Dubai on Tuesday prepared to open its 11th annual art fair, billed as the largest contemporary art show in the Middle East and North Africa, showcasing the challenges regional artists face.
Opening on Wednesday as part of Art Week in March, Art Dubai joins more than 270 artists from 70 countries with a particular focus on contemporary works.
It also showcases some of the unique challenges of creating art in the Arab world.
Among those displaying their work this year are renowned multimedia artist Sadik Kwaish Alfraji of Iraq, who deals with questions of existence and creating art in exile.
Saudi-based Palestinian artist Ayman Yossri Daydban imported one of his works from Jeddah to Dubai, altering the artwork to include pieces he had cut out as a tongue-in-cheek commentary on censorship.
Daydban’s display includes an old Egyptian movie poster with the lead actress’s chest cut out, along with the hips and upper thighs of the lead actor.
Beneath the poster is a separate frame holding the cut-outs.
“We had to cut out a few areas in the posters that may have caused problems” in Saudi Arabia, said Mariam Bilal, curator of the Jeddah-based Athar art gallery where Daydban’s work was on display.
“What we are representing here is the entire poster and the missing pieces.”
Dubai, famed for its extravagant lifestyles and glitzy architecture, has recently invested in expanding its cultural scene. The emirate last year opened its first opera house.