“Being a woman itself is a superpower. Celebrate that.”
Fatima AlKurdi graduated from Sorbonne Abu Dhabi with a degree in art history. Since that time she has worked at the art collection of the Presidential Palace of Abu Dhabi, and at the Louvre, Abu Dhabi.
Fatima is an art educator by profession and a humble art collector.
Fatima writes and talks about art, and she uns a podcast TART, where she shares her experiences, thoughts and perception on the art world.
Read through this exclusive interview with Fatima to know more about her and her lover for art.
Why did you choose art history as your Major at Sorbonne?
I studied art history and archeology, focusing on western art and Islamic art, and minored in communications. I was always interested in arts when I was younger; however, studying Art history was eye-opening. I never realized its importance until I majored in it. The art of the past shows us how people have seen themselves and their world and how they wanted to show it to others. Studying Art history and archeology Helps Us Understand the changes in the world and How the Society We Live in Came to Be. Because only through studying the past can we comprehend the present.
How was learning at Sorbonne like?
Studying at Paris Sorbonne Abu Dhabi was an extraordinary experience. It is a university known for its important heritage and prestigious for arts and humanities subjects. Subjects are taught in French, so learning French was a must to continue studying my major. Sorbonne Abu Dhabi attracts students from all over the world to seek the benefits of their 760 years of academic excellence. I could’t be prouder to graduate from such a university where students are not only taught to learn and study but to participate and leave an impact in the world.
How and when did you start your interest in art?
Art has always been an essential part of my life, even before studying it. Practicing art was more of a hobby. Whether in school in art classes or back in university in the art club, I was actively involved in the creative and art world, with the desire of knowing and exploring new exhibitions, Museums, or even exhibitions.
When did you start your podcast “TART” and tell us more about it.
I started my podcast in September 2020. During the lockdown, I called it TART, which means talk Art. Previously I used social media to talk about art, but it was not enough. And since I listen to podcasts daily, starting an art podcast made total sense. I always had the vision to create a platform that educates the public about art history and the art world, and TART does precisely that. it caters to art lovers and individuals who are not familiar with the art world to make art accessible and within reach.
What impact you are looking for from your podcast ”TART”?
In the past ten years, the art scene has been growing in the middle east. Art is now interwoven within our culture, yet many people are intimidated by Art or find art elitist, complicated and incomprehensible. I started TART because I wanted to simplify Art, to make it as relatable as possible. And to clear it from the typical clichés that we continue to live on.
Can you describe the importance of art, What it means to keep you studying it? And its importance to society?
Humans were and will always be connected to art, From prehistoric cave drawings to our contemporary times it is an important part of our existence. And since Humans have been creating art since the beginning of time we cannot deny that it is a natural human behavior. If you give a child a crayon and a paper they’ll immediately start creating an abstract work And since creativity is a human behavior, it should be appreciated. I see art as an international language, it’s a way of documenting and preserving our history tells a story about society and how our cultures were. Giving us insight and different perspectives.
What’s your intake about art in the middle east?
Middle East has an important art scene, What I like about Middle Eastern artists is the diversity of creation and their vigorous appetite for art .Even if we are in the same geographical zone, one will always see and find something unique. Whether it’s because of the variations of cultures, Traditions or the fast changes happening. All of these factors make this region incredible with its diversity and breadth.
How can art be understood? What is the best way to understand art.
In order to understand anything in life, one needs to step out and ask questions. Art should be treated the same. Without reading or having prior knowledge it would not be easy to understand art, its history or significance. Visiting museums and art exhibitions is a great way to learn more about the art world. If one is ever at a museum, I recommend having a tour with an art educator or specialized guide to provide the best experience possible. Art needs accepting minds, minds that are willing to analyze, to question and criticize. If you are not questioning is then you are not learning. And learning takes a confident person. For more techniques and ways to understand Art, you can listen to Episode 1 of my podcast “Museum culture”.
What impact is digital globalization having on the art industry?
I believe that digital globalization is now more important than ever. Specially during the pandemic, many museums and institutions closed their doors, yet there was always a search of fast alternatives and rapid solutions to keep the public engaged with art and culture. Either by their websites or through their social media. Museums around the world has seen positive feedback for the public. For example, the Louvre website used to get 40.000 visitors per day before the pandemic. During the pandemic the number has increased to 10x more. The Louvre websites gets 400,000 visitors per day during the lockdown. Which means that the public are still interested in art and culture despite what is going on in the world. Therefore, I see that digitalization has proved its positive impact as it continued the dialogue between the arts and the public specially during a global pandemic.
Why do you love what you do?
I love what I do because it always leave people amazed and wanting to know more whenever I explain an artwork. An artwork may look boring in a museum until one tells its story, and it completely changes the way you look at the artwork. Once we relate an artwork with a story and put it into its historical context, the public automatically sense it in its true value and importance.
Which are some of your favorite art museums around the world?
For the greatest collections of modern and contemporary art my favorites are Palais de tokyo & Louis Vuitton foundation in Paris AND THE MAMAC in Nice, France. The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam which is dedicated to the works of Vincent van Gogh. And finally The Musée Rodin in Paris which was opened in 1919, primarily dedicated to the works of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin.
What is your greatest indulgence in life?
The answer is simple, Good coffee and fine chocolates. And of course a day at the spa.
What are some of your other hobbies?
Reading is definitely one of my favorite hobbies, I lean towards history or historical novels or even philosophy. I prefer reading in Arabic because of the richness of the Arabic language. For philosophy I love reading for the Egyptian philosopher Dr. Mustafa Mahmoud, or the Iraqi Dr. Ali Al Wardi and for novels, I admire the novels of Ahmed Murad.
What would you say is your top arts-related recommendation (book, website, resource) at the moment?
There are so many resources I would recommend, but my favorite book for art lovers is “The Art book” by DK. It explains all the art movements in the simplest way possible. “30000 years of art” by Phaidon is also one of my favorites it has More than 600 works from all periods & regions. I would also recommend “The art assignments” channel on YouTube and finally my podcast “TART” which you can find on Spotify and apple podcast.
Your message for the women on this International Day for Women?
Being a woman itself is a superpower. Celebrate that and Happy Women’s Day.
And finally, your message for us at CP magazine.
I would like to thank CP magazine for featuring me in this issue and for introducing me to all your readers. I would also like to thank CP lighting a spot on women from different interest, fields, backgrounds on this special day where we celebrate women