Art Dubai, one of the most prestigious international art fairs, returns for its 11th edition at Madinat Jumeirah from March 15 to 18, 2017. The fair, this year, will highlight works of art from 92 galleries across 44 countries. Visitors will have the chance to discover museum-quality creations by an array of artists from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.
The fair is structured around two main lines – contemporary and modern. Interconnected gallery halls at the sprawling venue in Madinat Jumeirah house everything from artist and curator residences and educational initiatives to commissioned projects to multimedia works.
Art Dubai’s first incarnation was the DIFC Gulf Art Fair before being rebranded the following year to take on the now renowned title. From the offset, the fair was held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai who was keen to promote arts and culture in the city. The fair provides widespread international exposure for artists, which is vital to the art scene in the Middle East, and expands cultural horizons, ensuring a constant flow of fresh talent and new ideas.
In celebration of the event, Concierge speaks to the fair’s director and a celebrated artist to reveal two narratives, weaved together by a passion for creativity.
Interview: Myrna Ayad, Fair Director of Art Dubai
“I was very humbled to be named fair director in April last year and am proud to join what I’ve always considered to be a global cultural powerhouse. Having lived in the UAE for so long, covering the fair since its inception when it started as a commercial platform and then grew into its role of a central cultural institution over the last decade, I was and still am very excited to be part of this nucleus of the art world. My aim is to support and strengthen the fair’s positioning as a leading cultural body through the many avenues that we operate in.”
“The planning and work behind each edition of Art Dubai begins the minute the last fair closes, so essentially we work all year round. Art Dubai is not just a fair that happens over a week in March but is very much a year-long event that pulsates with activities and planning over the other 11 months of the year. The tempo then steps up in the months preceding the fair – it is akin to putting the pieces of a giant puzzle together to present a culturally stimulating experience over five days.”
“There is so much to look forward to in our 2017 edition. We have over 90 galleries from 44 countries showcasing the works of modern and contemporary artists from all over the world. The critically acclaimed Global Art Forum presents Trading Places focused on the theme of trade, while Abraaj Group Art Prize winner, Rana Begum, will unveil her winning work alongside those of the three shortlisted artists under the curatorship of Omar Berrada.”
“Other highlights include The Room, our engaging, gastronomic, installation-based performative experience conceived by Atfal Ahdath. A wealth of knowledge will also be brought through the inaugural Modern Symposium focused on Art Dubai Modern. Don’t miss our first performance-only commissions under the curatorship of Yasmina Reggad as well as the commissions curated by Amanda Abi Khalil that will see public art dot the city.”
“What continues to inspire me about art in general is the story behind it and how it relates to you as a viewer. I also find its ability to be historic, a form of documentation and the experiences within that contribute to its fascinating story. It never really belongs to one person.”
“I’d like visitors to Art Dubai to feel like they have seen something for the first time and to have been moved by an artwork or conversation. I hope they learn something or are inspired and want to do more to support the art scene and come back next year for more incredible experiences.”
Interview: Rana Begum, Winner of the Abraaj Group Art Prize 2017 and represented by The Third Line in Dubai
“It’s such an honour and a privilege to be the winner of the Abraaj Group Art Prize this year. I hope that the finished work lives up to the amazing opportunity that the committee has afforded me.”
“The Art Dubai fair and Abraaj Group provide widespread international exposure for artists. This is vital for the art scene in the Middle East as it expands cultural horizons and ensures that there is a constant flow of fresh talent and new ideas.”
“The work commissioned by the Abraaj Group Art Prize reiterates my interest in the interplay between light and colour. The commission stems from a series of studies on MDF (medium-density fibreboard) panels which focus on overlapping transparent coloured planes that create a third layer of geometry and colour. This initial interaction was the starting point which led me to explore this concept further and make them more concrete through the use of glass.”
“I am constantly inspired by what I see around me in everyday life as I walk around London. It’s always fantastic to visit other places too – it’s impossible not to draw inspiration from things that are fresh and new. I assisted the talented Tess Jaray for about five years and not only was she an amazing artist, but I also look up to her as an individual.”
“At the moment, I’m working towards a solo show at Sainsbury Visual Arts Centre and curating a group show with young artists connected to the Arts Council Collection at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I’m also really excited about a collaborative project with electronic musician Hyetal. By working with music, I am seeing my work from an entirely new perspective.”
The 11th edition of Art Dubai will take place at Madinat Jumeirah from March 15 to 18, 2017, and will run from 1pm to 4pm on Wednesday, 4pm to 9:30pm on Thursday, 2pm to 9:30pm on Friday and 12pm to 6:30 pm on Saturday.
For more information, visit artdubai.ae.