The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated Authority for culture, arts, and heritage, and Institut Français, a government agency in charge of promoting French culture abroad, have launched the third edition of the Artists-in-Residence (A.i.R) programme, aimed at promoting cultural and artistic exchange between the UAE and France.
A.i.R brings together expertise and resources from arts and cultural organisations in the UAE and France to facilitate international cultural dialogue and exchange through artistic research, production and residencies. It aims to contribute to the burgeoning local art scene of Dubai highlighting the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood as a cultural hub of the city promoting international discourse through open studios, educational activities and new commissions as part of Art Dubai projects.
A part of Dubai Culture’s Arts Services, this year’s A.i.R programme opens doors for cultural exchange for Valerian Gagnaire and Julien Famchon, French artists and designers, who will partner with Emirati and UAE-based artists and youth.
Through their interaction, the two artists will be able to further strengthen their understanding of local heritage and culture and also share their expertise and inspire participants through educational activities such as talks and workshops.
Khalil Abdulwahid, Manager of Visual Arts, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, said: “The third edition of the A.i.R programme with Institut Français is a testament to the success of concerted efforts taken by the two countries to strengthen ties, by using art and design as a unifying force.
“Having successfully collaborated with a host of French artists in the past, the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority will continue to foster mutual understanding through artistic exchange between the UAE and France at A.i.R. We will work closely with Institut Français to ensure that the two visiting artists can engage in innovative practices in the arts and create opportunities for public interaction and engagement.”
David Bertolotti, Director of Institut Français in the UAE, said: “France and the UAE have shared strong cultural links in art and design. This programme gives us the opportunity to further enhance the links between the two art worlds. Through this programme, artists can cross boundaries and explore facets of creativity in the cultural hub of the Middle East and also impart their own skills to budding artists and designers.”
With enthusiastic energy,Valerian Gagnaire explores various disciplines that allow him to establish interdisciplinary and conceptual connections between the design practice and art in general. After a BA at Ecal (Cantonal school of Art of Lausanne) in Switzerland, he lectured as an assistant teacher together with renowned designers, Pierre Charpin and Ronan Bouroullec. He then joined the prestigious Royal College of Art in London to deepen his design practice approach with Gabriel Klasmer, Michael Marriott and Luke Pearson.
Following his academic pursuit, Valerian strengthened his skills by taking part in a workshop in Eritrea and two residences (in Japan and the Reunion Island). Through these intercultural exchanges, Valerian developed a method of work considering the local environment as a starting point to question the notion of cultural heritage and locality in front of phenomenon of globalisation: “A place on a map is a place in History.”
At the A.i.R programme this year, Valerian will be working closely with design students at the American University of Sharjah and their Professor Kevin Badni. Together, the team is redesigning a foot stool using ceramics, reflecting the culture and heritage of the region. This design was featured at the Abu Dhabi Art Fair.
French artist and graphic designer, Julien Famchon studied at the Decorative Arts School (Strasbourg) and later at School of Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. After studying painting, sculpting, photography, engraving, video, 3, Julien realised his passion was designing comics. Over the years, Julien has worked on comics and various educational books, illustrated stories and encyclopedias. In 2005, Julien was commissioned to design a prestigious architecture marina project and several luxury hotels and villas in Cape Verde. He was also recently in Dubai to work on a short animated film about the history of the MENA region. Through his travels across various countries and cultures, his pen lingers and he illustrates his experiences through his comics.
Led by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Institut Français was established in January 2011 as a new government agency in charge of promoting French culture abroad, to encourage international artistic exchange, strengthen intercultural understanding, and support cultural development around the world. The branch office of Institut Français in the UAE was created in January 2012, in the premises of the French Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
Dubai Culture’s multifaceted services are aimed at recognising and cultivating the skills of Emirati and local-based artists. Having already activated workshops, advisory services, and artist commissioning, the Authority also supports the annual Artists-in-Residence (A.i.R) Dubai programme in association with Delfina Foundation, Tashkeel and Art Dubai.
Dubai Culture is committed to underscoring the Emirati artistic heritage of Dubai and its vibrant contemporary arts environment, while offering a conducive environment to nurture and strengthen artistic talent in the Emirate.