All set for an exceptional edition of Art Dubai

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So the season of art is upon us this month. Art Dubai - a meeting point for the international art world – is celebrating its 12th edition and will be held from March 20 to 24 at its home Madinat Jumeirah.

The 2018 edition feature a record 105 galleries from 48 countries and the gallery line-up has been announced.

Art Dubai’s Contemporary section will feature 78 galleries from 42 countries in 2018, including first-time participations from Iceland, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan.

The Modern section, celebrating its fifth edition this year, remains the only commercial platform in the world to showcase museum-quality works by artists from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

This year will also feature the launch of a new section called Residents, a one-of-a-kind 4-8 week residency program for international artists, invited to the UAE to immerse themselves in the local art scene, to create a body of work which merges their distinct artistic practice with their surroundings. Their final works will be on show in the new section of the fair.

Speaking to Al Arabiya English, Art Dubai’s Director Myrna Ayad said: "This year is not only our biggest, but it’s our most diverse. We have a great line-up and there’s definitely something for everybody. We have a non-selling exhibition at the Modern hall which is going to survey the Modernists practices in five Arab cities over five decades. This is in partnership with Misk Art Institute.”


“And then we have the new section Residents. It is wonderful to give artists – 11 of them coming from nine countries - an opportunity to immerse themselves in a new culture and explore the cultural scene, and no doubt, this experience will continue to have an impact on their work for years to come.”

“And of course, theres’s the Abraaj Group Art Prize which celebrates 10 years this year. Then we have the talks at the Global Art Forum and the Modern Symposium. So we are looking forward to all these things.”

Select collectors and curators from around the world will be descending on the city during Art Dubai.

“You need to keep the conversation going with everybody, and keep looking all the time and continue to mirror Dubai. Because Dubai is dynamic and multicultural and diverse. And this is what Art Dubai is too,” sums up Ayad.

Pablo del Val, Art Dubai’s Artistic Director, said the Residents, will be a “pioneering and unique platform that brings together different energies, synergies, geographies and artistic practices, which one doesn’t usually see together in one place.”

The elven artists from far-flung countries are really interacting with the ciity and are getting inspired by the UAE. They come with empty hands and produce everything that is to be exhibited in Dubai. The body of work that they are producing is really fantastic,” he said.

Art Dubai further promotes regional art and artists by featuring a unique mix of programming and commissioned works, often in partnership with other regional institutions, as well as the annual exhibition of works by the winner and shortlisted artists of the Abraaj Group Art Prize.

The prisze is given based on a proposal on a ork that the artists wants to make.

The 10th edition of the Abraaj Prize has been awarded to New York-based Lawrence Abu Hamdan.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan. Photo Eric T. White. Courtesy Maureen Paley, London.
Lawrence Abu Hamdan. Photo Eric T. White. Courtesy Maureen Paley, London.

Dana Farouki, Chair of the Abraaj Group Art Prize, said: “Hamdan is an exceptional artist who makes very important works. His work touches on important subjects and themes. He is also really innovative in terms of using media – photography, film and sound – and his project will be incorporating these elements.”

‘I Am Not A Robot’

This year’s Global Art Forum is titled ‘I Am Not A Robot’, exploring the theme of automation. Shumon Basar, Commissioner of the Forum, said: “We are looking at automation and Artificial Intelligence., which is part of automation. Although it is a phenomena that goes back thousands of years, the subject of automation is contested at the moment. But we are living through a very accelerated phase of ubiquitous technology and it seems the implications of how we work, how we know each other, where we live, are all going to be affected.”

“What we wanted to do at the Global Art Forum was try and look at questions that are not being asked by the culture at large at the moment.”

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