First commercial art fair opens in Jeddah

UBS, the world’s leading wealth manager, is sponsoring the seven-day Shara Art Fair, the first commercial art fair of its kind that opened in Jeddah

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UBS, the world’s leading wealth manager, is sponsoring the seven-day Shara Art Fair, the first commercial art fair of its kind that opened in Jeddah on Wednesday (July 1).

Some 14 different galleries across Jeddah, like the one at Gold Moore Mall, are participating in the fair.


The new initiative builds on the efforts of the Saudi Art Council to encourage and foster a culture of art in the Kingdom and features leading contemporary and modern art galleries from across Saudi Arabia.

UBS’s sponsorship of the Shara Art Fair follows a successful collaboration between UBS and the Council during the 2015 edition of “21,39”, an innovative three-month showcase of the history and direction of contemporary visual arts in Saudi Arabia. The 2015 program featured a series of exhibitions and educational activities that provided the Saudi public with a unique chance to get acquainted with local artists and learn about the development of the visual arts in their country.

“It is an honor for us to expand our cooperation with The Saudi Art Council,” said Ali Janoudi, UBS Group Head Middle East and North Africa. “We were greatly inspired by the success of the 2015 edition of ‘21,39,’ and the excellent cooperation between all parties. We look forward to continuing to work together to support the Council’s mission.”

Mahmoud Abdulhadi, CEO of UBS Saudi Arabia, added "this ongoing cooperation underlines our commitment to contemporary art in the Kingdom and the region. We are pleased that we can contribute to helping the Saudi public learn more about the work of local artists, and to fostering ties between Saudi Arabia and foreign artists.”

The Saudi Art Council, which is chaired by Princess Jawaher Bint Majed Bin Abdulaziz, was formed in 2013 by a group of local art patrons. Along with its annual ‘21, 39’ initiative, the Council is pursuing other art and culture related activities in Jeddah, including a program to revitalize the historic district of the city and reposition it as the center of civilization and culture.

UBS’s support of The Saudi Art Council is part of an extensive roster of contemporary art initiatives and programs across the world that are actively supported by UBS. The UBS Art Collection, containing more than 35,000 objects, is one of the largest and most important corporate collections of contemporary art in the world. The bank is also a sponsor of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative and a provider of long-term global support for the premier international Art Basel shows in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong, for which it serves as global Lead Partner. UBS also holds a number of regional partnerships with fine art institutions including the Fondation Beyeler in Switzerland, the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, the Louisiana Museum in Denmark, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

UBS draws on its 150-year heritage to serve private, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as retail clients in Switzerland. Its business strategy is centered on its pre-eminent global wealth management businesses and its leading universal bank in Switzerland, complemented by its global asset management business and its investment bank, with a focus on capital efficiency and businesses that offer a superior structural growth and profitability outlook.

This article was first published by the Saudi Gazette on July 2nd, 2015.

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