The Birth of an Art Movement called The Art Gap

by Aarti Bahl
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Batool Jafri, Curator of Art Gap and Emirates Woman of the Year 2018 has brought together a collective of artworks of 19 Emirati and expat female artists. Each artist is making a powerful statement through her canvas by leaving each canvas 47.6% left unpainted. If they are paid less by 47.6 % at shows than the price male artists fetch, they will paint less by the same percentage.

These figures are based on a research in the field of gender bias in an art study conducted by Said Business School, University of Oxford. According to Renee B. Adams, one of the co-authors of this art study, we must act in order to bring out the real change. She feels that this initiative presented by Standard Chartered is a cutting-edge way of leveraging scientific way to bring about change.

Art Gap, the theme of the exhibition at World Art Dubai 2019, is an initiative of Standard Chartered Bank, UAE. They have taken this exemplary step on International Women’s Day to highlight gender pay disparity with ‘Art Gap’.

Rola Abu Manneh, CEO Standard Chartered UAE said: “At Standard Chartered we are passionate about promoting equality and committed to driving an inclusive and diverse culture at work. The Art Gap exhibition is a great initiative to highlight such an important topic; gender pay inequality.” She hopes this platform will be effective in spreading awareness about the gender pay disparity not only in the field of art but also in banking and industrial sectors.

Batool Jafri, Curator of Art Gap, World Art Dubai 2019 and Emirates Woman of the Year 2018 shared some beautiful insights of her journey while curating the show. She strongly feels each one of the displayed work created by these strong female artists make a powerful statement and is very happy to lend her voice to this movement that respects each artist without any gender bias.

Batool said, “The hand that rocks the cradle, is the hand that rules the world. Let’s give this hand the value it deserves.”

Her art work, Shattering her Glass Ceiling, is a result of her determination and passion and speaks volumes about her strong values and belief in spiritual creativity.

Rabab Tantawy, a self- taught artist through her work titled, Facing It, conveys a strong message about the socio-economic events. Beena Samuel, an Indian visual artist currently residing in Dubai has conveyed her unique message on canvas using multidimensional compositions. Dina Sadi, an artist born in Russia, depicts the diversity of urban spaces and the mystery of natural elements with her work titled, Look up.

Art Gap, a show stopper exhibition at World Art Dubai’s fifth edition was highly appreciated by the visitors. The choice of the painting style, theme and medium used are reflective of every artist’s creative journey and individual thought process. All proceeds of the sold paintings will go to the artists themselves as it is a non-profit initiative.

Standard Chartered UAE has taken the global lead in this campaign and hopes that it gets recognition on an international platform. Let’s join this art movement to collectively spread awareness and support the cause of gender equality and inclusiveness at work.

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