New York University Abu Dhabi seems to be on a mission to take the study of Arab art to the highest echelons of academia.
The institution just announced the launch of a new ‘Arab Center for the Study of Art’ situated at NYUAD’s Saadiyat campus, which will be dedicated to visual art and photography of Western Asia and North Africa.
“We need to set our own standards, our own historical narrative about this region from this region,” NYUAD art history professor Salwa Mikdadi told the National. “We’re looking at revising the canon of art history for this region.”
The center will have a rich program of conferences and workshops, as well as audio and video interviews with artists and art professionals. Everything will be digitized and made available on the center’s website.
Mikdadi will take charge of the development of archival resources to bring light to the overlooked history of Arab art institutions and art exhibitions.
As for literature and visual studies, Professor Shamoon Zamir will lead research based on NYUAD’s 2014 visual archive ‘Akkasah’, which comprises historical and contemporary photography from Western Asia and North Africa.
Several other projects bridging between arts and social sciences are also in the works, all under the supervision of social research and public policy professor May Al-Dabbagh—amongst which is a mobile conversational platform to engage with artists and social scientists in the region.