Shafina Yusuf Ali, Executive Director of RAI, underscored the organization’s commitment to showcasing Kerala artists globally…reports Asian Lite News
In a significant move to foster cultural exchange and promote artists, the Risk Art Initiative (RAI) based in Abu Dhabi has joined forces with Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Meena Wari, Chief Curator and Creative Director of RAI, and N Balamurali, Secretary of Lalitha Kala Academy. The ceremony took place in the presence of Shafina Yousaf Ali, Founder and Executive Director of RAI, Abu Dhabi, and Murali Cheeroth, Chairman of Lalitha Kala Academy.
The collaboration aims to exhibit and market artworks by artists associated with Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy in Abu Dhabi, with reciprocal exhibitions featuring Abu Dhabi’s artworks in Kerala. Shafina Yousaf Ali and Murali Cheeroth expressed enthusiasm for the initiative, highlighting the cultural and artistic similarities between Kerala and Arab countries.
Shafina Yusuf Ali, Executive Director of RAI, underscored the organization’s commitment to showcasing Kerala artists globally. The partnership was initiated with the support of the Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy, acknowledging the artistic and cultural resonance between the two regions.
Shafeena Yousaf Ali shared her inspiration for the initiative, citing her experience studying in London and recognizing the absence of world-class artists from India and West Asia. This realization led her to establish RAI, securing collaborations and government support for the upliftment of artists in Kerala and West Asia.
As a concrete step towards collaboration, RAI took over 40 artworks from the Lalitha Kala Academy, previously kept for years, and displayed them in Kochi. Plans are underway to exhibit the works of around 10 Kerala artists in Abu Dhabi this year. Additionally, four artists from West Asia will undergo a four-month training program at RAI headquarters in Abu Dhabi.
The Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy, known for its progressive initiatives, expressed its commitment to long-term projects with RAI across various art forms. Chairman Murali Cheeroth highlighted the Academy’s recent collaborations, including exhibitions with the Japan Foundation and the Calcutta Center for Creativity.
In a momentous event on January 8, 2024, RAI and the Academy unveiled a series of collaborative projects encompassing all aspects of art. Notably, Shafeena Yousaf Ali inaugurated the Abu Dhabi-Kerala initiative by showcasing the works of acclaimed artist Attingal Ramachandran. RAI also presented fellowships of Rs.2 lakhs each to Kerala artists Mibin Bhaskar and Mohammad Yasir, emphasizing their commitment to supporting and promoting local talent.
Shafeena Yousaf Ali, a business leader based in Abu Dhabi, holds an MBA from Oxford University and a Master of Arts degree from Cambridge University. Currently pursuing a Ph.D. in artistry, her vision for cultural exchange and artist empowerment is poised to make a lasting impact on the global art scene.