Archive for October, 2012

The Founding Years (1969-1973) : A Selection of Works from the Sultan Gallery Archives


ArteEast, in collaboration with The Sultan Gallery hosts a research residency with Beirut-based researcher Kristine Khouri. Ms. Khouri’s research work is grounded in interviews, archives, and a variety of other resources and focuses primarily on modern art history in the Arab world in addition to working with artists who have a  research based practice.

About ArteEast-Sultan Gallery Residency:

The booming art sector in the Middle East today underscores the need for a better understanding of the history of Arab art and how it has enabled this dynamic contemporary scene. As part of its mission to cultivate and support critical discourse around contemporary Arab art, ArteEast is undertaking a Research Residency with Kristine Khouri that will permit us to locate Kuwait at the crux of regional art production and exhibition.

As a society where art patrons and collectors have long cultivated the art community, Kuwait holds an important place in the history of Arab art.  A closer look further reveals that the Sultan Gallery has played a key role in establishing the reputation of the Arab Gulf as an important arts center and in developing the international art world’s perception of Arab art.

Ms. Khouri’s project will explore the Sultan Gallery’s history since it’s opening in 1969 under the patronage of H.E. Sheikh Abdulla Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.  Through a month-long residency in Kuwait, Ms. Khouri will perform on-site research of gallery archives and conduct interviews of local art collectors and patrons to fully uncover the impact of Kuwait’s early role in developing audiences and a market for young Arab artists.

ArteEast has selected Ms. Khouri’s project for a Fall 2012 Residency because of its value to the regional and international arts communities as well as her expertise as a seasoned researcher in the Arab art sector.

The Residency will culminate in a public lecture by Ms. Khouri at the Sultan Gallery where she will reveal her initial findings from the gallery’s archives, and discuss possible future outcomes. Audiences will gain knowledge of the Sultan Gallery’s role in the contemporary art milieu in the Middle East and acquire an understanding of the research techniques that secure this knowledge for future generations. The talk will be moderated by ArteEast Artistic Director, Barrak Alzaid.

About Sultan Gallery

Sultan Gallery’s young and dynamic founders, Ghazi and Najat Sultan, opened its first exhibition on March 25th, 1969. The gallery held nearly 9 shows a year over its 20 year-life, until it was forced to close due to the invasion in 1991.

During this phase, the gallery boasted a roster of some of the important young Kuwaiti, Palestinian, Egyptian, Iraqi, and Lebanese artists among others. The artists built reputations at the gallery and in Kuwait, mounting multiple shows over the years, and generating an audience that became familiar with Arab art. Throughout its history the Sultan Gallery also played an important role in developing individual patronage as well as the public’s appreciation of art.

Kristine Khouri is a researcher, writer, and photographer based in Beirut, Lebanon.After graduating with honors from the University of Chicago in 2007 with a BA in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Kristine was a recipient of the Fulbright fellowship (2007-2008) and spent a year in Amman, Jordan investigating identity production in the visual arts, as well as a researcher-in-residence at Makan (Amman) in 2011 and the Delfina Foundation (London) in 2012.

Khouri has conducted research in support of numerous internationally renowned artist projects and commissions, including Walid Raad, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige and Akram Zaatari. Khouri has also worked with various regional arts institutions as writer and researcher for The Young Arab Theater Fund’s Meeting Points Festival, the Sharjah Art Foundation’s March Meeting as well as Ashkal Alwan, Beirut.  She has contributed writing to the exhibition catalog “The Road to Peace” Beirut, 2009 as well as publications including Bidoun, The National (Newspaper, Abu Dhabi), and most recently for Art Dubai’s Global Art Forum 6: The Medium of Media’s publication “TL; DR, Some Medium Stories.”

She is co-founder of The History of Arab Modernities in the Visual Arts Study Group, a long term regional project whose main mission is to investigate the production, exhibition, critical engagement and consumption of modern art in the region that remains undocumented from the period of 1940’s-1980’s in the Middle East.  A forthcoming project on the history of “The International Art Exhibition for Palestine” exhibition, Beirut, 1978, organized by the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which presented the nucleus of the collection of the Museum in Solidarity with Palestine. The research will take the form of an archival-based exhibition at MACBA (Barcelona) in 2014, and Istanbul (TBD) and Unesco (Paris) (TBD), along with a publication.

About ArteEast

Founded as a New York-based not-for-profit organization in 2003, ArteEast is the leading visibility platform, support structure and dissemination hub for art practices from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and its diaspora. Serving a diverse global audience of artists, arts professionals, collectors, educators, and the general public, we offer in-depth access to the contemporary MENA arts through a multiplatform strategy. Our programs complement online publications and exhibitions with on-site public programs from artist talks, and film screenings, to exhibitions as well as promote regional arts production through support to both artists and arts spaces. This mission and strategy locate ArteEast in the unique position of championing MENA artists while fostering an international dialogue of critical discourse around their work and offering new audiences a nuanced perspective on the region’s cultural context.

ArteEast launched its residency initiative in 2011 to support the holistic development of the MENA regional art sector.  In our first year, we hosted two US-based residencies; the first featured Abbas Akhavan (Iran/Canada) at the The Watermill Center, and a second residency with Beirut-based arts organization 98weeks at International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP). Alongside these successful residencies we have hosted a series of talks throughout 2011 that culminated with the publication of the Residencies issue of our online magazine ArteZine which launched at Gasworks in London in conjunction with the January 2012 Art & Patronage Summit.


The Founding Years (1969-1973) : A Selection of Works from the Sultan Gallery Archives.

Opening : 6th November, 2012; 7 – 9pm

7th November; 10am – 4pm & 7 – 9pm

8th – 29th November; 10am – 4pm (Closed on Fridays & Saturdays)


From Archives to Collectors: Some Stories from the Sultan Gallery , Talk by Researcher-in-Residence Kristine Khouri &  Presented by Barrak Alzaid (Artistic Director, ArteEast) ; Nov. 7;  7.30 – 8.30 p.m.