Last Updated: Thu Jan 05, 2012 17:44 pm (KSA) 14:44 pm (GMT)

Dubai non-profit organization seeks to help revive Baghdad’s art scene

Noor Kadhim, co-founder of INtheFRAME , is raising money through an auction to help support the arts in Iraq. (Photo courtesy of Noor Kadhim)
Noor Kadhim, co-founder of INtheFRAME , is raising money through an auction to help support the arts in Iraq. (Photo courtesy of Noor Kadhim)

A Dubai-based non-profit organization is hoping an art exhibition and auction will raise money to support an arts education program being piloted in Baghdad by a UK-based charity called the Young Mesopotamians.

INtheFRAME, co-founded by Noor Kadhim, a British-Iraqi lawyer working in Dubai, wants to revive educational art programs in the war-torn country.

Kadhim partnered with Khatija Sacranie, also a lawyer by background, to create the organization in 2011.

“INtheFRAME is dedicated to promoting emerging art in the Middle East North Africa region for a charitable objectives. We aim to promote new art in the region and to make it accessible, and to connect it with corporate social responsibility initiatives in the Middle East. We aim to do this by acting as a framework and a platform for creative projects (such as the upcoming exhibition on Jan. 14). Through these projects, we want to connect art lovers and investors with the work of emerghing artists,” Noor said. “We will invest the proceeds of these projects in charitable causes having an educational focus.”

One donated abstract art piece by Iraqi artist Sarmad al-Mussawi. (Photo courtesy of Noor Kadhim)

Noor said that before she and Khatija came up with the idea of INtheFRAME, Noor’s idea was simple. The idea was to fundraise for the Young
Mesopotamians by putting on a small auction of art donated by emerging Iraqi artists. Sacranie, who is British-South African, raised the bar when she suggested creating INtheFRAME and making it a sort of umbrella organization to pull together artists, investors and causes through multiple projects.

“In this way, we are multi-dimensional, because we incorporate arts and social development and corporate responsibility, as well as events and projects with a creative and inclusive dimension, such as the art workshops we put on recently in the DIFC and which we will plan more of,” Noor said.

Individuals hailing from big-name corporations, such as Aramex, Zurich Insurance, Nomura, Crescent Investments and Abraaj Capital, are expected to attend the January 14 auction, which will showcase 21 works of art created by established and emerging Iraqi artists.

“What is fantastic is that, having heard about the cause, we now have the participation of prominent artists from Iraq such as Dia Azzawi, Ahmed Bahrani and Mahmud Obaidi. It really is a one-off event, because for the first time, new artists are coming together with established names for one unified and noble cause, for Iraq."

Noor said that bidding for the pieces – which will include street art on wood, paintings, sculptures to sketches – will begin at between $200 and $1,000 depending on the piece. Bidding for the works of the established artists will begin at between $3,000 and $6,000.

Working with other non-profit organizations that focus primarily on education, INtheFRAME will be giving the proceeds from the auction to The Young Mesopotamians, a UK-based charity whose objective is to revive the arts in Baghdad by establishing an arts education, exchange and mentorship program in Iraq.

“We want to show the talent of the MENA region and challenge and develop perceptions of art,” Noor said. “The artwork that comes from the MENA region is rich, born of a diverse history and, in the case of Iraq, reflects the emergence from decades of conflict. Art in this region is powerful and can convey a message of resilience, hope and transformation. The new art to come from the region is even more norm-challenging and expressive of identity and the changing landscape of the region, and INtheFRAME aims to cultivate and bring this to the fore.”

INtheFRAME also encourages audiences to participate in its artistic projects, and holds painting workshops, which have so far raised $555. It plans to put on more workshops in the future, in conjunction with and in the run-up to Art Dubai 2012.

The charity is planning to take its unique form of artistic philanthropy to Palestine, Egypt and the rest of the MENA region through various other projects and events. More details can be found on its website, www.intheframe.org and its facebook page, “In The Frame,” or by contacting info@intheframe.org.

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