Slava Noor is the Editor of Arte & Lusso online magazine, which focuses on art, fashion, luxury and travel. She is also the founder of UAE Goodwill Photographers, and an ocean lover. Passionate about diving, her love for the sea turned her into the author of The Pink Mask, a book that deals with the subjects of global warming and plastic pollution. It is a story of a girl called Ula, who discovers a whole new underwater world, dares to set out on adventures and helps her newly-found friends, by deciding to defeat the Trash Monster. Ula is just as kind as she is brave and ultimately, she is the girl Noor says she once was when she was a child and hopes she is still today.
Slava Noor dives into Rlixa’s questions and surfaces with the answers:
Which country do you hail from? How long have you lived in the UAE?
I was born and grew up in Almaty, Kazakhstan, but have pretty much lived abroad since I was 15. My first major trip was to the USA and my second major move was to Dubai 15 years ago, and now I am proud to call it my second home. I travel quite a bit both for work and personal reasons between Kazakhstan, Italy and Switzerland. But Dubai always takes an important space in my heart and I am here for the major art and culture related events.
What is your academic background? What made you interested in art and culture?
I painted on and off since I was a kid, I visited art galleries, theatres and museums with my mother and simply read a lot about artists and their work as a teen. I remember at 18 I read Salvador Dali’s “Diary of a Genius” and it became a turning point for me in deciding to take the creative route, with all of its challenges and lack of any type of stability. I have had to do a lot of research and independent studies on everything from history of art to investing in art to the latest big thing in art – NFTs.
When did you create Arte & Lusso? Why?
Arte & Lusso was born out of my love for art and culture as well as the gap I saw in the market some time ago.
I really wanted to create a platform for emerging artists to share their work. Our goal is to connect art galleries, artists, art collectors and anyone who loves art by sharing the most relevant local and international stories.
We are a very dynamic team with contributors from Dubai to Beirut to Rome, Barcelona and more; creating a community is a core value for us. We help emerging artists grow by sharing expert advice in our Creative Lab section. Artists can find many helpful articles on subjects such as writing an artist statement, preparing an art exhibition and marketing and selling their work.
What are the qualities needed for a person or an artwork to be featured in Arte & Lusso?
Arte & Lusso focuses on contemporary art primarily, and we do our best to promote all the relevant art exhibitions happening in UAE and interview the artists who have both the talent and a strong message.
Spanish artist Salvador Dali’s inspirational book.
We strive to give a platform for emerging talent as well in our Artist of the Month or the Art Radar sections. We often hold open calls for long feature articles as well — so it is always a good idea to follow us on social media or subscribe to the newsletter.
You were once a professional photographer. How did that experience help your current position?
Photography has taught me really great observation skills. A good photographer does not just click: she observes the subject, takes time to get the composition and light right and clearly knows what she wants to say with the image she creates. It is the same with everything else — I enjoy observing the trends in the art markets in order to understand how to drive Arte & Lusso and my other projects forward.
Is it a one-way flow of culture — from the West to the Emirates — and not two-way traffic?
Your observations.In the past, this has probably been the dynamic - but things definitely are changing now. I can see more and more Middle Eastern artists in European galleries, UAE based artists get more support both from the government and corporates and there are so many educational programmes run in the region. COVID has obviously slowed down the cultural exchange; but now major art fairs are back.
How do you see art and lifestyle evolving in the UAE?Dubai is becoming a real art and cultural hub. There are so many places to enjoy art from, DIFC to Downtown to Alserkal, and many new art galleries have emerged. In addition to traditional art spaces such as galleries and museums, many hotels and companies have started working with the artists to create a community vibe and attract new audiences. I also like all the public art throughout the city — projects like the Sculpture Park in DIFC make art more accessible and engaging. March is full of art events from Sikka to Alserkal Art Week to Art Dubai, and I am very excited to see all the art. It is definitely a month every art lover enjoys!