It’s ArtBahrain week and we spoke to another art collector expert from the Middle East: Basel Dalloul. Based in Cairo, Dalloul is the Chairman and CEO of Noor Group, the leading industry in the field of information technology, that provides Internet, telephone and video services to over 135 countries across the globe. Basel Dalloul is a recognised authority in IT and was among the initiators who introduced a revolutionary approach to Internet services to the Egyptian market. Today, he is still continuing his noble cause of expanding Internet services and thereby unlimited potential to underserved areas around the world, more specifically Africa and the Middle East.
Basel Dalloul spared us a few minutes of his time to discuss his anticipation towards ArtBahrain and the highlights of his family’s Middle Eastern (Arab) art collection, which the family plans on ultimately housing in a museum for modern and contemporary Arab art to be based in Beirut Lebanon.
What do you expect from ArtBahrain’s first edition?
I’m not really sure what to expect. I’m going to keep an open mind. However, given Bahrain’s cultural history, I’m sure it’s going to be a great event.
Are there any particular artists you are excited to see at ArtBahrain – if so who?
I’m always excited to see all the great artists of the region. Our collection is massive and currently stands at over 3500 pieces, so singling out a particular artist or artists would be hard for me to do.
ArtBahrain also offers a very rich program around the fair. What is your personal highlight of the fair VIP program?
Visiting the Bahrain National Museum, which took place on Tuesday 13th October. It’s one of the first museums in the Gulf, established in 1988.
What are your thoughts about the art fair’s special venue?
I can’t wait to see it!
What made you want to start collecting contemporary art?
A deep love for the arts, which both my father and my mother have, both of whom have instilled this love of the arts in me.
What is your focus regarding the artists in your collection? Are you more interested in emerging or renowned artists?
With a collection the size of ours, we focus on both. My father focuses on the renowned and the pioneers, while I try and interject the younger more emerging artists.
What was the first artwork you purchased?
A Warhol print that I bought from the Factory in New York City. My father’s was a Paul Guiragossian, which he bought from the artist.
Where do you display your collection?
My personal collection is in Washington, DC. Our family collection is in Beirut, Lebanon.
How important is it for you to meet the artists who created the artwork?
Very! If the artist is alive I make it a point to hunt him/her down and meet them.
Can you name three emerging artists who should be on our radar?
Marc Guiragossian from Lebanon; Taghreed Darghouth from Lebanon and Abelrahman Al Katatni from Palestine. I would also like to add Nazar Yehia from Iraq.
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