Dubai’s first Italian art gallery set for launch

From exhibiting the work of masters such as Andy Warhol and Fateh Moudarres to providing a platform for local artists, Sconci Art Gallery aims to capture the minds and souls of art-lovers in Dubai

Set to launch in October, Sconci Art Gallery is one of the latest additions to Dubai's cultural landscape and the first Italian gallery in the emirate. The homegrown business has been passed down from artistic director Stefano Sconci to his son Lorenzo, and will be housed at Dubai Design District, d3. At present, there are more than 500 artworks with 53 on show. Vision meets Lorenzo Sconci, owner and general manager of the new space.

Vision: Sconci Art Gallery opened in Rome in 1977. Over the years, you've collaborated with major Italian and international galleries and auction houses. Why did you decide to open in Dubai?

Lorenzo Sconci: Dubai is becoming one of the most important encounter points for enthusiasts, collectors and dealers from all over the world. The large number of visitors, the great audience participation at the opening of exhibitions and the importance offered by the media give a clear signal of high interest and great potential for further success.

V: Aside from artists, what opportunities can the art-loving public get from d3 and spaces like yours?

L: We intend to take advantage of our background in the history of art, the ancient history of our culture and its well known refined sensibility…Our goal is to offer people the opportunity to become passionate, to debate, to criticise, to appreciate or not appreciate. Our hope is that they will always leave our gallery enriched in their minds and in their souls.

We want to create another point of contact between western culture and the Arab world. We aim to achieve this in two ways. The first is by showing our own collection of works by important masters such as Hussein Madi, Fateh Moudarres, Yehya Shafik, Abdullatif Al Smoudi, Fathi Hassan, Abdul Hadi El-Gazzar - they are very famous Arab artists, well known and appreciated in Dubai and the Arab world.

Secondly, we're planning exhibitions of work belonging to great artistic movements of contemporary international art and introducing them to the local art lovers and collectors. European artists, especially Italians who have already achieved fame and notoriety in Europe, are sometimes still unknown in Dubai and in the Arab world.

V: What does Dubai have to offer as a creative hub?

L: Dubai is the city of the present and the future, everything evolves quickly and the constant urge to go ahead and improve gives everyone a lot of energy. It shines through in every activity, from construction to innovation, from research to art. Everything is projected towards finding something new, great, beautiful and important.

V: How much local collaboration are you planning?

L: The collaboration with local artists will be promoted by our gallery as soon as we get the chance to come into direct contact with them...No less important will be to analyse the possibilities of increasing the value of these works so that they can also be a good investment for collectors.

V: Is there is a history of cultural appreciation between Rome and Dubai?

L: There are important connections…In the thirties and later in the fifties, sixties and seventies, many Arab artists discovered Rome and deemed it one of the cultural capitals of the world. Many moved for long periods of study, especially to attend the Academy of Fine Arts. Afterwards some settled to live in Italy, others continued their careers in various European capitals, particularly Paris and London, and some returned to their countries of origin. Arab artists have always been appreciated, followed with great interest and loved by the Italians and Europeans - it explains why today you can find works by Arab artists made in those years in Rome or Paris or London.