Inside the Mine Concept Store

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Art: A three-letter word with a six-figure connotation. But that paradigm is all about to change, thanks to The Mine. The concept space, which opened in Dubai in November, is on a mission to provide would-be art collectors with the opportunity to purchase affordable Middle Eastern art.

The opening of The Mine comes at an ideal time for the city; just last month, Street Night Art, a free, highly accessible art fair for the masses, as well as the largest outdoor art event in the region, brought thousands of culture hounds to Dubai’s industrial zone and art hub, Al Quoz. Next month, Art Dubai, a highly prestigious, world-class event, will draw an elite group of artists and collectors to Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah to view regional art with top-dollar price tags.

That being said, for the aspiring collectors without the deep pockets normally required to purchase art and the serious young artists looking for ways to break into the industry, there’s a tangible gap: you’re either too serious to be part of the mass art wave or not well established enough to be taken seriously by the high-end market. “There isn’t an affordable art market in Dubai,” founder of The Mine Sanaz Askari explains. “Here, pieces are about USD 5,000 maximum. We do have a piece or two that cost slightly more but, based on our research and what we understand about the market, this is reasonable for young collectors.”

The space, which is replete with recycled furniture and an industrial-chic vibe, offers a wide range of mediums from international artists, with a particular focus on art from Askari’s native Iran. She explains, “The Mine is a talent support platform. We work in a non-conformist way. We don’t want artists to go through the same gallery routine they are used to facing. We are trying to deliver to a niche market.” In fact, Askari first conceptualized the space after watching a close friend struggle to find his place in Dubai’s art scene. “My passion started from Nik Nejad, a very close friend who faced a lot of difficulties getting into the market,” she shares.

Outside of the actual pieces available for purchase (including Nejad’s works), Askari prides the space on being a hub for those interested in collecting and learning about Middle Eastern art. “We wanted to start a creative members’ club. We want to have monthly events for the creatives and the young collectors to get together and discuss the art industry, what they like, or how we can add to the cultural scene of the UAE. We refer to ourselves as a ‘creative space’. We have film nights and yoga nights. We want to create a community rather than an exclusive space.”

Click through the gallery above for a virtual tour of The Mine gallery.

For more information, visit www.themine.ae.

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