Welcome to EW‘s weekly series ‘How I got my job as…’ where we speak to some incredible entrepreneurs and businesswomen both based in the UAE and globally to find out about their career paths led them to where they are now; what their daily routines look like; the advice they’d give to those starting out; and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome.

This week we chat with the co-founder, partner and general manager of Oblong Gallery, Paola Marucci

Based in Bluewaters Dubai, the gallery is involved in promoting contemporary art, operating both locally and on the international art platform.

EW sat down with Marucci to find out more about her career history, what brought her to Dubai and her passion for art.

Oblong Gallery

What was your favourite subject at school?

I have done classical studies studying Greek and Latin, as well as Italian literature and art history but I have always been attracted to economics and mathematics.

In fact, after my classical studies, my university career was economics and commerce.

Over the years I have been able to combine these various elements that have distinguished my school and study path, making the passion for art a managerial activity


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What was your first job?

My first job was consulting for corporate start-ups. Now some may wonder what link a consultancy activity has for business projects and the activity of gallery owner well the answer is as follows: creativity.

Analyzing and building the business plan of a new company develops great creativity in analyzing the various aspects involved in the project

What inspired you to go into the art industry?

Living in Pietrasanta for over 20 years I began to cultivate even more my passion for art. Visiting the marble artisan workshops, the Bronze Foundries, attending all the inaugurations of the countless art exhibitions that followed each other in Pietrasanta, knowing and attending all the major contemporary artists was born my indissoluble love for art that then materialized in the opening at first of the gallery in Forte dei Marmi, secondary to that of Dubai.

What eventually brought you to Dubai?

I had been in Dubai on holiday many years ago and fell in love with it. Later I decided to open the gallery in Dubai both because I believe that the Middle East is an expanding market. And because I love betting and my dream is to integrate our culture more with that of the Middle East favouring a transfer of experience between the two countries. Art is the instrument that allows achieving full integration between peoples.

Can you talk us through what inspired you to open your own gallery?

In addition to being an art lover, I am an entrepreneur and as such always attracted by new challenges

What are the key elements of your role?

My role as a Partner and General Manager involves different aspects, from the choice of artists to promote on the market, to the management of events, sales and administrative issues. I mean, I don’t have much time to get bored.


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Talk us through your daily routine.

My daily routine is to always think about how to develop our business and evolve.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?

The advice I can give is that you have to be very courageous and believe in what you are doing even if everything seems to suggest that you have to give up.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

The best advice I generally always get from my husband who is like me a fighter and who always manages to encourage me and give me so much strength to carry on my choices with determination.

What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

The biggest change was to go from a simple partner of a gallery in Dubai to General Manager, with all the logistical difficulties that have resulted living in Italy, a wonderful challenge and that fills me with satisfaction

What are your goals for 2021?

My goals are to make Oblong Contemporary Gallery a reference on the Emirati territory for the purchase of sculptures, our peculiarity, and to achieve the goal of creating a cultural bridge between Italy and the UAE.

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Images: Supplied