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Art Dubai returns to the city this month

The region’s premier event for the creative community will make its much-anticipated return at an all-new location for its 14th edition, running from March 29 to April 3

When it comes to sparking connections and conversation in the art world, no other medium is as influential as the art fair. One of the driving forces powering the creative community, art-themed events provide up-and-comers in the industry as well as established artists with the ideal platform to inspire and engage with their audiences.

Last spring, the pandemic brought in-person art exhibitions to a halt, leaving galleries scrambling for alternatives. While many turned to digital means – from hosting live art workshops to online auctions – others hoped for a speedier return to normalcy, given that there is nothing like the traditional art fair when it comes to honouring the creative community.

Hopes are high that some bigger players in the art world will make a comeback this year, but these events will be far from normal. With the safety of exhibitors and attendees front of mind, organisers will be looking for unique ways to provide an immersive experience to visitors.

The new normal for the art world

One of the first international art fairs to go ahead with an in-person event in 2021, Art Dubai returns to the city this month. Serving as the opening act for this year’s season of art events in the UAE, the 14th edition of the fair will run from March 29 to April 3. Taking place at an all-new venue, the exhibition will be hosted under the iconic Gate Building at Dubai International Financial Centre. 

In spite of international border closures and tighter restrictions, the event will still see a majority of its regular participants returning for this year’s show. Its success is sure to set an example for international art events to operate safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

At this year’s fair, visitors will be able to discover an incredible line-up of museum-quality creations displayed by around 50 local, regional and international galleries from 31 countries. The inspiring showcase will shine a light on an array of themes, especially the rich cultural heritage and contemporary art practices of the region and extending to territories across Southeast and Central Asia, the African continent and Latin America.

Lasting impact

Art Dubai’s first incarnation was the DIFC Gulf Art Fair in 2007 before being rebranded the following year to take on the now renowned title. From the outset, the fair was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE, who was keen to promote arts and culture in the city.

The past 14 years have seen Art Dubai cement its position as one of the most prestigious art fairs in the region. A local initiative with global reach, it has served as a platform for upcoming and established creatives from the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Australasia. While rising up the ranks on the international art scene, the event has been instrumental in broadening conversations about art among diverse geographies, often not exposed to the global art fair landscape.

In its role as a talent incubator, Art Dubai has been a launchpad and development platform for several artists, curators and art professionals. And its significance extends beyond the fair. The initiative continues to celebrate excellence in art through programmes such as the Global Art Forum, Gulf Now, Ithra Art Prize, Art Dubai Commissions, Campus Art Dubai, International Curators Programme and Performance Arts.

The mission extends to cultivating an ecosystem of not only art but also education, mentorship and thought leadership, fostering cross-continental dialogue and exchange as well as enhancing the international curatorial landscape.

For more information about the event, visit


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