Art Consultant and Cultural Strategist
Myrna Ayad Art Advisory & Cultural Strategy FZE
Myrna Ayad (born 1977, Beirut, Lebanon) is a Dubai-based arts consultant, cultural strategist and editor, recognised as one of the Middle East’s leading cultural commentators. She established her namesake consultancy that focuses on art advisory and cultural strategy in August 2018 and among her clients are Pepsico, the UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development and Assouline, for whom Ayad is publishing a seminal book on the late ruler of the Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
From 2016-2018, Ayad was Director of Art Dubai, the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia’s (MENASA’s) foremost international art fair. Ayad has written for The New York Times, CNN Online, The Art Newspaper, Artforum, Artsy, Artnet, Wallpaper* and The National, among other titles and has contributed to artist monographs and exhibition catalogues. She was Editor of Canvas, the premier magazine for art and culture from the Middle East and Arab world, where she worked for eight years (2007-15), managing the editorial division, which included newspapers, supplements and books for art and luxury clients. Ayad is Editor of Art Scene UAE: Visual Arts Practices in the Emirates (Canvas Central, forthcoming, 2020) and Contemporary Kingdom: The Saudi Art Scene Now (Canvas Central, 2014). Among the publications which she has project-managed are Art, My Passion: The Collection of Their Highnesses Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and SheikhaSalama Bint Hamdan Al-Nahyan (2008), the Emaar International Art Symposium (2007) as well as those for clients such as Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels and Christie’s. Over the years, Ayad has served as a panellist and moderator for entities such as the Global Art Forum (2017), the Art Business Conference (2017), Art Dubai (2016), Alserkal Avenue (2015) and Art Basel (2009) as well as several Dubai art galleries. She has interviewed artists including Monir Farmanfarmaian, Etel Adnan, Ayman Baalbaki, Abdulrahman Katanani, Abbas Kiarostami, RokniHaerizadeh and Akram Zaatari. Among the art patrons that Ayad has interviewed are Saudi Arabia’s HRH Princess Jawaher bint Majid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Iran’s Farah Diba Pahlavi, HRH Princess Wijdan Al Hashemi of Jordan and Lebanon’s Elie Khouri. Ayad has served as a nominator for the Sheikha Salama bint HamdanAl Nahyan Emerging Artists Fellowship since 2013 and since 2017, is also a nominator for the UAE art Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.
She currently serves as Secretary of the IsharaArt Foundation that focuses on South Asian art and is a member of the Aga Khan Museum Committee for the Gulf and South Asia. Ayadalso serves as an advisory board member of her alma mater, the American University in Dubai. In 2017, Ayad was nominated among the 100 Most Powerful Arab Businesswomen in Forbes. In 2018, she was ranked among the 50 Most Influential Women in the Arab World in Arabian Business. With a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with emphasis in Advertising from the American University in Dubai, Ayad has spent almost four decades in the UAE.