Museums and the Digital Experience

Sophie Kazan / Featured Insights

‘How Have New Realities and the Covid Pandemic Impacted Artists and the Arts Sector in the UAE.’

My article in the most recent Museums in the MENA Region Journal.

On March 22, 2020, the UAE Ministry of Interior called upon all UAE residents to remain in their homes and for businesses to close due to the mounting threat of the Covid-19 virus. The country’s young population has one of the highest levels of internet penetration in the world and so a virtual migration for work, business and social interaction took place almost immediately. Arguably the limitations were felt most strongly by artists and art galleries because the lockdown happened days before the start of Dubai Art Week, Art Dubai 2020 and the Sharjah Biennale 2020. All was postponed, though the accompanying talks series, the Global Art Forum and March Meetings were held online. Nonetheless, this left a substantial gap for small independent galleries and artists, who had relied on the physical contact and security created by large art events. The pandemic has yet to be overcome internationally and restrictions still abound. Nonetheless, this paper aims to examine how artists and art audiences were impacted by the events of 2020 and 2021 so far. More specifically, it explores how new realities developed and were translated into art. This period also saw considerable activity within larger art organisations and cultural entities in the UAE that was reported in the press, which this paper will touch upon briefly.  To read further.