posted by CAA — Dec 06, 2018
My primary goal if elected to the Board will be to advocate for growing the international presence and global engagement of CAA. As a practicing artist, seasoned educator, and project initiator based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for more than a decade, the unique asset I bring to the Board is my extensive experience as an active participant within international art worlds. This has included building connections between people and places—which have fostered cross-cultural explorations within an international context. This is evident in the many projects I have organized over twenty years of my professional practice as well as in my academic and administrative positions in the UAE. My most recent and monumental accomplishment as a facilitator of building international relationships for both individual artists and international institutions was as Artistic Director of the International Symposium on Electronic Art organized in Dubai (ISEA2014) on the theme of Location: Where Art, Science and Technology Come Together. Over ten days, more than 250 participants travelled to Dubai where exhibitions, installations and an academic conference were held at the major universities in the UAE as well as in more than thirty non-profit and institutional spaces. All the participating artists and institutions grew lasting international connections through that one event. Perhaps there are ways to similarly engage wider international participation in CAA’s conference and other activities. This certainly is a way I would like to foster an international network of peers comprising academics, artists, designers, architects, and industry specialists, along with important community stakeholders, who also could contribute to innovative strategizing with the CAA.
Another position I would promote on the Board is art as advocacy. I believe my experience as a practicing artist and my use of multidisciplinary approaches in art practices demonstrates my passionately held commitment to various media as well as to art that addresses pressing contemporary issues – including rising sea levels and their possible effect on the evolving ecosystems of islands which my own art practice engages. As a Board Member, I would explore ways for CAA to more proactively encourage and display art that incorporates advocacy at our annual conference, as well as online. This could become an annual event or competition which would again attract international attention and participation.
As Professor and Associate Dean at the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises of Zayed University in Dubai, as well as being Canadian, I am in a unique position to represent international concerns and opportunities to the Board. Throughout more than a decade in the UAE, as an academic and administrator I have contributed to the dynamic development of the arts community here, including teaching successive cohorts of women, many who subsequently became leading Emirati artists, even representing the UAE at the Venice Biennale and in other international exhibitions. In the UAE I have engaged the opportunity to build, imagine and support a vision where artists and their art from different countries and cultures can build bridges of understanding between communities. Believing that cultural understanding should be an integral component in the teaching of art and design, I will support CAA programs that promote connections between artists and institutions internationally. This also can contribute to growing CAA’s membership.
CAA has continued to develop and improve its organizational structure and its communications. In particular, in the last year CAA made a bold move with new branding while also promoting the diverse nature of its membership. I certainly will support these ongoing Board initiatives. I have been a member of CAA since 1999 and most recently have been a member of CAA’s International Committee. I envision CAA playing a larger role internationally to achieve its vision of supporting all visual arts professionals, including in the areas of design and architecture, while strengthening a diverse membership of art historians. I would also promote the growing online presence of CAA. Engaging with new technologies is essential for building an international profile. This engages emerging professionals, strengthens communication and publications throughout the year, and promotes those artists and designers who are CAA members.
Through team efforts across all aspects of CAA’s activities, I look forward to the possibility of promoting cultural and intellectual exchanges between our community of designers, architects, and art historians with international cohorts. It is a future CAA integrated internationally that I look forward to.