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Art Dubai 2022 edition closes with strong sales, record visitors

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Art Dubai closed its 15th edition with strong sales reported across all four sections of the fair: Modern, Contemporary, Bawwaba and Art Dubai Digital.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the organizers also reported a record attendance of more than 30,000 visitors across five days, as the premier art platform made a return to full scale at Madinat Jumeirah.

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Art Dubai’s 2022 edition was the fair’s largest to date, featuring more than 120 presentations by 104 galleries and platforms from 44 countries.

“This was without doubt one of the most successful editions of Art Dubai, in terms of both visitors and sales reported, fully reflecting Dubai’s position as an engine of global growth and a city no longer of the future, but of the here and now,” commented Art Dubai’s Artistic Director Pablo del Val.

“The response from audiences and collectors to the debut edition of Art Dubai Digital has been truly incredible. Art Dubai prides itself on being a fair of innovation and forward-thinking, and there was a real freshness and energy to the 2022 edition across the whole program.”

The gallery program was complemented by newly commissioned works from leading international artists and an oversubscribed, innovative talks programme, bringing together some of the world’s brightest minds through the 15th edition of Global Art Forum and new Bybit Talks Series.

Art Dubai 2022 also featured the debut edition of Art Dubai Digital, a new physical gallery section presenting a curated selection of 17 of the most cutting-edge digital platforms internationally. For many platforms this was their first experience exhibiting in a traditional fair context, and in-person and online sales were widely reported.

Participating galleries praised the event for its “positive energy”, the quality of art on display and the unique opportunities the event generated for them.
The Artistic Director’s comments were validated by some of the galleries and participants.

“We had a very successful week, there was a lot of positive energy, and we sold multiple works to both new and returning clients. Dubai is a city in transition, and there is undoubtedly a growing collector scene here, at all levels,” said Kristin Hjellegjerde, Founder, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery.

Victoria Cooke, Director, Gallery 1957, said: “This is our third time at Art Dubai and our most successful edition yet – it’s great to be back. On the opening day we sold works to African-American, South Asian, and regional collectors. Dubai is a truly international place, and it’s been an incredibly positive experience.”

“We had a very successful week, selling almost all the works we brought, mostly to institutions. It’s been one of the strongest editions in Art Dubai’s history, in terms of the quality of the galleries and the art they are showing, and in the conversations we have had,” said Priyanka Raja, Founder, Experimenter.

“We have met people here from all over the world, made sales to new people and it has been an incredibly fruitful week for us. There has been a constant buzz, on all days of the fair, and as well as the sales we make, Art Dubai is a facilitator or longer-term conversations and feels like a moment of celebration for our artists,” she said.

Asmaa Al-Shabibi, Founder, Lawrie Shabibi Gallery, said they had a good fair this year, “with strong sales across our booth and gallery -- overall the energy, interest and excitement was back to levels not seen for many years even before the pandemic.”

Regarding the Art Dubai’s inaugural Digital section, Joe Kennedy, Founder, Institut.co, said that they had a ‘very successful week ” and were thrilled to be invited to participate.

Kennedy said the Digital section brought together “an impeccably curated cross-section of platforms, galleries and DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) from this innovative and rapidly expanding space.”

“It was a great opportunity for Institut to meet members of our community IRL and educate and engage with a truly global audience.”

Henry Brand, Fingerprints DAO, chose to do a hybrid booth including both online and IRL elements and said “we sold very well, with lots of NFTs being minted in person here at the booth -- by collectors of all ages, and a really wide demographic.”

“ It’s our first time participating in an art fair and we chose a particularly challenging presentation that expands the use of the blockchain as a medium for artists.”

Dima Abdul Kader, Emergeast, said: “Art Dubai has been absolutely fantastic for us – the feedback and the traffic has been hugely positive and inspiring. Sales have been great, and we almost sold out the booth. This feels like a unique moment in time, and in 12 months it will be a different landscape.”

The response from some of the first-time participants was equally positive.

Thomas Brambilla, Founder, Thomas Brambilla. Said it was their first time here at Art Dubai and “we sold extremely well.”

“It was a beautiful week and we really enjoyed it, in what is a completely new part of the world for us, and one where we plan to do more. Dubai is becoming ever more important, it’s a gateway to the region, and we met a lot of new, serious collectors this week.”

Matteo Consonni, Founder, Madragoa, also said: “This is our first experience of Art Dubai and it has been an extremely positive one. We are a young European gallery and this week we feel like we have been in the center of the melting pot that is Dubai. Sales were consistent across the week and we were pleased to sell out the booth.”

The success of the fair, founded in 2007, also reinforces the growing importance of Dubai as an international hub for art and culture and for innovation and technology, and Art Dubai as the marketplace for modern and contemporary art and artists from the Global South.

Art Dubai has also been noted as providing a relevant and increasingly important alternative to mainstream, largely Western-led narratives.

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