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DRAF (David Roberts Art Foundation) has appointed independent curator Fatoş Üstek to lead its celebrated programme of exhibitions and performances. Üstek will oversee the expansion of the Foundation’s presence in London and the development of new initiatives across the UK. David and Indre Roberts said: “We are thrilled to announce the appointment of Fatoş Üstek as the new Director of DRAF. Fatoş is widely respected for her vision, knowledge and flair and brings UK and international expertise to the position. She will lead DRAF into a new era, building an exciting programme to bring the Foundation to a wider audience.”

Üstek was born in Turkey, and lives and works in London. Prior to joining DRAF, she worked internationally as an independent curator and writer. In 2017, Üstek was selected for The Evening Standard’s Progress 1000 for her original programme for Art Night, a festival of live commissions by 11 artists in public spaces across East London in collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery. In 2015, Üstek oversaw fig-2, a marathon series of 50 week-long exhibitions in ICA Studio, London, and in 2014, she was Associate Curator for the 10th Gwanjiu Biennial.



In October 2018, Üstek will curate the eleventh edition of DRAF’s Evening of Performances. The popular annual event will return to KOKO, London, bringing live works by internationally renowned and emerging artists to over 1,500 visitors during the week of Frieze London. “DRAF is one of the most dynamic arts organisations in London today, renowned for its innovative programme. I am honoured to lead and advance its remarkable commitment to art and artists. I am excited to build on DRAF’s values as we start another chapter of engaging artistic and critical agency,” Üstek said.

Since its establishment in 2007, DRAF has regularly reimagined its programme, testing new models of producing and sharing contemporary practices. The Foundation has collaborated with over 1,000 artists to produce exhibitions, commissions and performances. Following the sale of its Camden gallery space in 2017, where it welcomed over 100,000 visitors, DRAF announced plans to significantly expand its programme beyond London, with the aim of reaching new and broader audiences. The appointment of Üstek as Director is an important step towards realising this ambitious vision.



The newly appointed Director said: “DRAF is entering a new phase of expansion and exploration. The Foundation will generate projects across the UK, alongside its activities in London. DRAF will investigate fresh ways of supporting art and showcasing artistic positions. We will heighten the significance of collaboration and cross-learning through our programme, initiating a wide spectrum of meaningful relationships nationwide and internationally.”

In 2018, DRAF will present its first off-site partnerships within this new structure. She sees the shadows is an exhibition collaboration with MOSTYN, Llandudno, Wales’ foremost contemporary art centre. Works from the David Roberts Collection selected by Olivia Leahy (DRAF) and Adam Carr (MOSTYN) evoke alternative qualities and narratives in familiar objects. For DRAF’s eleventh Curators’ Series, London and Shanghai based curator Victor Wang 王宗孚 will present the Institute of Asian Performance Art, looking at performance movements in 1960s and 70s in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China through a focused exhibition and a series of classes at partner venues around the UK.


Feature image: Fatoş Üstek. Photo: Josh Meeks-Rayvon Williams (Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ / DRAF)

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