Buying a new Emaar property is more than a financial investment simply because acquiring a beautifully designed, high-quality property inspires optimism, beauty, and hope. Whether your new home is a villa, a townhouse, or a plush apartment in the heart of the city, you will realise that nothing pulls a room together like beautifully decorated walls and space, even the most elegant furniture and décor. After all, when you choose art for your home, it will ultimately become an integral part of your life, and it must reflect your style, character and personality.
Seeking advice on where to start and how to buy art in Dubai, we met Giuseppe Moscatello, renowned artist, cultural developer, founder of Evolve, and curator of Foundry, the celebrated art space in Downtown Dubai, to give us a bit of essential advice.
By: Souha Abbas
First, can you tell us more about yourself and your role with Foundry?
I studied art and design at the University of Art in Rome. I moved to the UAE in 2007 and co-founded two art entities in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, working with artists, designers and creative practitioners, museums and international art organizations. Being an artist myself, I bring a broad perspective and a deep understanding. I started working with Emaar in 2018 on the idea of establishing an art initiative in Downtown Dubai that would be of cultural value for the city and would eventually expand to other cities and possibly other countries. This is how Foundry was conceived to be a fresh take on art in the middle of Dubai. Our exhibition space is not your typical art gallery white cube; it is a concept where the artists have to interact with space and develop something specifically for every corner and niche.
In what way does Foundry standout among other art spaces in Dubai and the UAE?
Foundry’s space is quite different from any other gallery because it has several galleries that are all interconnected so that the visitor can move easily and follow a very transitional flow from one exhibition to another. Added to the fact that we can have our own exhibitions or host other galleries or projects. Our first line of exhibition opened in December renowned artist Jeffar Al Khaledi, and Iranian artist Navid Azimi Sajjadi. We also hosted the Akka Project gallery, and that was our first collaboration with an external gallery, with an exhibition for Mozambican artist Goncalo Mabunda. In the last unit, we presented an exceptional private collection of old photos owned by Emirati designer and collector, Khalid Shafar, representing works by different Khaleeji photographers. This exhibition was our way to encourage art collectors from the community to show their collections to the public for the first time. It was also an ideal opportunity to promote khaleeji photographers. We also opened recently a new line of exhibitions with international artist Harif Guzman, Russian/Kazakh artist Adil Aubekerov, Rex; and from the emerging scene Enforce One, Karim Al Tamerji and Kapil Bhimekar.
What can you advise new Emaar property owners when it comes to finding the best art for their homes?
Art is very subjective, you can decide to buy aesthetically appealing art, or more conceptual, and both options can be found in the Emirates since it has a lot to offer in terms of artists and galleries from both local and international art scene. Even better, if you are connected with the locally based art community, you can interact with the artists, visit them in their workshops, and talk to them to understand better the philosophy behind their work and see if you feel aligned somehow with that philosophy. Visiting Art Dubai and Abu Dhabi Art will also help to identify the right artworks that can suit your needs.
In your opinion, what’s the best way to decorate a large space?
If you have a massive property with a lot of space to fill, you can diversify the artworks between paintings, sculptures and art installations. And because art, as I said, is subjective, it’s better to have a good understanding of your space, the ambience you want to achieve, and what you want to surround yourself with. That said, some experts and curators can help you with this; I have been doing this for many years. I believe that developers should start to work closely and in parallel with artists during the finishing and final fit out of certain properties where a special creative touch can add a huge value.
What’s your advice about buying art from emerging artists?
In Dubai, we have the opportunity to access a wide variety of art from many countries and cultures. Buying art shouldn’t be only about investing in expensive works by known artists. Many emerging artists have fascinating pieces that would make a fine addition to your collection. Some universally renowned art collectors, like François Pinault, for example, invests heavily in artwork created by emerging artists. His collection is featured in Venice’s Pinault Museum, which has become a hallmark in the city. Likewise, you can buy from emerging artists not only to encourage them but also because you can find pieces that you connect strongly with, and they can become an essential part of your household. The bonus here is the possibility of an increase in your investment if the artist becomes better known.
What are your views on the future of art in Dubai?
I think the art scene in Dubai will continue to witness a potential growth, especially now that the UAE has launched the Golden Residence Visa initiative, which has allowed many Dubai-based artists and creatives to consider staying in the city and call it their home. That’s a very positive message because it will make all those creatives feel more stable and productive and more confident in establishing their network firmly in the UAE. On the other hand, Emirati artists are maturing more and more, establishing themselves, and leaving a legacy to new generations.