Lawrie Shabibi was founded in 2010 and opened its doors in early 2011 in Alserkal Avenue, located within the light industrial warehouse district of Al Quoz in Dubai. Following the relocation of several renowned galleries, this quickly became the hub of contemporary art in the region, and we have been a forerunner in the development of this contemporary art scene.
The gallery’s initial focus was on the practices of emerging contemporary artists from the Middle East and North Africa (the “Global South”), and in the last five years we introduced artists from other regions and generations, yet with the same focus on the “underrepresented”. A major focus remains the support of artists from the diaspora who create work in all media to explore issues such as identity, memory, history and socio-political issues specific to the diasporic experience.
Another part of the programme is to organise art historical exhibitions, working with an older generation of artists. Of note are the historic shows presented for the Moroccan pioneer Mohamed Melehi (1936-2020) and most recently Iraqi/French Mehdi Moutashar (b.1943) – both at Abu Dhabi Art Fair and showing works from the 1950s – 1970s. We also work closely with museums and have successfully placed works with The Guggenheim, Tate Modern, Centre Pompidou, The British Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, LACMA and the Cincinnati Art Museum. By integrating older (and less discovered) artists with younger artists we create a context and depth to the programme which we consider important when working with underrepresented regions.