a manager of one of the art galleries involved in the project.


A new cultural landscape


More than an initiative in favor of refugees, this unprecedented measure also reveals the revival desire of an artistic sector directly impacted by the economic repercussions of the coronavirus. Closed for several weeks, art galleries of the metropolis have pulled together to continue to exist. From then on, their collaboration was obvious. A true example of a fraternity which ensured the survival of certain players of the artistic world at a time when all artistic events have evaporated in a few days.


Mohamed Melehi, “Soleil Oblique” (1971)


In total, more than sixty works produced by artists from the Middle East will be auctioned during the week. Among the flagship works scheduled for sale, we can quote the famous sculpture of Mona Saudi, made of Jordanian jade and estimated at around $50,000, “Rodeo Cowboy” by Farhad Moshiri (2018), made of hand-embroidered beads on canvas on board, estimated at between $80,000 and $120,000; and an untitled work by the Emirati artist Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim dated 2019, in acrylic on canvas, estimated at $10,000 to $15,000.


Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, “Untitled” (2019)


We can also mention the work of Monir Farmanfarmaian, made of silk and wool, woven by hand in Tabriz, or the dynamic composition by the Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj entitled “Exchange”.


See also

The « Art Revolution » is reintroducing color to Mosul

Published on 16 June 2020