The global art market has seen a significant shift in recent years due to an increasing number of art enthusiasts and collectors have emerged in the Middle East and China, it is learnt. The rising economic prosperity and cultural awareness, as well as the growing interest in contemporary art, are among the factors driving such focus, according to renowned Lebanese artist Nadim Karam. “I feel that things have gone beyond Europe for the moment… they have shifted to this part of the world and I think China, where I’m doing projects also,” he told Gulf Times, noting that these regions “have this awareness of the importance of culture and dialogue” apart from having the resources. “How can you do anything without improving dialogue, communities and culture? There is an awareness here I feel. I think the voice should be raised even further in the direction of cultural improvements and community interaction through projects related to culture, public art and other things… because public art could in one way or another bring cultures together and bring communities together,” Karam said. He was speaking on the sidelines of the opening of the ‘Eruption’ exhibition at Msheireb Downtown Doha on Wednesday, organised by Anima Gallery and Msheireb Properties. Karam was one of the high-calibre artists participating in the show, which will run until June 10 at Sikkat Al Wadi. It is learnt that countries in the Middle East, including Qatar, have been investing heavily in building iconic museums, galleries and cultural institutions such as the National Museum of Qatar and the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. China’s major cities like Shanghai and Beijing, meanwhile, are witnessing a huge interest in contemporary art, and are becoming key hubs for arts and culture. The artist also lauded the efforts and vision of Qatar Museums chairperson HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani that aim to transform the country into a vibrant cultural centre in the region and even beyond. “That’s fantastic. I think to be able to do something like this and to have this vision it’s extremely important. I mean to be able to bring all those artists to create work here, works in the desert, works within Qatar and whatever surrounds it… this is great and a huge thing for Qatar, for Doha,” he said. While Karam has done a number of projects in neighbouring GCC countries, he is looking forward to be doing a major work for the city of Doha. “I feel that there are so many potentials and I think the choice of artists for doing the major works is the kind of decision taken by the Qatar Museums in the sense that they’re looking for getting works that express what are the needs of the actual societies if you want and it’s very important,” he said.