Kamiar Maleki Will Be the New Director of Contemporary Istanbul Fair

The fair is also changing its dates to coincide with the next Istanbul Biennial.

Contemporary Istanbul's new director Kamiar Maleki. Courtesy Contemporary Istanbul.
Contemporary Istanbul's new director Kamiar Maleki. Courtesy Contemporary Istanbul.

Kamiar Maleki, the eldest son of Iranian-born, London-based super-collectors Fatima and Eskandar Maleki, has been appointed as the new director of Contemporary Istanbul.

“Being the gateway from Asia and Europe to the Middle East, the city and the country have a unique and strong collector base. Our aim is to continue to exhibit the best art of the region as well as internationally acclaimed and respected artists at CI,” Maleki, a collector and patron in his own right, said in a statement.

“It is noteworthy that Istanbul has also seen a rapid opening of museums and galleries as well as a growing art fair calendar, partly due to the impact of CI. It is an important global arts hub that has championed both regional and international art,” he added.

This not the only major change that the art fair is implementing towards its 12th edition. Its chairman, Ali Güreli, has also announced that next edition of the fair will take place between September 13-17, coinciding with the opening of the 15th Istanbul Biennial.

Contemporary Istanbul's Ali Güreli. Photo Sitki Kosemen, courtesy Contemporary Istanbul.

Contemporary Istanbul’s Ali Güreli. Photo Sitki Kosemen, courtesy Contemporary Istanbul.

The September slot was previously occupied by the fair Art International, which cancelled its 2016 edition in the wake of violence and instability in the country.

Given his lack of experience in the art fair sector, London-based Maleki might seem like a perplexing choice to some, but he has an extensive knowledge of and contacts in the international art world, accrued in over 15 years of collecting and patronage, not least afforded by growing up surrounded by art, from Old Masters to post-war and contemporary, thanks to his parent’s passionate and informed collecting.

Interested mainly in emerging contemporary art, Maleki is a founding member of the ICA’s Young Patrons and is a Young Patron to both Tate and Parasol Unit Foundation.

Last year Maleki debuted as a curator, with the exhibition “Hashtag Abstract” at London’s Ronchini Gallery. This year, at the same gallery, he has curated “Primary Colours” (2016), the first UK solo exhibition of works by Richard Höglund. His latest project was “Desert Octave” also a solo exhibition of Richard Höglund, which opened at Dubai’s Custot Gallery on October 28.

“With his years of experience in the contemporary art world, as well as a strong family background in collecting and art philanthropy, Kamiar’s direction will enable us to further enhance and refine the fair’s identity and collector following,” Güreli said of the new director.


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