dima abdul kader

We sat down last with with Dima Abdul Kader of EMERGEAST to talk about March Madness of the Dubai variety, her upcoming art auction (the first of its kind in the region), and the general ins and outs of founding a locally-oriented business in global art market. An early quarter life crisis and moving back to the Middle East, sent Dima to the canvas for meditation and self-reflection. From there, the faith in her own art community and a resolution to give back to it created a well-lit path to the birth of EMERGEAST. 

rawan: How are things going? 

dima: Panic at the disco! But really - auction prep is in full force,  as it's our first auction, Nikki (my co-founder) and I are really excited to materialize our concept on the ground.  Planning and executing the A-Z for such an interactive event can be overwhelming at times but it has been an exhilarating and certainly an enlightening experience (down to finding the right hammer!) Stay tuned to find out how it all unfolds, we have a couple of surprises in store!

rawan: How does the emerging art scene in the middle east compare with other regions? 

dima: Given the increasing spotlight on the Middle Eastern art scene - artists originating from the region have gained huge traction and seen a surge in demand due to the way different initiatives and institutions continue to expose and support local creatives. The infancy of the Middle Eastern art scene coupled with a plethora of eclectic talent makes for a ripe market compared to other regions. An older and more competitive  market is slightly more challenging to 'emerge' from so to speak.  

rawan: Talk to me about cross cultural connections specifically in the art world with events like Art Dubai in the background?

dima: The Gulf region, particularly the U.A.E, is shaping itself into a quintessential cultural hub - creating a cross cultural dialogue through a variety of routes. The arts and culture scene is becoming as engaging as it is enriching. Art Dubai, an elemental art fair in the season's roster has in its ninth year shaped itself as an all encompassing and comprehensive art fair. Its wide ranging programs including Artists in Residency, Global Art Forum and Campus Art Dubai, bring forth focussed artistic production and cultural expansion beyond the core function of an art fair. Compared to other regions, Dubai and the rest of the Emirates have built on an organic and grassroots framework that in such a short period of time propagated a cultural discourse in tune with an international conversation. 



where do you live – Doha/Dubai

favorite neighborhood dinner – La Serre Dubai

luggage- Excess

gadgets- My chargers?

favorite accessory – My pen necklace

favorite charity- Starts at home

favorite hotel –  Excelsior Rome & Astir Palace Athens 

favorite apps –Twitter/The Art Newspaper/Hailo

favorite airport – Terminal 3 Heathrow

favorite airline - Qatar Airways

home is… where the Art is


where would  you like to live? 1950s Cairo

where & when were you happiest? When I’ve unpacked my suitcase on arrival

what do you consider your greatest achievement? Ask me in a year

what is your current state of mind?  Hopeful


how many trips do you take a year? Too many too soon

how many of those are vacations? Blurred Lines

without traveling, you relax by? Solo Museum Visits  

won’t board the plane without- A Scarf

indispensable in your carry-on- Notebook/Journal

take off routine- Ask the flight attendants if it is going to be a bumpy one

first thing you do after landing –Thank God

travel is…taken for granted


[wherever] will be at the EMERGEAST auction on Wednesday, bidding on behalf of overseas members. Email us for a catalogue and to register.  

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