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Driven by a philosophy that brings together art and business in a unique space, Mojo Gallery is one of Dubai’s most distinct platforms for contemporary art. Located in the unique Al-serkal Avenue art hub, it was among the earliest to set up shop in the neighbourhood.
“My partners and I have always had a vision to create a space that combined all aspects of creative thinking and expression, including contemporary fine art,” says Kurt Blanckenberg, Managing Partner of Mojo Group.
“We acquired our gallery space in 2008 and had solid support from the owners, especially Abdulmonem Bin Eisa Al Serkal, in our vision for a unique contemporary creative space amid the dusty warehouses.
“On completion it became the catalyst for numerous other galleries and creative companies to [move] to what has now [become] Alserkal Avenue. So we are proud of our part in helping create what is now considered a real community dedicated to art and culture.” Blanckenberg adds that the company and gallery’s ethos is driven by art, business and soul.
“Art represents the imagination we apply to everything,” he says. “Business ensures that whatever we do has relevance and is a good investment, and soul defines our belief in integrity in all our dealings.”
This philosophy has permeated every aspect of Mojo Gallery’s activities. Since opening in 2009, it has endeavoured to expand the diversity of international contemporary art in Dubai through its exhibition programme. “Our focus on representing and exploring an ongoing dialogue between art from Africa and the rest of the world adds an important dimension to art and culture in the region.”
As part of the As It Is series of exhibitions, one of the gallery’s most ambitious projects, the gallery showcased around 22 established and emerging contemporary artists from Africa over four months.
It created a significant interest and established Mojo Gallery’s credentials as the leading contemporary African art gallery in the region. One of its most recent exhibitions showcased the works of Viyé Diba from Senegal and Mohamed Abou Elnaga from Egypt.
“Although these accomplished artists come from diverse parts of the continent, they share a number of influences, which create a dialogue between two fascinating bodies of work,” says Blanckenberg.
“Memory, as a conceptual backbone, inspired both their artistic practices and choice of media.
Materials also played a vital role: Diba’s use of raw, found and recycled materials raised questions of social and environmental significance, while Elnaga’s signature use of handmade paper was laden with historical and political discourse.”
These exhibits also fit in perfectly within the gallery’s minimalist settings, drawing visitors’ attention to works on display. “We were very conscious of creating a balance between the aesthetic and functional values when planning and designing the space,” says Blanckenberg.
“It needed to feel contemporary and inspirational, but at the same time form a blank canvas, so minimalism and simplicity was a key influence.”
The gallery also conducts various workshops for visitors. “We like to expand the exhibition experience beyond passive viewing and incorporate a workshop session with the artist or artists,” he adds.
The gallery is holding an exhibition, My Dream, featuring the work of students from Innoventures Education and the Senses Residential Care home. Proceeds will go to Senses and the Gift of Innoventures Education foundation.
Source: Neesha Salian, Special to Property Weekly