From Pietrasanta to Dubai

Stefano Bombardieri

The historic medieval town of Pietrasanta in Tuscany, Italy, is famous for its marble and bronze workshops. Artists and sculptors have lived and worked across centuries in Pietrasanta since the time of Michelangelo. Some of the well-known sculptures and artworks from this artistic town are now on display at the newly opened OBLONG Contemporary Gallery in Dubai.

Located in Bluewaters Island, OBLONG Gallery was inaugurated under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahayan, Cabinet Member, Minister of Tolerance, UAE. The debut exhibition titled The Nascence showcases the works of Igor Mitoraj, Stefano Bombardieri, Pablo Atchugarry, Robert Indiana, Gustavo Velez, Helidon XhiXha and Jimenez Deredia, to name a few. For most of these artists, Pietrasanta has played a significant role in the development of their artistic careers. 

Jimenez Deredia

Founded by three women entrepreneurs — Mara Firetti, Emanuela Venturini and Paola Marucci — whose love for art brought them together, OBLONG aims to create a platform for cross-cultural exchange between Italy and the UAE. The gallery’s name was derived from the ‘oblong’ shape, which comes from three other shapes; a square, a circle and a rectangle. Firetti, Marucci and Venturini described the shape as a representation of their different backgrounds and characters.  The gallery will host workshops, educational initiatives and a cross-cultural art exchange programme between the two cities .

Igor Mitoraj

“I believe art is an instrument for social and cultural integration through which differences between cultures are merged. The UAE is becoming the centre of art in the Middle East, thanks to the vision of its respective leaders who have embraced art in different ways. The country is home to more than 200 nationalities who have individual preference for art, and I am thrilled about the contribution that the opening of OBLONG Contemporary Gallery will make.  I envision it to bolster the art scene in Dubai and the UAE through the different exhibitions, workshops and activities that we will offer,” says Marucci, who has lived in Pietrasanta for the past 20 years.