Art Dubai: Transcending Geographic Borders

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Art Dubai, Dubai’s leading art events feature more than 500 professionals from the art world to showcase their best work across three broad categories.

85 participating galleries from 34 countries and works by more than 500 artists across the programmes

art dubai
Art Dubai Director Antonia Carver and HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum at Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde’s booth during Art Dubai 2013. Works by Bita Fayyazi and Rokni Haerizadeh

It is no secret that Dubai is the melting-pot of cultures and arts in Asia. It is a place where arts have gotten patronage and support not just from the people living and visiting the region, but also from its ruler, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed himself. It then comes as no surprise that art lovers and connoisseurs have already cleared their schedules in anticipation of Art Dubai, one of the region’s biggest art festivals, to be held in March.

The four-day event to be held from 19th to the 22nd March will see some of the brilliant forms of art-works, broadly classified under three main categories of contemporary, marker and modern. Of the three, ‘Modern’ will be premiering for the first time in Art Dubai, showcasing artworks from the Middle-east and South Asia. ‘Marker’ will feature artworks from the geographical landscape of Caucasus and Central Asia while ‘Contemporary’ refers to the more modern-day-based artworks. In totality, over 500 art professionals from over 30 countries in the world will be showcasing their works in the event this year.

Alongside the featuring of artworks ranging across styles and panoramas, Art Dubai will also showcase:

  • An exposition of commissioned works for the ‘Art Dubai Projects’ featuring the winners of the prized ‘Al Abraaj Group Art Prize’
  • A specific interactive art-based forum for art-lovers and enthusiasts
  • Film showings and live radio programs
  • Specific art-based programs for children

For the first time, the galleries are presented in three distinct programmes: Contemporary; Modern, inaugurating this year; and Marker, the curated section of invited art spaces and galleries focusing in 2014 on Central Asia and the Caucasus.

Alongside the gallery halls, the fair also features an extensive not-for profit programme including dynamic commissioned site-specific works for Art Dubai Projects; an exhibition by winners of The Abraaj Group Art Prize; the critically-acclaimed, five-day conference Global Art Forum; a live radio station; film and video screenings; Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program for children; plus an engaging programme of curator-led tours, book launches, talks and so on.

“Over the past eight years, Art Dubai has evolved into an extraordinarily dynamic art fair, with a particular emphasis on diversity and quality. The fair echoes the expansion of the arts infrastructure in Dubai and the region,” says Antonia Carver. “Our roots are firmly grounded in the UAE arts scene and we believe this year’s fair reflects Dubai’s identity as a major cultural city, alongside its role as a hub for trade, finance and transport. Art Dubai’s growth has been organic and supported by a highly motivated audience of artists, curators, gallerists, patrons and enthusiasts. We’re aiming to welcome even more visitors than the 25,000 that walked through the doors in 2013.”


Art Dubai Contemporary

Art Dubai’s contemporary gallery halls remain the largest section of the fair with more than 70 galleries exhibiting works for sale. Returning galleries include Athr (Jeddah), Galerie Chantal Crousel (Paris), Galerist (Istanbul), Alexander Gray Associates (New York), Victoria Miro (London) and Experimenter (Kolkata) among others.

This year, galleries making their debut at Art Dubai include Ota Fine Arts (Tokyo/Singapore), GallerySKE (Bangalore/New Delhi), Galerie Polaris (Paris), Marisa Newman Projects (New York), Tyler Rollins Fine Arts (New York), Baró Galeria (São Paulo), The Breeder (Athens/Monte Carlo), Gladstone Gallery (New York/Brussels), Marian Goodman (New York/Paris/London), Galerie Greta Meert (Brussels), Galleria Franco Noero (Turin), Yavuz Fine Art (Singapore), and 313 Art Project (Seoul).

UAE-based galleries participating in Art Dubai include Ayyam Gallery, Carbon 12, Gallery Etemad, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Green Art Gallery, Grey Noise, Elmarsa, Tashkeel and The Third Line.

Full list of galleries participating in Contemporary here:

Art Dubai Modern

In 2014, Art Dubai launches a new gallery programme devoted to Middle Eastern and South Asian modern art from the twentieth century. The Modern programme, sponsored this year by Mashreq Private Bank and taking place in Mina A’Salam, was advised by renowned curators and historians Savita Apte, Catherine David, Kristine Khouri and Nada Shabout. Each gallery booth presents a solo or two-person show by highly influential artists, including Rasheed Araeen (Grosvenor Gallery, London), Nasser Al Yousif and Rashid Al Khalifa (Albareh Art Gallery, Manama), Michel Basbous (Agial Art Gallery, Beirut), Hamed Abdalla and Adam Henein (Karim Francis, Cairo), M.F. Husain and Syed Sadequain (Aicon Gallery, New York/London), Ardeshir Mohasses (Shirin Gallery, Tehran/New York), Nabil Nahas (Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai), among others.

More information about Modern and list of galleries and artists here: 


The dynamic programme of invited art spaces—dedicated each year to a particular theme or geography—turns its focus in 2014 to Central Asia and the Caucasus. Curated by the artists Slavs and Tatars, selected art spaces and artist-led organisations include: ArtEast (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan); Asia Art (Almaty, Kazakhstan); North Caucasus Branch of the National Centre for Contemporary Art, NCCA (Vladikavkaz, Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, Russia); Popiashvili Gvaberidze Window Project (Tbilisi, Georgia); and YARAT Contemporary Art Space (Baku, Azerbaijian). Presenting works ranging from mid-twentieth-century painting to contemporary drawings and sculptures, Marker will take the form of a chaikhaneh or Eurasian (tea) salon and includes talks and research projects, an education programme, as well as artists’ books published in collaboration with onestar press.

More information about Marker here:

Art Dubai Projects

The dynamic not-for-profit programme of new commissions and site-specific projects sees 12 artists invited to create installations, performances, video and research projects that engage audiences and interact with and comment on the fair and its environment. Artists selected for Art Dubai Projects include Nadia Ayari (Tunis/New York), Youmna Chlala (Beirut/New York), Clark House Initiative (Bombay), Sunoj D (Bangalore), Maitha Demithan (Dubai), Sara Al Haddad (Dubai), Shuruq Harb (Ramallah), Najat Makki (Dubai), Amina Menia (Algiers), Maryam Al Qassimi (Sharjah), Mounira Al Solh (Beirut), and Hajra Waheed (Montreal) working closely with curator Fawz Kabra.

More information about Art Dubai Projects here:

The Abraaj Group Art Prize

Now in its sixth edition, the renowned The Abraaj Group Art Prize is awarded to artists on the basis of a proposal. Their new works are featured in an exhibition at the fair. The five winners of the 2014 prize are Abbas Akhavan, Anup Mathew Thomas, Basim Magdy, Bouchra Khalili and Kamrooz Aram. The artists have been developing their projects in collaboration with internationally renowned curator Nada Raza.

More information about the 2014 Abraaj Group Art Prize here:

Global Art Forum

Titled Meanwhile…History, the eighth Global Art Forum reflects on significant decades, years, days, minutes or seconds that shifted an understanding of the world and history. Commissioned by Shumon Basar with co-directors Omar Berrada and Ala Younis, the Forum features over 40 speakers and contributors including Sulayman Al Bassam, John Akomfrah, Catherine David, Okwui Enwezor, Frauke Heard-Bey, Adina Hempel, Farah Al-Nakib, Todd Reisz, Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Adam Szymczyk, Marina Warner, among others. The Global Art Forum begins March 15–16 at Katara Art Center, Doha and continues March 19–21 at Art Dubai, Mina A’Salam, Madinat Jumeirah.

Presented by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Global Art Forum 2014 is held in partnership with the Office of Strategic Cultural Relations at Qatar Museums Authority through their Years of Culture annual initiative.

Art Dubai’s curatorial and educational programme also includes:

  • Falgoosh Radio—a live artist-led radio station—programmed by London-based sound artists and composers Fari Bradley and Chris Weaver
  • Film and video screenings through the Moving Images programme, the partnership between Dubai International Film Festival, Sharjah Art Foundation and Art Dubai, exploring artists’ films and filmmakers’ art in the Arab world
  • Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program of children’s workshops and discovery tours
  • Artists’ and curators’ residencies programme A.i.R Dubai, a partnership between Art Dubai, Delfina Foundation, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and Tashkeel. A.i.R Dubai 2014 features five artists from across the Middle East and Asia: Nadia Ayari, Sunoj D, Maitha Demithan, Sara Al Haddad and Maryam Al Qassimi who are working in Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood alongside curator-in-residence ?pek Ulusoy Akgül creating works for Sikka Art Fair and Art Dubai Projects.
  • Campus Art Dubai, the free Saturday school for artists, curators, writers, cultural producers and art workers based in the UAE and developed with lead tutor Tirdad Zolghadr.

About Art Dubai: An eight-year long tradition, Art Dubai has been a massive hit ever since it was initiated in the early 2000s. Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the event is held in Madinat Jumeirah and enjoys a rich sponsoring by the conglomerates Emaar and Cartier and is held in partnership with the ‘Abraaj Group.’ The event also enjoys a strategic tie-up with Dubai’s Culture and Arts Authority which also backs Art Dubai’s round-the-year educational events.

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