A discussion about Art hosted by Burberry

Fellow Burberry lovers have noticed the amazing campaign called “The Art of the Trench”. As it will continue into 2016, I think you better visit the site and read up on it’s purpose. To me, it is one of the better ways of building a bridge between art, fashion, heritage and culture that I’ve come to explore in a long time. Obviously, the campaign connect with a number of artists and gallerists, and to be able to “give back” to this community, Burberry Middle East recently hosted a breakfast and art conversation led by the founder of Brownbook Magazine Mr. Ahmed Bin Shabib, focusing on the Gallery The Third Linerepresented by it’s owner Ms. Sunny Rahbar and their opening of a new exhibition featuring Mr. Youssef Nabil’s latest work.

A lot of names, so let’s take it step by step shall we!

As this was a breakfast event, we could all enjoy being served the most delicious breakfast condiments in bite sizes. I always love food, I know how much hard work goes into catering for events like these and so I try to taste on everything and just relax. Once again, the stunning store in Mall of the Emirates was closed down to host the art conversation. We, the audience could cozy up in soft sofas and just prepare ourselves for an interesting morning.

Mr. Bin Shabib (far left) created a warm and welcoming setting for the discussion where he wished us to engage in the topics. It was not set like a regular interview and for me, who didn’t know much about this particualr art scene, it opened up to some personal research. Not all the answers got served on a plate, I too needed to engage and be curious of the people involved. It was highly evolving to me.

Ms. Sunny Rahbar (far right) started the gallery about 13 years ago, after seeing a lack of stage for contemporary Middle Eastern artists (local, regional or international) still struggling to reach out with their art. Now, more than a decade later, she and the gallery is well known and respected globally and certainly adds a lot of value to Dubai as a city, for putting it on the map as something other than shopping malls and glitter-land. Something more and beyond. She early connected artist Mr. Youssef Nabil to the gallery and this morning we got a presentation about his new exhibition featuring both a movie and wall art.

Throughout his whole career, Mr. Nabil has worked with the themes of loss and displacement, of exile and the force to move on but still carry the memories with you. Born in Egypt, he constantly tries to revisit the country that he remembers, even though now living and working in NYC and Paris. You can see the longing and sadness but also hope and love in his work and hearing him talk about this complex topic about being Egyptian without no longer knowing his country was touching. And such an important topic of today.

The new movie, his second one, called “I saved my Belly dancer” with Salma Hayek and Tahar Rahim focuses on how the artist himself remember the old tradition with Egyptian belly dancers, far from the ones you can see in today’s touristy entertainment industry. It focus on the art, the skill, the exclusive feeling of luxurious 1950’s Egypt and the beauty that lies within it. Mr. Youssef is an internationally acclaimed artist, and with exhibitions running from Cape Town via NYC, Washington, Paris, Barcelona, Asia and Middle East I was very excited to get the chance to hear him speak about his journey, how it was to make this film and work with Salma Hayek, how he can see our region here becoming large on the international art scene and not only for wealthy buyers but accessible to anyone who loves art.

Something that I particularly liked was the humble way they all discussed art in relationship with Burberry and the fashion industry. Both with fashion and the art of makeup, we often tend to forget to include it as a “real” part of the art community. It might be to commercial for some, to accessible maybe? But I, who have never collected art (unless for makeup!) or been updated within this world, didn’t feel misplaced at all, but very included. It definitely sparked my interest!  I am so happy that I got the chance to attend such an un-typical event where press and other influencers took turn in asking questions and giving the morning an interesting twist. Naturally, I also got to sneak peek on some new arrivals in store, and I’m thinking that Burberry Middle East is on a roll. Something is cooking and it smells fabulous. I can’t wait to be a part of this journey. ♥

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