Posted on March 07, 2012

Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art announced today that it shall co-host the sixth edition of the Global Art Forum, the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region's platform for cultural debate and discussion.

The event, which aims at fostering audiences for art, starts at Mathaf, March 18-19 before continuing to Art Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah, March 21-24. It will feature around 50 experts, including museum directors, curators, art professionals and filmmakers.

“Mathaf is committed to supporting arts education and discourse, as evident in our approach to exhibitions as well as our ongoing public programs. Our collaboration with the Global Art Forum is a dynamic way for us to bring an engaging platform of speakers to Doha and we are proud to continue our partnership with other leading arts institutions across the Gulf,“ said Wassan Al-Khudairi, Director of Mathaf.

Newly expanded to six days for 2012, the Global Art Forum_6 is presented by Art Dubai, in partnership with Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, and is supported by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority. The Global Art Forum was founded by Art Dubai in 2007, and this is the third year that the forum has opened in Doha.

“Over the past five years, the Global Art Forum has become a major, collaborative event in the art world calendar. This year, it reinvents itself in terms of format and subject and, while rooted in the art world, delves into other disciplines," said Antonia Carver, Art Dubai Fair Director. "The 2012 edition of the Forum includes an array of fascinating regional and international voices from the worlds of film, journalism, economics, social media, publishing, and of course art. Most are speaking in the Gulf for the first time.”

Directed by writer Shumon Basar and entitled "The Medium of Media", the Forum is re-inventing itself this year. Along with the familiar array of lectures, conversations, discussions, and workshops, it includes a new roster of commissioned projects that precede and succeed the live days.

Thematically, the Global Art Forum_6 looks at the double meaning of the term 'media', both within the art world and referring to the world of publishing and reportage. Underpinning this is a look back at the past year in the Arab world, and how fundamental events have been both produced and consumed as media. The Global Art Forum_6 is, effectively, a media production about media.

The launch of the Global Art Forum_6 at Mathaf will focus on the relationship between news-makers and history-making in the Arab world, and the increasing phenomena of artists turning to the medium of feature film making.

Speakers in Doha include: CEO and Wallis Annenberg director of LACMA Michael Govan; novelist and artist Douglas Coupland; Serpentine Gallery co-director of exhibitions and programmes and director of international projects Hans Ulrich Obrist; writer / critic Sukhdev Sandhu; film-producer Anna Lena Vaney; artist Shezad Dawood; Demotix founder Turi Munthe; commentators Sultan Suood Al Qassemi, Yasmine El Rashidi and Mishaal Al Gergawi; curator Lara Khaldi; Bidoun senior editor Michael C. Vazquez; 032c editor / art historian Victoria Camblin; and Ghida Fakhry Khane, News and Programmes Presenter, Al Jazeera English.

The event will also include a screening of 'Over Your Cities Grass will Grow' by filmmaker Sophie Fiennes. The program in Doha begins with the presentation of a new collaboration between the Global Art Forum and Mathaf: an interactive Arabic Art Glossary, led by curator Lara Khaldi.

An evolving platform through which to build a database of arts terms and definitions in Arabic, the glossary will provide arts practitioners, institutions, students and translators with an unparalleled resource. Global Art Forum_6 also features the launch of Forum-Forum, a media resource space to showcase commissioned and relevant projects. Housed both in Mathaf's Library and at Art Dubai, Forum-Forum links the conversations across the two locations. Forum-Forum is designed as a way to keep the Global Art Forum's topics alive in a physical space for visitors to contemplate and enjoy at their own pace, including videos of the talks themselves.

The commissioned projects at the Global Art Forum _6 include a series of PowerPointsTM by writers and artists, curated by Victoria Camblin, featuring Ayshay+KariAltmann, Douglas Coupland (keynote), Goldin & Senneby, LuckyPDF, and Alexander Provan (Triple Canopy); a "Dictionary of the Mediatized Gulf" by Qatari artist-writer Sophia Al Maria; a publication of commissioned texts entitled "Some Medium Stories", edited by Michael Vazquez featuring Emily Dische-Becker, Tom Francis, Kai Friese, Kristine Khouri and Nicholas Sautin; a Middle East News Archive blog by Mariam Wissam Al Dabbagh entitled "Arshafa E3lamiya"; as well as works by artists Hala Alhedeithy, Isak Berbic and Banu Cennetoglu.

Brusselssprout and Hind Mezaina present unique UAE research too. “The Global Art Forum_6 is an exciting opportunity for Doha's students, artists and general interested public to join a critical discussion about topics that are relevant to today's complex media environment as much as to the process of art making.

Forum Forum expands our experience of traditional dialogue formats and the interactive Arabic Art Glossary ensures that the discourse that begins here will have a lasting impact well into the future,” said Michelle Dezember, Head of Education at Mathaf.

Contributors featured as the Global Art Forum_6 subsequently moves to Art Dubai, March 21-24 include: Douglas Coupland and Hans Ulrich Obrist; novelist Amin Maalouf; art market reporter Georgina Adam; geo-strategist and author Parag Khanna; artists Wael Shawky and Michael Rakowitz; curators Jack Persekian, Nat Muller and Defina Foundation's Aaron Cezar; Bidoun senior editor Negar Azimi; critic / journalist Josephine Bosma; writer / editor Alexander Provan; the Forum Fellows led by art critic Kaelen Wilson-Goldie; and a number of the participants from the Forum-Forum.

The Global Art Forum_6 talks schedule is available online at

The program starts at 3:00 pm till 6:15 pm on March 18 and from 2:00 pm till 7:00 pm on March 19.