Major Collection of Middle Eastern Photography being Built for National Museums

The Art Fund announces that it has embarked upon an exciting new venture – the creation of a national collection of recent Middle Eastern photography, to be owned jointly by the V&A and the British Museum.

The collection will be known as The Art Fund Collection of Middle Eastern photography at the V&A and the British Museum.

In total, the charity is allocating £100,000 to enable the two museums to build the Collection, which is to encompass photography from the Middle East spanning the 20th century to the present day, and to embrace works by Middle Eastern artists from across the region, whether living in their countries of origin or in diaspora. The Collection is to include both celebrated names and emerging talents, and to cover subject matter as diverse as documentary-style reportage shots to more experimental, digital pieces.

Works acquired already demonstrate a diverse spread across the Middle East, from Morocco to Lebanon and Palestine to Saudi Arabia, and across the decades.

Once the Collection is complete, the two museums will work towards a major exhibition showcasing the Collection in 2012.

Stephen Deuchar, Director of The Art Fund, said: “We are excited to be helping the V&A and the British Museum embark on this new and challenging venture. The Collection will celebrate the photography of richly diverse countries, each sharply distinctive yet bound together in their cultural and historical heritage. Shared by the V&A and the British Museum, we hope the Collection will enable a wide public to discover the wealth and variety of Middle Eastern art and culture, and gain a sense of the pace of change it is currently experiencing.”

Aside from the £100,000 allocated to the new Collection, three photographic works have been generously given through The Art Fund by Rose Issa, London-based curator, writer and producer.

The Art Fund will announce the completion of the collection once all the funds have been allocated.