Imagine shifting to a new home as a child, and the first thing you do is create masterpieces on the freshly painted white walls. Of course, for most of us, we would see all hell break loose right in front of us as our parents yell at us for “scribbling” on the walls. Fortunately, Zaahirah Muthy’s parents allowed her to use the house’s white walls as her canvas, and looking back, she believes that the incident changed the trajectory of her life. “Perhaps if they stopped me, I wouldn’t have been an artist today,” she says, recollecting her fond memories.
The Founder and Managing Director of ZeeArts, an organization that brings together artistic talent from around the world as well as the brain behind Art Connects Women, Zaahirah believes that giving back to society is the basis of all human happiness.
An Art House
Originally from Mauritius, Zaahirah invested her time back home entirely in the service of others and even received two awards from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mauritius, for her contribution to society and her charitable work. When she settled in Dubai in 2011, she felt a hole in her heart. “When I was here (in Dubai), although I loved this place and what I was doing here, I missed the social work I did back home,” says Zaahirah. “That’s why I created ZeeArts in 2012, just a year after I decided to settle here.” Set about with the aim of bringing artists from around the globe together, Zaahirah and her team went on to launch the ZeeArts Gallery in 2017.
A participant of the UN Global Compact since August of 2021, ZeeArts Gallery acts as a global art incubator with the sole mission of connecting artistic talent in various disciplines through artistic initiatives and projects. In addition, ZeeArts Gallery has also launched a contemporary fine art online gallery dedicated to encouraging, promoting, and empowering artists as well as providing Art Consultancy services to corporates, developers as well as individual investors in the GCC region, proving itself to be a unique organization for all things art.
A Strive Towards Gender Parity
As an Ambassador for Women in Africa and a UN Global Compact Ambassador, Zaahirah is highly passionate about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal No. 5: Gender Equality. However, to this day, art is considered to be a predominantly male-dominated industry, while women consider it to be more of a hobby than a career. “In the art industry, women artists are valued much lesser than male artists,” comments Zaahirah on her decision to create a program that empowers women artists. “Even if you go to museums, you will see artworks of many male artists but not of women.”
What started as a convention of 20 artists from 20 countries in 2017 is now on its 5th edition boasting 114 artists. Set to take place on 8th March 2022, the event places focus on growth and getting back on one’s feet with the theme of “Rise to Rejoice”. Just like every other industry, the art industry also faced a rough patch during the pandemic, and with this year’s theme, ACW recognizes that the same challenges are also what led to growth and change while helping shift lenses to acquire fresh perspectives.
The previous editions showcased the works of 100 female artists from 100 different countries, and 90% of the artists that have participated in ACW have seen a boost in their careers, making the event a steppingstone to success for their participants. The event not only empowers artists but also makes them the master of their own vocation by making them feel special. “We want to create an experience for them, not just another event. We strive to find ordinary women who are doing extraordinary artistic work and bring them to the forefront, making them the focal point,” says Zaahirah. She lovingly recalls the anecdote of a French artist who had never stepped out of her village being moved to tears when she saw her art being displayed in one of the most exuberant cities in the world, Dubai. And that’s exactly what makes Art Connects Women so different from other initiatives of the kind. ACW creates moments of happiness and unforgettable experiences for all its participants. The event also features a conference and award ceremony to celebrate the sublime pool of artistic talent. This year, ACW will also be launching the 3rd edition of ‘Women Artists Around the World’, a high-end coffee table book.
Got it Down to A Fine Art
However, the road to success has not been an easy one. The biggest challenge ACW faced was to find sponsors. “Please support this initiative. The team has put a lot of time and effort into making this event such a big success and to support the dreams of all these wonderful artists,” urges Zaahirah. Conveying her deepest gratitude to her entire team as well as her current sponsors, Zaahirah ensures that the event will do what it is capable of doing: completely transforming the lives of its participants.
The next step for ACW is globalization. What has up until now been a Dubai-baby is now receiving interest in being taken abroad to Europe, Asia, Africa, and many other places. With Zaahirah and her team putting their best foot forward, there is no doubt that they will change the lives of many artists around the world.