Visit to Dubai

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Reem El Mutwalli (left) and Gillian Vogelsang (right), at the new Friday mosque of Abu Dhabi, Monday 18 March 2019.

Reem El Mutwalli (left) and Gillian Vogelsang (right), at the new Friday mosque of Abu Dhabi, Monday 18 March 2019.

On Wednesday, 20 March 2019, Gillian Vogelsang reports:

This weekend was spent with Willem, my husband, in Dubai. The main focus of the weekend was getting to know Dr. Reem El Mutwalli of the Zay initiative. She is an amazing, enthusiastic colleague with a passionate love and knowledge of textiles and dress from the Gulf region.

During the intense two-day meeting, some of the discussions took place in a car travelling between various venues, including going to the emirates of Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. In Abu Dhabi we had the chance to visit the beautiful Friday mosque (while the Abu Dhabi Louvre was closed ). We also attended an art gallery event and a preview of a Sotheby’s Islamic Art auction in Dubai. A representative of Skira Art Books, Milan, was present at the latter and we had a brief discussion with him about the TRC Collection and using it for art publications. They will be contacting the TRC shortly.

But back to the main themes of the visit. Dr. Reem is a very active business woman used to living within the art/cultural world, as well as being very used to move in both the Arab and European environments and she understands the differences (as well as explaining them). She will probably be coming in July 2019 to Leiden to help with the large TRC Asia Week, to coincide with the even larger ICAS Asian conference. The TRC will have a week of lectures and workshops during the conference, including at least one talk by Dr. Reem on Asian influences on Middle Eastern dress.

One of the many questions raised was concerned with how the Zay Initiative and the TRC could work together to raise international awareness of Arabian Peninsular dress. Various possibilities are being explored and as more details and information become available we will let you know. One thing that is clear: Another visit to Dubai is being planned, but perhaps not during the summer months, when we ‘ Northerners ‘ would simply wilt in the hot, humid conditions of the Gulf.

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