With art season in full swing in the UAE, Natalya Andakulova, founder and owner of Andakulova Gallery in Dubai, shares her thoughts on the art scene in the city
As a little girl, Natalya Andakulova always found herself fascinated by art. Hailing from the ancient town of Samarkand, she credits the architecture of this UNESCO-recognised city – at the crossroads of the Silk Road – as one of her early influences.
"I have always been interested in art and loved visiting museums and exhibitions as a child. It was when I was around 15 years old that I realised I would like to fully dedicate myself to it. While attending an exhibition in the Uzbek capital, I was so fascinated after meeting the artist, it inspired me to open my own gallery someday. And this is how it all began!"
With a keen eye for emerging talent, Natalya made it her mission to bridge the gap between the art scenes of the Middle East and Central Asia. In 2012, she brought her vision to life with the opening of Andakulova Gallery. Based in Dubai's DIFC district, the gallery represents artists from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, providing a great selection of pieces to collectors in the region.
Speaking about its success, Natalya said: "Andakulova Gallery has been operating for more than 10 years. During the past decade, we held around 40 exhibitions and also participated in art fairs around the globe, including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, London and Istanbul. Our artists were also represented at Sotheby’s and Artiana auctions."
Currently on display at the gallery is Timur D'Vatz's 'Reawakening' exhibition. The display encompasses a series of works he painted in his new studio during an unusually warm summer in Normandy, and it represents a return to one's esoteric dreams and visions and a never-ending journey into one's imagination.
Founding her gallery in one of the world's most dynamic art hubs was one of the best decisions, according to Natalya. Commenting on the emirate's artscape, she said: "The art scene in Dubai is always very dynamic and innovative. There are a number of high-profile events and exhibitions held all year round, including Art Dubai, World Art Dubai, Dubai Design Week, Alserkal Art Night, DIFC Art Night and many more. Clearly, the opportunities are tremendous for emerging artists and there is no shortage of venues for them to showcase their talent. Alserkal Avenue alone boasts around 30 venues, all of which have served as a launch pad for up-and-coming creatives."
Drawing parallels between Dubai and her hometown, Natalya said that Uzbekistan boasts an equally dynamic cultural scene, with its roots firmly planted in its ancient traditions and unique craftsmanship. "There are well-established art schools dotted around the country, where artists are given the chance to create remarkable works of art by combining their academic knowledge and historical traditions."