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UAE art scene’s “kenza”

May 29, 2010

Even before I went to visit Kenza Art Gallery, I knew I was going to blog about it. Reason being – whilst majority of the Dubai art galleries are based in Al Quoz, this cozy gallery is located in a dainty corner at Souq Madinat Jumeirah surrounded by ‘I Love UAE’ souvenirs and textiles stores.

When researching about Kenza online, the only result I got from the web is Time Out’s review, basically a brief outline – “This little gallery claims its USP is that it is the only place in the world where one can see the works of Sumaira Isaacs. Ms Isaacs has shown work in the prestigious Mina A’ Salam and Grand Hyatt hotels.” [http://www.timeoutdubai.com/art/reviews/7905-kenza-art-gallery]

Even as both the statements are contrasting, it made me frown as the gallery is much more than just that. Surely Kenza’s audience is the touristy collectors, one must appreciate they it also has a different appeal, being in such a location.

During my visit, I came across Airaj Isaacs, son of Sumaira Isaacs, who not only manages the gallery and is the curator of most their art events, but also appreciates art and has a deep understanding of art history, genres and the global art market, growing up in an art house.

Also, as region’s most art galleries concentrate on renting out spaces for emerging artists, which is again commendable for platform – setting, this charming outlet focuses more on the artists and their artworks, explaining the ideology behind it – which to me is, frankly, fascinating.

The reason I say this is because if one ever passes by Kenza, it is not just about stepping into an art gallery, but the entire experience of finding it amidst the little surrounding stores, viewing large contemporary mature artworks in that inviting ambiance and being pleasantly astounded by its simplicity and space.

Honestly, even though it is a petite corner, it surely is a must – visit recommended by theartskitchen; if nothing else but to simply witness a retrospective of Ms Issacs’s largely contrasting profound pieces.

And if you do get a chance to bump into her son, he will unquestionably welcome you, keep you entertained with his in depth art knowledge and, on a passing note, may perhaps mention how the gallery’s name is inspired by his little sister, Kenza Isaacs, who is most likely to become the gallery’s future ‘Treasure’.

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