Friday, September 27, 2013


If you are in Dubai, an artist, collector, an art lover or just someone curious about art scene in the city, one person you need to know is Mona Al – Assad. Mona is not just an artist par-excellence but someone who believes that growing, evolving and flying together is not just more productive, fun but also extremely fulfilling. Based on these principles Mona has build a strong community of more than 300 artists in the Dubai, the Dubai Art Fans Community (DAF). The community has artists (amateurs and professionals) from different cultures, ethnicity and nationalities, and is growing from strength to strength each day. Here is an extremely captivating and informative interview of Mona .Do visit and sign up into this exciting community.

Please tell us a little about yourself and your exciting journey as an artist:

 I am Mona Al-Assa'ad, citizen of the world born in Lebanon Middle East. I have been living in the Gulf for the past 40 years and that reveals my age! Dad is a Senior United Nations/FAO Director. Having lived all through the fifties in Texas/USA, he met my mother Political Science Student in the American University of Beirut in the 60s. They were a unique couple getting into the Hippies Culture of Live and Let Live. They spent their entire fortune on making us travel the world in discovery of other peoples. French Educated, I have lived in the US and Europe for schooling and university. I grew up with everyone referring to me as the artist of the school and of our neighborhood. I held an Art Director Post at 16 in the French Military Company in Riyadh. I organized events and exhibited for charity organizations such as the UNHCR and exhibited my first works of art after my return from Monterey California where I studied Fine Arts and Film.  I moved to Dubai with my family in 1995.  I have exhibited in Jumeirah Beach club and my paintings in their VIP lounge on a permanent basis. Burj Al Arab called me then for an exhibition around the world cup. I then worked in Twofortyfive for Abu Dhabi Media Zone on an animation called OSTORA on my special fine art techniques for their backgrounds and the textures and characters! I was given the lead role for a short film produced by world famous producer Mr Abbas Kiorastami and first Local Film producer Miss Nayla Al-Khaja who directed it and the film played on Big Screen in last year's Dubai FilmFestival.

What was the impetus behind Dubai Art Fan Community?

Through all that time visiting Art Dubai's conventions every year and assessing the art-scene and going through the experience of the Art Galleries, I felt more comfortable to work on my art independent from Art Galleries. I learned the tricks of the trade on my own! Just when my wings were strong enough to fly, I decided not to fly alone in my journey of success- I formed the Art Fans Community and that was the platform for me as well as others to create and cater events and projects. This unique platform opened doors for artists as we do tend to like the same kind of cultural and artistic activities!

My main motivation behind DAF was to reverse through Art Negative Energy we live in today and re-create Positive Energy by promoting and opening doors to Artists. Through DAF artists are allowed to let the Art Scene be affected by True Art from the Heart with freedom of self-expression encouraging the good rather than the bad !

How do people especially the buyer (high end as well as affordable art buyers ) in Dubai perceive Art ?

 High-end buyers are very different from affordable art buyers as they first  look mainly for the quality of the art piece toppled with the background and level of connections behind it : The artist's connections, affiliations, and VIP clientele all influence the buying trends. The remote-control is in their hand as to change the trends of art taste just like fashion! Affordable Art Buyers look for skill and quality - but their taste is more on the decorative side. ( Useful sites for price comparisons - Travelexae )They want to be able to use it on the walls and spaces of their homes or offices. It is a gentler and softer kind of art and more geared towards a positive message than high end gallery art! Trend was and still is-as I saw at Ayyam Gallery- a revolutionary type of art that is aggressive and sometimes even rude to cultural norms! High end buyers don't mind an ugly image as long as it is done skillfully and a high end gallery convinces them to buy it! 

What kind of Art is popular?

Abstract and Mixed Media - Classical Art is always an honor to own but only if done extremely skillfully and for mainly investment. Most people in the modern times don't like to hang a classical painting on their walls unless they're from the old school of sheer quality! Art is highly affected by the society changes!

Your Impression as an Artist and Organizer, and which role is more rewarding?

It's normally either an artist or an organizer but to be the two is a challenge As difficult as it is, the rewards are in both! I view myself now as an Organizer with a high conscience. I have to lead masses of artists and art lovers but at the same time I am in their place, so it's extremely draining to my energy. But the passion is higher than I had ever experienced with being alone as a shy artist and working at my pace without having to deal with others emotions and needs! I am a more responsible human being now than I was as an artist! I cannot stop as I can afford to stop - As the happiness and the success of so many others is depending on me and on my hard work! My creativity turned from execution with brushes and paints on canvas to creating those events that appeal to the taste of the artist!
Mona :)

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