Aurela Cuku, Founder of Artissima Art Gallery and Artissima Art Agency
By Shereen Shabnam
This issue we meet with Aurela Cuku, a UAE based award-winning independent art enthusiast, collector and curator known in the art world for conceptualising and implementing a series of global art exhibitions in the Middle East, Europe and Latin America.
As a farsighted visionary, Aurela has been a patron to many artists and has been a passionate driving force for the promotion of art in the UAE. She has profound knowledge of art, different traditions and aesthetics used by artists and gives them space for artistic evolution.
Exploring art in all forms and as a pioneer in supporting the Latin American Culture in the region, Aurela conceptualised exhibitions for one of the first art galleries to represent Latin American artists in the UAE alongside several collaborations in the UAE and Internationally.
Her outreach included alliances with the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Education, Economic Department, University City of Sharjah, UNHCR Charity Auction, Zayed Higher Organization for People with Determination, Dubai Culture, Rashid Centre for Disabled Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Islamic Culture, Dubai Design District, Dubai Culture, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, Sheikh Saud Foundation, Aubusson Museum France, Albanian National Museum, Christie’s Charity Auction, Centre Innovation and Restauration La Venaria Reale Italy, MUDIC Museum Italy, MIIT Museum Italy, Marguttiana Art Fair Italy, Moroccan Organization for Cultural Diplomacy, Swiss National Library.
Aurela’s strategic collaborations with the Diplomatic corps in the UAE resulted in activations together with European Union Delegation and Embassies of Albania, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, North Macedonia, Panama, Spain, Uruguay, the Consulate of Peru, creating bridges of arts and culture between the countries.
She got awarded and recognized in various events under the UAE Ministry of Culture and her events have been covered by leading media outlets in UAE, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Bolivia, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iranian, Indian, Egypt, Morocco and Spain. Aurela and her projects have also been featured in Italian National Newspapers and Albanian journalists prepared a documentary about her art gallery in Dubai.
Aurela’s exhibition art catalogue ”Magic Emotions” of a Swiss artist organized and curated by her got selected by the Swiss National Library to be present in their archives and Black Tie Magazine New York covered her UAE art tour in seven Emirates. Understanding the soul of art, Aurela has shared thoughts with a leading newspaper about the World’s most expensive painting ever sold at auction for $ 450.3m Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi.
She headed the French delegation from Aubusson Museum with French Senator Jean-Jacques Lozach, President of the Institution Emmanuel Gerard, Director and the General Delegate for the Middle East Jourdain Vannier to collaborate with the UAE National Artist Abdulqader Al Rais. Aurela accompanied the Museum delegate to meet the Qatari National artist Ali Hassan.
Aurela’s accolades include being a Jury at the RAK Fine Arts Festival, representing the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Tirana – Albania to the UAE, arranging UAE art tours with International Artists, International Journalists, International writers and promoting the Emirati artists to the International market through Art Unity serial exhibitions.
As a philanthropist, Aurela supports various charity activities in Africa and war-torn countries and is the Vice President of Colors for Peace, the largest collection of drawings from children of 135 Countries and 5 Continents developed in seven Emirates. Reaching the border to Syria, Aurela helped collect 6000 signatures from the students to say ”STOP TO THE WAR”, which got delivered at the European Parliament.
Currently Aurela is part of the art programme in Socotra -Yemen by the Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation and continues to be involved with ”Colors for Peace” exhibitions, as in Ecuador and Amazonia (2021). Her exemplary work for the art community locally and abroad has made her a respected personality amongst the leaders of this Nation and in the global art scene.
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