The Wall Street Journal is interested in how art is selling in Dubai but somehow the story leads to Damascus:
“Dubai still has a lot of expansive wall space to fill with art and connoisseurs with deep pockets to pay for it,” says Khaled Samawi, owner of Ayyam, a Damascus-based contemporary-art gallery, which opened in 2006 and has since expanded to Beirut and Dubai.
In April 2008, an 180-centimeter-tall bronze sculpture called “The Wall (Oh, Persepolis)” by Iranian artist Parviz Tanavoli was sold for a record-breaking €2.2 million at Christie’s. “It was the most memorable moment,” says Mr. Jeha. “There was a real sense that the Middle Eastern art market had come of age.” […] Once largely government-supported, the Syrian arts scene is effectively privatizing, with a clutch of new private galleries like Ayyam bringing it into the larger nexus of Middle East art and normalizing its price tags. “I would say prices have appreciated 300%-400% from ridiculously low levels,” says Mr. Samawi, whose gallery now represents 20 artists, up from five in 2006 when it started. “I think today Syrian art is still 50% undervalued.”
Contemporary Middle East (Wall Street Journal)