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Dubai: World’s new art hotspot

The Dubai Art Fair was bigger and better this year. Here are a few glimpses

art and culture Updated: Apr 04, 2012 11:20 IST
Aakriti Sawhney
Aakriti Sawhney
Hindustan Times
HIndustan times,Art Dubai Ladies’ Day,Dubai art fair

The sixth edition of the Dubai Art Fair, which was held at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai on March 21-24, had a lot to offer to art lovers from around the globe. Held under the umbrella initiative of Dubai Art Week — which included various artistic and cultural events, such as the Sikka Art Fair and Design Days Dubai — the fair featured 75 galleries from 32 countries, with works of more than 500 artists.

An artwork exhibited at the opening reception of Galleries’ Night at Al Serkal Avenue, which saw works by 15 different galleries

One of the main highlights of this year’s fair was the introduction of a new programme of artists’ and curators’ residencies that was held at Dubai’s historic district Al Bastakiya. The residency had six artists that included three international and three UAE-based artists, and had artwork ranging from photography to sound installations under the guidance of London-based curator Alexandra MacGilp.

“The fair aims to provide a platform for new and emerging artists and it also celebrates the art of established artists,” says Antonia Carver, fair director, Art Dubai. “The fair has the best of the art from around the world, as Art Dubai has now emerged as the region’s most successful art fair,” she adds. Many of the exhibitors reported strong sales, especially those who had exhibited at the fair’s previous editions. For example, Jeddah’s Athr Gallery sold all of its artwork within half an hour of the fair’s exclusive preview that was held on March 20.

The fair also saw a good amount of Indian representation. The only gallery from Delhi, Seven Art Limited, represented artist Suhasini Kejriwal’s installation titled, Monument. The artwork contemplates what a Delhi monument would be like if it’s build in the present times. Other Indian galleries included Chemould Prescott Road, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke and Experimenter. Chemould Prescott Road represented London-based artist Shezad Dawood’s artwork. Dawood is the recipient of Abraaj Capital Art Prize (ACAP), 2011 — another important association of Art Dubai. Initiated in 2009, ACAP, focuses on the works of Middle Eastern, North African and South Asian (MENASA) artists. This year, the award went to six artists from Palestine, Egypt, Pakistan, and Lebanon. “At ACAP, proposals of the artworks are awarded rather than completed works. Winners start working on their proposed artworks in autumn, which are unveiled in March,” says Frederic Sicre of ACAP.

The fair also had an impressive lineup of 75 museum groups, which included Guggenheim and Aspen Art Museum of USA. “Artists and galleries, who are not directly in touch with these museum bodies got great exposure at the fair,” says gallerist Bhavna Kakar of Latitude 28, New Delhi.

Design Days

With a venue built at the footsteps of the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, the inaugural edition of Design Days Dubai saw leading design galleries across the globe exhibiting collectibles, limited edition and exclusive high-end design pieces. The prices of these pieces, which were presented by 22 international galleries, ranged from €500 (Rs 33,827 approximately) to €300,000 (Rs 2.1 crore approximately).

Held on March 18-21, the fair hosted leading design artists from around the world, such as Novatt, Guy de Rougemont from Galerie Diane de Polignac, Paris, and Joseph Walsh from Milan.

Design Days also invited students of some universities to showcase their artwork.


Art Dubai was started in the year 2007.

The fair is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai.

Art Dubai Ladies’ Day is an event that hosts an exclusive preview for ladies only.

This year, the fair was attended by 22,500 guests, including curators, collectors, gallerists, artists and 75 museum groups.

This year, there were 75 galleries from 32 countries, whereas 70 galleries from 30 countries participated at the fair last year.

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First Published: Apr 03, 2012 17:56 IST