Art Dubai’s International Director
Chloe Vaitsou swept onto the Dubai art scene in December 2018 at a time when the cracks were threateningto turn into craters. Based between London and the UAE, the former head of audience development for FriezeFairs is tasked with developing a sophisticated collector and institutional base and raising the fair’s profile,both regionally and internationally. Now, a new sponsorship with A.R.M. Holding brings winds of change. Wespeak to Vaitsou about what to expect in the coming years.
Canvas: You came at a critical time for Ar t Dubai – Myrna Ayad had just left and a major sponsor had f allen through. What w ere your thoughts when the opportunity arose?
Chloe Vaitsou: It’s been a humbling year overseeing the direction of Art Dubai alongside Pablo del Val, the fair’s Artistic Director. It has also been a learning curve for me, navigating through the region’s cultural landscape and the fair’s 13- year history. Since the beginning, I’ve seen the role as an opportunity to deep dive into an ambitious project with commercial and nonprofit requirements. I couldn’t be prouder of what the Art Dubai team has achieved in offering exciting new global perspectives and broadening conversations about art from diverse geographies across theGlobal South, as well as its role in education and thought leadership.
Canvas: How does the development of a VIP audience differ with a fair like Art Dubai, which is regionally focused with inter national reach , compared to Frieze, for example?
CV: Dubai is a distinctly diverse hub, with a very different identity to major urban centers. The art market in the UAE is evolving organically. Locally, this translates to increasing private, institutional, and governmental audiences that nurture the cultural ecosystem. Internationally, Art Dubai presents a unique proposition as a go-to hub for the hungry to discover quality art often not exposed to the global art fair universe.
Canvas: Art Dubai has always moved away from Western-led geographies. ONE-ON-ONE What can we expect from the third iteration of Residents, focusing on the African continent?
CV: This year’s Residents: AfricaEdition invites six young artistsfrom Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya andNigeria.Canvas: What will the par tnershipwith A.R.M. Holding bring to both Art Dubai and the art industry atlarge?
CV: This new partnership focuses on the development of Dubai’s art scene as well as on education and artist-led platforms. Together, we will launch new initiatives during the fair that will engage the whole city. In addition, the partnership will extend to initiatives that engage with schools to increase student exposure to art on a longterm basis. A.R.M. Holding will also provide a home for Campus Art Dubai and the Art Dubai Residents, both of which are aimed at providing artists with development opportunities.