Ministry of Foreign Affairs to build collection of works by local artists

In what looks like another official move to foster the development of a vibrant local arts scene – and then to show it to the rest of the world – the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) is to start a collection of original artworks by local artists for its embassies around the world.

The Art in Embassies’ programme will include work by both citizens and expat residents, and it sounds like it might have a very broad remit: “paintings, sculptures, design objects and other works” could be included.

Every UAE ambassador and chief of mission will have the opportunity to display examples of the country’s art. The official word is that the aim is “to express the role of culture as a tool in building bridges between countries and peoples through the arts” and “reflect the diversity and richness of the UAE’s cultural fabric”.

Zaki Nusseibeh (right), UAE Minister of State and a longstanding advisor to the government on cultural matters, seems to be in charge of the programme. “This initiative spurs from MoFAIC’s firm belief that art is a universal language and forms an intrinsic part of understanding and tolerance among cultures, and thus, plays a key part in establishing bridges between peoples around the globe”, he said in a press statement.

There’s no word yet on how or when the acquisitions will be made, or whether any criteria apply beyond the need to support the UAE’s soft-power mission. But we reckon there are more than 50 Emirati embassies and consulates around the world, plus a couple of dozen ‘missions’ of lower diplomatic status, so this collection could represent a significant opportunity for local practitioners.


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