Global art world will gather for the 11th time in Dubai in March, for the occasion of one of the world’s leading art fairs – Art Dubai 2017. Situated at Madinat Jumeirah, this year’s edition will feature over 90 galleries from 43 countries, including 25 new galleries that will be part of the event for the first time. Held 11 years in a row, Art Dubai grew into one of the most significant art fairs and global art platforms in the world, offering an unparalleled access to art coming from all parts of the globe. Art Dubai 2017 has the most extensive gallery line-up so far, combined with the most international gallery participation to date. This year’s edition is held under a new Director Myrna Ayad.
“We are delighted to welcome new galleries and countries presenting for the first time, alongside lots of returning friends of the fair and it’s fantastic to be working with the team to drive forward what has always been the cultural powerhouse of the region. Art Dubai continues to spearhead the cultural development of the local and regional landscape, and in addition to the four days of the fair, Art Dubai is consistently present internationally, supporting and partnering with institutions, galleries and patrons, and hosting events in recognition of our combined efforts” states Ayad.
Art Dubai’s gallery program is organized in two segments both featuring a selected group of galleries in exhibition halls, with additional programs happening over the four days. Art Dubai Contemporary features 78 galleries, with a significant number of them focusing on a solo or two-artists exhibitions. Among the returning galleries a significant number is from Europe and North America including Marianne Boesky Gallery (New York), Galerie Daniel Templon (Paris, Brussels), Carlier | Gebauer (Berlin), Galleria Franco Noero (Torino) Victoria Miro (London) and In Situ-Fabienne Leclerc (Paris), which will be joined by first-time participants Marlborough Gallery (New York, London, Barcelona, Madrid) and Waddington Custot (London). Along with them a significant number of galleries comes from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, marking Art Dubai as a cornerstone of the regional art scene. Together with 12 galleries from UAE, the Art Dubai welcomes Athr Gallery (Jeddah), Chatterjee & Lal (Mumbai), Dastan’s Basement (Tehran), Experimenter (Kolkata), Selma Feriani Gallery (Tunis), Gypsum Gallery (Cairo) and Zawyeh Gallery (Ramallah) as well as newcomers Al Marhoon Gallery from Algeria and Ab/Anbar and Mohsen Gallery from Tehran. Galleries from Peru and Uruguay such as Piero Atchugarry Gallery (Pueblo Garzón), Revolver Galeria (Lima), D12 Proyectos de Arte (Santiago) and Vermelho (Sao Paulo) are participating for the first time.
Modern segment of Art Dubai features 15 galleries from 12 countries, and in its fourth instalment this year, it will continue to showcase works by modern masters from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. Works by Mustafa Al Hallaj (1938-2002), the icon of Arab graphic arts, will be presented by Agial Art Gallery (Beirut). ArtTalks (Cairo) presents Egyptian modernist Mamdouh Ammar (b. 1926), while the Gallery One (Ramallah) will show art by Palestinian-born Sliman Mansour (b. 1947). Teheran and New York based gallery Shirin focuses this time on displaying works by Iranian creatives Hadi Hazavei (b. 1940) and Houshang Pezeshknia (1917-1972). Grosvenor Gallery (London) focuses on leading modernists from India and Pakistan. For this occasion they will present works by recently deceased artist Sayed Haider Raza (1922-2016), a pioneer of Indian Modernism. The artworks of Pakistani creatives Zahoor ul Akhlaq (1941-1999) and Anwar Jalal Shemza (1928-1985 will be showcased by Jhaveri Contemporary (Mumbai). Tafeta (London) will represent Nigerian creatives Ben Osawe (1931-2007) and Muraina Oyelami (b. 1940).
Besides two main programs additional educational initiatives and artistic programs also define Art Dubai, making it into a leading force in the cultural landscape of the Middle East. Global Art Forum is a critically acclaimed and the largest talk program in the region, recognized internationally as the leading platform for engagement in critical debate about art. It features around 50 speakers coming from all over the world, with Trading Places as its featuring theme for 2017. The dialog around Trading Places will focus on the trade goods and ideas that constantly shape and reshape the world. Abraaj Group Art Prize, considered the most significant prize in the region, will also be traditionally unveiled at Art Dubai. This year the prize went to Rana Begum, whose works will be exhibited together with the works by shortlisted artists Doa Aly, Sarah Abu Abdallah, Raha Raissnia. The Art Dubai Commissions programme increased significantly since the last fair. In 2017 edition it will include site-specific works as well as a series of five specially commissioned performances, curated by guest curator Yasmina Reggad, and presented by international artists, Manuel Pelmuş, Eglė Budvytytė, Lana Fahmi, and Iván Argote. One of the performances will be staged as a tribute to the recently deceased Emirati artist Hassan Sharif.
Highlights of the educational program include Fellowship Programme and Campus Art Dubai, focusing on intensive workshops for artists, writers, curators, and other cultural producers. Hosted in Art Dubai’s ‘The Room’, Cooking Liberty presents a visual and gastronomic experience by Beirut-based art collective Atfal Ahdath. Taking cues from Salvador Dali’s cookbook, Les Diners de Gala, the collective will invite guests to experience their visceral installation by day, while by night, the collective will welcome guests with edible dreams in an immersive setting reminiscent of a grandiose banquet. For its eleventh instalment the fair will also introduce the inaugural Modern Symposium, comprising a series of talks and presentations focused on the life, work and cultural impact of 20th century Modern masters from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa.
Art Dubai is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and in partnership with The Abraaj Group. It is sponsored by Julius Baer and Piaget. The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) is a strategic partner of Art Dubai and supports the fair’s year-round education program. The committee for Art Dubai Contemporary 2017 includes Ursula Krinzinger (Galerie Krinzinger), Andrée Sfeir-Semler (Sfeir-Semler), Isabelle van den Eynde (Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde), Glenn Scott Wright (Victoria Miro), and guest curators Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath. Art Dubai Modern also works with a selection committee of leading scholars and curators in the field, including Savita Apte, Iftikhar Dadi, Catherine David, Kristine Khouri and Nada Shabout.
The eleventh edition of Art Dubai takes place from March 15-18, 2017 at Madinat Jumeirah. The opening hours for public: Thursday, March 16, 4-9.30pm, Friday, March 17, 2-9.30pm, Saturday, March 18, 12-6.30pm. Day ticket (valid one day, either March 16, 17, 18) is 50 AED if purchased online, 80 AED if purchased onsite. Permanent ticket (valid all days, March 16-18): 80 AED if purchased online, 120 AED if purchased onsite. Children 18 years old and under are admitted free of charge. University students can also enter free upon show of student ID. For additional info and purchase of the tickets please visit the official Art Dubai webpage.
Featured images: Cedric Delsaux - Dubai Droid Army, 2010, East Wing; Art Dubai 2015, Gallery Hall 1, photo by The Studio; Sima Dance Company at Quoz Arts Festival, Dubai, 2016. Photography Fadi Gwany; Sonia Balassanian - Composition No.1609,detail, 1975, Aria Gallery; Atfal Ahdath - A Pillar of Salt, 2017, courtesy of the Artists. All images courtesy of Art Dubai.