How do artists and curators build meaningful and authentic relationships in the arts and expand their professional networks? Hear from artists and curators as they share their insights on navigating partnerships in their communities and the larger society.
Dorian Paul Rogers
Dorian Paul Rogers is a performance poet and 2-time regional and national poetry slam champion, Hip Hop artist, educator, and events curator. In 2002, he self-published his first poetry collection, For Mulattoes Only at the age of twenty. In 2006, Dorian released his first poetry album, Freight Train of Thought followed by Where’s Pauldo? in 2012. He has been a featured speaker at over forty universities across the USA and has performed poetry in Ghana, Seychelles, Germany, The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ethiopia, South Africa, and Singapore.
In 2012, Dorian founded Rooftop Rhythms, a monthly poetry open mic in the UAE which has gone on to become the Middle East’s largest and longest running poetry event of its kind. His cultural events have been highlighted on CNN, BBC, and Euronews. Dorian holds an Ed.D. in Interdisciplinary Leadership from Creighton University, an M.S. in Urban Teacher Leadership from Georgia State University, and a B.S. in English Education from Florida State University. He is an inaugural fellow of Numoo, The Arts Center at NYUAD’s artist development program and currently resides in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with his wife and daughter.
Maya Allison is founding Executive Director of The NYUAD Art Gallery, and Chief Curator at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD). Previously, she held curator roles at Brown University’s Bell Gallery, and at The RISD Museum, and directed the new media festival Pixilerations, all in Providence, Rhode Island (USA). Recent curatorial projects that included book-length publications include Slavs and Tatars: Mirrors for Princes (JRP Ringier / NYUAD Art Gallery, 2015), Diana Al-Hadid: Phantom Limb (Skira / NYUAD Art Gallery, 2016), But We Cannot See Them: Tracing a UAE Art Community, 1988-2008 (NYUAD Art Gallery, 2017), and Zimoun (NYUAD Art Gallery, 2019). Outside the university, she has guest-curated projects in the UAE, including Artists and the Cultural Foundation: The Early Years (with book publication, Cultural Foundation Abu Dhabi, 2018), a 30-year survey of 18 UAE artists. She will also curate the 2022 National Pavilion of the UAE to the Venice Biennale.
Mikey Muhana is the founder and Executive director of afikra, a movement to convert passive interest in the Arab world to active intellectual curiosity. Starting from a rooftop in Brooklyn, Muhanna has grown afikra into a global education & media platform with over 50,000 members across 30 chapters globally and has a content library of over 500 presentations/videos/podcasts that have been accessed over 300,000 times. afikra has been covered by both international and local press, such as The National, U.S.News, Foreign Policy, Bespoke Magazine, Gulf News, and Arab News. Mikey is a qualified actuary and prior to afikra, he spent over a decade working at firms Morgan Stanley and PwC and most recently helping lead the Muhanna Group. However, his passion for education remains at that center of his career. Mikey taught highschool Algebra in the New Orleans public school system as a Teach For America corps member and launched the education non-profit Positive Space NOLA. He is the youngest member of the Board of Trustees of the American Community School of Beirut and serves as an advisor to many education organizations. Mikey is a graduate of Duke University (BS 2007) where he studied Economics and Jazz Piano.
Munira Al Sayegh
Munira Al Sayegh is an independent curator and cultural instigator based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Actively pursuing grassroots incubation, Al Sayegh is the co-founder of collecting-and-research platform Engage101 and founder of Dirwaza, the first curatorial laboratory in the Gulf. She is a published author and prominent voice in the region who, via talks and seminars, highlights the importance of non-institutional thinking to build regional art movements from the bottom-up.
Al Sayegh curated and developed the programs series for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s The Creative Act: Performance, Process, Presence (2017). In parallel, from 2014 she has joined and pioneered curatorial initiatives across Art Dubai where she curated the Residents section (2019) and started the Now series, looking at non-government funded creative platforms in the region. She recently served as lead tutor and curator for Campus Art Dubai. Her curatorial solo debut was Bayn: the in-between (2017), the third edition of UAE Unlimited. Later, she curated the Talks Program in Abu Dhabi Art. In 2020, Al Sayegh premiered The Cup and The Saucer commissioned by Warehouse421 (Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Foundation), where she has also led in-house public programs.
Among her contributions, she traces back to NYU Abu Dhabi’s FIND project (2012) and currently sits on the advisory board for the university’s art gallery. Al Sayegh is also part of the UAE Ministry of Culture Visual Arts Committee as well as Dubai Collection’s Steering and Curatorial Committee.