Art Dubai, the leading international arts fair in the Middle East region, opened its doors on Wednesday.
The four day event is part of Art Week, an umbrella initiative that highlights the plethora of exhibitions, projects and events that now coincide with the fair each March.
The seventh edition of the art fair will feature 75 galleries from 30 countries, and will exhibit the latest works by over 500 artists.
“The fact that we have galleries from 30 countries makes us the most global art fair. But we are also proud to be the largest showcase for artists from the Arab world,” Fair Director Antonia Carver has said, reported Al-Bawaba.
To find out more about these artists from the Arab world, visit Al Arabiya's permanent gallery for Arab fine artists, Nawafeth.
Among the stalls to look out for at the fair is Berlin’s Arndt Gallery and their recreation of Belgian artist Wim Delvoye’s recent exhibition of Gothic sculptures at the famed Louvre in Paris.
Legendary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s dynamic work will also make an appearance.
This week has been tagged as the most dynamic time in the UAE’s cultural calendar.
The Art Dubai fair includes an extensive program of curated projects including commissioned site-specific pieces and artistic works in the performance medium.
Galleries from around the world will display chosen artists and specific works thought to be appealing to the Middle Eastern market.
Exhibitors, who have flown in from New York, Lagos, Beirut, London and many more countries, will make an appearance at the fair.
West African art takes center stage
In 2013 the fair’s Marker section is focused on West African art and will showcase galleries from Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Ghana and Senegal. The concept stands have been created by Lagos-based curator Bisi Silva and highlight the evolving nature of urban society in the region.
Despite its nature as a commercial event, Art Dubai has also played a vital role in raising awareness of the arts across the region. Organizers attempt to engage with the local community via an extensive program of educational projects.
This includes the novel Sheikha Manal Little Artists program. Geared towards children and teenagers between the ages of 3-14, this series of workshops will include sessions led by Zid Zid Kids, the Morocco-based trilingual children’s art education specialists.
Intellectualism and Art
An interesting and thought provoking feature of the fair is the Global Art Forum, presented by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and supported by the Qatar Museums Authority.
This year’s forum explores the concept of ‘definitionism’: investigating the words, terms, clichés and misunderstandings that proliferate in the art world and beyond.
Several talks will be held on the subject in an attempt to define the concepts which art enthusiasts use to discuss their field.
Over 40 contributors will take part in the discussions, including newcomers to the forum such as poet and author Mourid Barghouti who wrote ‘I saw Ramallah,’ among other works.
This event marks the seventh fair since Art Dubai’s conception. Over the last six years the event has grown to become a cornerstone of the region’s booming contemporary art community.
In 2012, Art Dubai welcomed 22,500 visitors – including 75 international museums groups – and hosted 75 galleries from 32 countries.