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Dubai, Dubai
United Arab Emirates

Art Week brings together Dubai’s thriving creative industries into a week-long celebration of arts and culture.

Myriam Ben Salah


Myriam Ben Salah

Guest Curator, Abraaj Group Art Prize 2018

The role of a curator is important in the way it creates mediation between artists and the public.
 Salah. Courtesy Deborah Farnault

Salah. Courtesy Deborah Farnault

How does your exhibition underscore what it means to be an artist from the MENASA region? Do you feel Of Other Spaces is a condition specific to artists from this part of the world or has universal application? 

It is interesting to think about the title in relation to artists from the MENASA region. I hadn't actually! Of Other Spaces is based on Michel Foucault's approach of utopias and particularly heterotopias: spaces that are separate from society.

It is true though that artists from the MENASA region can be pinned to "other spaces" from a Western point of view. But I feel like today artists in general exist globally, without the need to be attached to a space or place.


Why is the role of a curator important today?

I think the role of a curator is important in the way it creates mediation between artists and the public. Contemporary art is often seen as a complex discipline that's not easily accessible.

However artists today deal with the same problematics as everyone: politics, science fiction, the environment. By the narrative he creates, the curator puts the artwork into context and enhances its meaning and impact.


What are some key elements to keep in mind when curating a group show?

The key element for me is to always trust the vision of the artist while integrating it in a larger narrative. I don't see the curator's job as the work of an author as much as the work of an editor putting together a meaningful discourse while keeping the unicity of each artist's voice.