On April 25, Art Dubai announced the departure of Antonia Carver, its fair director for the past six years. Assuming the role is Myrna Ayad, Dubai-based independent arts writer and former editor of Canvas magazine. Ayad will start her role as the new fair director on May 1.
“I’m overjoyed to be joining Art Dubai, which—thanks to the ambitions of Antonia and the team—has become the world’s foremost platform for the art communities of the Middle East and South Asia. Having attended and worked with the fair since 2007, I’m excited by the opportunity to work with the team to build on this success,” says Ayad.
Benedict Floyd, CEO of the Art Dubai Group, expressed his strong support for Ayad: “Myrna’s thorough knowledge, understanding and extensive connections within cultural scenes locally and across the Middle East, and her strong background in writing and reputation as one of the region’s foremost cultural commentators will be of huge value for the fair.”
Carver is moving on to become the first global director of Art Jameel, an arts foundation that supports and promotes contemporary art in the Middle East. She will continue to work with Art Dubai as an advisor and a member of the fair’s board.
Under Carver’s leadership, Art Dubai, which celebrated its 10th edition earlier this year in March, gained an international reputation as the leading fair in the Gulf region, with its unique Art Dubai Modern section that began in 2014 and a geographically focused and curated Marker section that started in 2011. In addition to commercial achievements, Art Dubai is focused on educating and nurturing young artists from the region with its numerous and wide-ranging programs that include Campus Art Dubai and Artist-In-Residence Dubai.
In an official statement released by Art Dubai, Carver says: “The development of Art Dubai and the strength of its programming have gone hand-in-hand with the growth of the local and regional arts scene, and the increased international recognition for its artists, galleries and institutions. There has never been such a palpable engagement from the global arts community in the work being produced by artists emerging and established in the Middle East and South Asia—and we’re really proud of the role played by Art Dubai in this process.”
Sylvia Tsai is associate editor at ArtAsiaPacific.