A minefield of art
We speak with Sanaz Askari, founder of new art space The Mine, as she prepares to open her doors to creative minds
FEEL FREE TO consider Al Quoz’s latest art venue, The Mine, an outlet for creative minds and thinkers. Just be sure not to call it a gallery.
The brainchild of founder Sanaz Askari, The Mine is poised to break down Dubai’s commercial art scene by showcasing artwork that is both accessible and affordable to art lovers across the region. Featuring everything from bizarre sculptures to funky installations, The Mine is hoping to shake up the local scene with a vast, ever changing collection of art that’s otherwise been overshadowed by more commercially successful pieces.
Nestled in Al Quoz, a neighborhood that has witnessed an explosive growth in the number of galleries and studios it hosts, Askari will ensure that her new space avoids falling into the mainstream fray. She plans to give struggling, emerging artists a complimentary space where they can create and exhibit their work without any of the prerequisites that other venues tend to have.
“I wanted to create a space where you go and feel nurtured,” Askari says. “Some galleries are more interested in artists that are established, that are going to make more money.”
“That won’t be the case here. The Mine will exhibit and retail design and art works of a new generation of emerging creative talent from local and across the world and at the same time, create a space of stimulation and urban fun,” she says.
Art will continuously flow in and out of The Mine, with pieces ranging anywhere from $200 to $5,000 - a limit Askari has set to help encourage buyers who often find themselves intimidated by heavy price tags.
But there’s also a host of other exciting things being offered here like installations, an art form that has largely been ignored in Dubai because it’s not something that can be bought and sold.
“My dream is to have an artist working on some pieces in one corner, a director filming a short movie in another, and experimental music being produced as well. I want it all under one roof,” Askari says. “We’re trying to create an underground scene.”
With the art world’s spotlight focused heavily on the Middle East in recent years, Askari believes it’s the perfect time and place to realign Dubai’s art scene.
“It’s an explosion with all these artists coming out of the region right now. Everyone wants to know how they can get their hands on Middle East artwork.”
With its core value to inspire, The Mine is made up of around six thousand square feet with two spacious floors. Every corner of the venue is designed with flair including a space to hang out where industry professionals can network, an event space and a dedicated artist corner. The venue itself resembles many of the factory style art galleries in Al Quoz, but Askari is not spending any money to furnish the interiors. Instead, she plans on using waste items found around the industrial area to fashion tables, chairs and even a reception made of large wooden crates.
“We want to use our own creativity in every facet of this space, it’s a very important component of what we’re trying to do here,” Askari says.