One of the first galleries to represent and promote regional art, Green Art Gallery now has new premises and a different, more modern approach.
Green Art Gallery is what one would consider a blue blood in Dubai’s art scene. Director Yasmin Atassi proudly surveys the new ‘digs’ in the Bohemian art quarter, Al Quoz, and reminisces about her business.
The original gallery was opened in 1995 by her late mother, Mayla, along with partner Amna Dabbagh, and the pair were considered revolutionary at the time for being the first to introduce art from the region. "Many of the artists they represented are now considered masters of regional modern art," says Atassi. "In 2008, I took over and relaunched the gallery, representing contemporary art from the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey."
The new premises in Al Serkal Avenue in Al Quoz embodies all that Atassi aspires to. The interior architecture is spatial, white, clean-lined and contemporary – standard fare for modern art galleries. "But we have designed it in such a way that it exudes warmth, which is important for visitors," she says. "The design is also very flexible as our needs change with each exhibition."
Few institutions in Dubai share such history and knowledge of regional art as Green Art. Its aim is to continue to support regional trends in modern and contemporary art. "Our move to our new location also reflects our commitment to our artists and our focus on curatorial programming from the region," Atassi says.
Prior to Atassi’s entrance into gallery life, Green Art had represented major names from the region such as Lebanese artist Paul Guiragossian, Syrian master artists Fateh Moudarres and Louay Kayyali, and Iraqi pioneer Ismail Fattah.
Post 2008, under the relaunched programme, Atassi, whilst exhibiting major masters, has been working with modern artists as well, adding talent from Turkey, which, she believes, has a thriving and productive art scene. Her newly introduced art programme also widened the scope of exhibits to include new media – video, installations and more. "It is not easy to do that in Dubai, but we feel that it is time that we opened the audience to a more varied and sophisticated approach to viewing and collecting contemporary art."Commenting on the local art scene, Atassi is thrilled with its growth and wishes her mother were here to experience it. "She wouldn’t believe it! She worked so hard on educating her audience about the importance of collecting art. Now it’s a time of waiting lists for clients to acquire a piece of art."
On future plans for this deeply rooted gallery brand, Atassi hopes for a larger body of serious collectors within the region who support the artists. "I also want to see more public collections. The lack of museums in Dubai has encouraged collectors to show their collections to the public."