Buro 24/7 Middle East Presents: The top things to look forward to at Art Dubai
Taking place March 19–22
It's March and that means one thing: Art Dubai, the leading international art fair in the Middle East and South Asia, is back with a bang. For its eighth edition, Art Dubai is set to transform the city into a thriving arts hub, enticing art connoisseurs from far and wide to showcase their work via an impressive fair line-up.
Held under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai, Art Dubai is run in partnership with The Abraaj Group and is sponsored by Cartier and Emaar. With a matter of days until the fair begins, Buro 24/7 Middle East highlights what to expect at the fair...
Global Art Forum
Featuring over 40 local and international contributors, the Global Art Forum titled 'Meanwhile...History' will provide a platform for cultural debate for participators from the worlds of art, architecture, film, literature and history. This year, the forum specifically sets out to create an imagined timeline of turning points in history - significant decades, years or days that shifted an understanding of the world. Programmed by writer Shumon Basar, curator-translator Omar Berrada and the artist and curator Ala Younis, the forum will feature commissioned projects and research, as well as live talks guided by a curated theme.
With over 70 galleries, the Contemporary section of Art Dubai features a range of established and up-and-coming galleries from across 30 countries. Amongst the featured galleries are Agial Art Gallery (Beirut), Alexander Gray Associates (New York), Victoria Miro (London), Pi Artworks (Istanbul/London), and Green Art Gallery (Dubai).
New to the fair this year, Modern is dedicated to Middle Eastern and South Asian art form the twentieth century. The programme features 11 galleries including Agial Art Gallery (Beirut), Aicon Gallery (New York/London), Grosvenor Gallery (London), Lawrie Shabibi (Dubai), Galerie Janine Rubeiz (Beirut), exhibiting solo and two-person shows of modern masters, as well as research projects, talks and tours.
Marker is Art Dubai's curated programme of galleries and artspaces which focuses on a specific theme or geography each year. In 2014, the artists Slavs and Tartars have curated the section which focuses on the Central Asia and the Caucasus. Featured galleries include North Caucasus Branch of the National Centre for Contemporary Art (NCCA); Popiashvili Gvaberidze Window Project, Tbilisi; and YARAT Contemporary Art Organisation, Baku, to name a few.
The new basement cinema space at Madinat Jumeirah will allow visitors to enjoy a host of film and video screenings. Amongst the highlights on offer is the international premiere of Towards the Possible Film by Shezad Dawood; Space of Celebration by Taus Makhacheva; as well as The Stuart Hall Project by John Akomfrah - who is also participating in this year's Global Art Forum.
The Abraaj Group Art Prize
The Abraaj Group Art Prize, founded in 2009, is the only prize in the Middle East and South Asia that recognises artists based on their submitted project proposals. The five selected winners of the prize include Abbas Akhavan, Kamrooz Aram, Bouchra Khalili, Basim Magdy and Anup Mathew Thomas, who have worked alongside guest curator Nada Raza, to develop work that is set to be shown in a unique exhibition.
Art Dubai Projects
This non-profit programme features commissioned works by a mix of established and promising artists. Curated by Fawz Kabra, the programme features installation, drawing, painting, performance and sculpture from the selected artists including Nadia Ayari, Youmna Chlala, Sunoj D, Maitha Demithan and many more.
Taking place on The Abraaj Group Lounge Terrace, Terrace Talks is set to explore the relationships between curators, artists and patrons. The discussions will touch on a variety of topics, ranging from the legacy of Pakistan's modernist artists to the upcoming launch of the new Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.
L'Odyssée de Cartier
During Art Dubai, Cartier and the Fondation Cartier pour l'art Contemporain are set to host a unique exhibition presenting its 'L'Odyssée de Cartier' jewellery collection alongside works of art. Designed in a unique 'city' environement, Cartier pour l'art Contemporain will present 'Maman Isek Mabo Bendele', created by African artist Bodys Isek Kingelez.
Artists-in-Residence (A.i.R) is a partnership between Art Dubai, Delfina Foundation, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and Tashkeel, which gives five promising artists and a curator the chance to work in Dubai in a three-month residence; the 2014 artists include Sunoj D, Sara Al Haddad, Maitha Demithan and Maryam Al Qassimi, who have worked alongside the curator İpek Ulusoy Akgül.
The Sheikha Manal Little Artists Programme
Art Dubai isn't just for adults, children attending the fair will be pleasantly entertained with The Sheikha Manal Little Artists Programme - a unique set of drawing and sound workshops for children and teenagers. Australia-based artist Dylan Martorell has created a selection of innovative workshops in which young artists will create sounds from drawings and instruments from upcycled materials. Discovery Tours led by UAE-based artists Rania Jishi, Athier Moussawi and Khawla Darwish will also be on offer; the specially designed tours will enable youngsters to explore the fair via illustrated maps and story-telling of the guides.
If for any reason you can't make it to the fair in person, don't worry as Art Dubai has a dedicated radio station which will feature interviews with local and international artists and curators. Hosted by London-based Fari Bradley of Six Pillars, the radio station will be disseminated via a live radio web-stream.