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Meet the Team
Board Members
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BARBARA FARAHNICK-MATHONET Founder & President

Barbara Farahnick-Mathonet is the Founder and President of The Art Circle.

Since 2017, she is an ambassador for Abu Dhabi Art which expands beyond the notion of a traditional art fair, in placing strong emphasis on a diverse public engagement and events that take place in different locations throughout the year.

Before that she worked for more than 20 years for Chanel France cosmetics as a regional Sales Manager. Previously, she worked for Estee Lauder as a Sales Manager for 3 years.

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Lina was very excited about the idea of forming this wonderful club with enthusiasts like herself.

 

The art world always fascinated her albeit unrelated to her studies. Lina has a degree in English literature and a certificate in business administration.

Nonetheless, her infatuation led her to take different courses related to art. She has been collecting art pieces for over 30 years now, and what makes her home different are these elements of memorabilia that she makes sure to acquire and collect during her frequent travels.

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ASMA SEDEEQ AL MOTAWA
Honorary Board Member & Senior Advisor

An Emirati holding a BA in Business Administration from the United Arab Emirates University in 1987 and a Masters in Contemporary Islam from Zayed University, in 2013.

 

She is the Founder and Chairwoman of Al Multaqa Literary Salon since 1998.  She also launched numerous social, cultural and humanitarian initiatives and has made outstanding contributions to fundraising for affected countries.

Asma is a member of several local, regional and international institutions, and initiated the publications of Al Multaqa Literary Salon and published

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HODA FOUAD CHAHINE
Treasurer & Founding Member

Hoda Fouad Chahine, Lebanese, a. graduate from the American University of Beirut with a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a master’s degree in Public Health.

 

She lives in Abu Dhabi for more than forty years.

Her career life was very far from art. She joined the Ministry of Health and worked as a public Health Consultant for more than three decades. She witnessed throughout her career major changes in the development of the health care delivery system.

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NOOR AL SUWAIDI
Artistic Director

Noor Al Suwaidi is an Artist, Curator and Cultural Producer with over 15 years experience in the arts and creative industries. Al Suwaidi graduated in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art from American University in Washington, D.C. In 2009 she obtained a master’s degree in Curating Contemporary Design from Kingston University, London. Noor’s artwork has been exhibited in gallery shows in London, Kuwait, Berlin, Washington, D.C., Dubai, Sharjah, Al Ain, and Abu Dhabi. As a curator, Noor specializes in curating exhibitions of Emirati artists both locally and internationally including for the UAE Embassy in Washington D.C. and within the UAE for galleries in Sharjah and Dubai. In addition, she worked for Sotheby’s in London, ING in Amsterdam, and on art and cultural projects for both Dubai Arts and Culture Authority and TDIC’s Cultural Department.

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NADA AKKARI
Editor & Founding Member

After graduating with a Licence in Business Management (Université de Geneve), Nada followed her real passion. She enrolled in a year course of modern art history at Christies London and interior design studies at Chelsea College of Art before co-founding her interior design company, DN Designs Ltd. in 1992, and later DN Designs Collection Ltd for a range of home accessories.

Her love and passion for art and design led her to join the Art Circle as a member and later as a Board member in Abu Dhabi.

Nada has lived in Lebanon, Switzerland, London and the past decade in Abu Dhabi and never missed an opportunity to attend Art Fairs and exhibitions here and there building slowly a small art collection.

Contributors
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CHRISTEL ALEXANDRIAN
Contributor

Originally from France with Armenian roots, Christel is an Art and Culture enthusiast. She has a particular interest in exploring the relationship between Art and Society and the impact of cultural initiatives into community engagement and dialogue. Captivated by cross-disciplinary practices, she organized exhibitions involving visual art and sculpture.

 

With a Master’s degree in international law and professional experience in the higher education and international affairs sectors, Christel supports the development strategy of The Art Circle working on content development, programming and legal aspects.

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VINCENT LARNICOL

Contributor

Vincent Larnicol is a French art collector who was born in a family of artists, art dealers and collectors. He is also the co-producer of the Japanese film CUT selected at the Venice Biennale 2011 and runs the International development of Chargeurs group, world leader in Museum scenography.

Passionate character who regularly publishes his art "coup de coeur" on his Instagram page @carillonart

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SYLVIE HULOT-MAKKAR
Exhibition Coordinator

Art is quite literally in Sylvie's roots. Being raised in Vincent Van Gogh's last town of residence (Auvers-sur-Oise, France) sparked a passion for art in her that has blossomed into a lifelong commitment. 

Though she is an art enthusiast and a modest collector, she comes to the Art Circle with two Masters and 30 years of experience in the education sector - a career that took her to several countries in the region and gave her the opportunity to explore art in different contexts. 

Having lived in the UAE on and off since 1993, Sylvie is particularly fascinated by the recent and rapid growth of the Emirati art scene and what the future of art in the region could hold.

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MARÍA JOSÉ R. ESCOLAR
Founding Member

María José R. Escolar www.mjrescolar.com is a Spanish artist. She has a Degree in Fine Arts (University of Salamanca, Spain). She completed her formation at The Rijksakademie van Beeldenden Kunsten, Amsterdam. In the last 25 years she has lived in the UAE, China, Syria, Morocco, Belgium, Gabon. She is currently living and working in Madrid (Spain).

María José began her career in 1989 and has featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions in many countries. 

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REEMA BSEISO
Event Coordinator

Reema has lived in Abu Dhabi for over 40 years, keenly observing the city’s transformation from a pearl-diving hub to a premier global art destination. Born into a family of both artists and collectors, Reema gained a passion for art at an early age. This enthusiasm has led her to museums and art fairs across the globe, constantly learning about the great artistic movements of history. She aspires to be an advocate for Middle Eastern art and hopes to bring art from the region to the mainstream.

 

After being a part of the Art Circle as a member, she is very excited to join the board and help the team build on the foundation established over the past few years.

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GIDA KHEYAMI
Head of Communication

With a bachelor's degree in Graphic Design and a masters degree in Filmmaking, Gida has trained as a creative in the fields of  advertising, film and TV. In a way she has always had a career adjacent to art and culture. 

 

Later on, once based in the UAE, she founded an event planning boutique, building a brand up from scratch, managing social media accounts, and creating content.

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