By Melissa Gronlund
Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, Sharjah art collector and cultural figure, is on a mission to redress the gender imbalance of the art world. “In US museums, only 13 per cent of the art on display is by women,” says Al Qassemi.
“If you’re thinking pre-20th century, I understand, because women didn’t have the same opportunities as men. But in the 20th century, there is no excuse not to have equal representation.
“Now at the Sharjah Art Museum we are 27 per cent women, which is one of the highest ratios in the world. I’m going to push to 50/50 if possible, but it’s hard,” he says.
Al Qassemi runs the Barjeel Art Foundation, a major collection of modern Arab artworks, many of which are semi-permanently installed in the Sharjah Art Museum in an exhibition A Century in Flux: Highlights from the Barjeel Collection.
The foundation also has its works on tour. It opens a show in January at New York University’s exhibition space the Grey Art Gallery in Manhattan, called Taking Shape: Abstraction from the Arab World, 1950s to 1980s.