Art Dubai 2024, in its 17th annual edition since its founding in 2007, wrapped up after some encouraging sales and public visits. Image Credit: Supplied

New media and digital art united with history and tradition at the premier cultural event in the Middle East as Art Dubai 2024 concluded this past weekend after buoyant sales and visitor numbers.

The leading international art fair in the region, this year in its 17th annual edition since its founding in 2007, welcomed more than 120 galleries and presentations from all over the world with the goal of spreading Dubai’s growing cultural ecosystem and bringing art closer to the masses, thanks to a range of accompanying attractions and programmes. These included educational talks and leadership building, live performances and installations, workshops and after-hour parties, as well as Campus Art Dubai, now in its 11th year, which provides young artists with real-world opportunities.

Art Dubai Contemporary, one of four distinct sections visitors were able to experience. Image Credit: Supplied

Another initiative designed to foster creative thinking was the fourth edition of the A.R.M. Holding Children’s Programme, the most ambitious one yet, which will eventually extend to reach 15,000 students across the UAE.

Some of the highlights of Art Dubai 2024 were hard-hitting and thought-provoking exhibitions, such as Ukrainian artist Katya Muromtseva’s depiction of displaced women, refugees and victims of forced migration, giving these resistant females a voice in the world. Other innovative themes examined the relationship between the Soviet Union and the Arab, African and South Asian countries after the Second World War entitled This Other World.

In total, the fair encompassed four categories and was split into gallery sections: Art Dubai Digital; Art Dubai Modern; Bawwaba; and contemporary. Art Dubai Digital, as the only beacon of new media and digital art found in any major international fair right now, continued to push the boundaries of new technologies and mediums including the latest innovations in robotics, AI, and virtual reality. Unit London, for example, sold Krista Kim’s 1005 v1 for 12.5 Ethereum, which is more than $42,000. Other big ticket sales at Art Dubai 2024 included El Anatsui's The Bend in the River which sold within hours of the fair opening on day one for $600,000. Fresh off her Alserkal Avenue solo show in Dubai, Mandy El-Sayegh also sold a piece for $60,000, and a Shaikha Al Mazrou sculpture went to a UAE collector for up to $50,000. Dubai’s Leila Heller Gallery displayed works ranging from $6,600 to $325,000.

Art Dubai Digital continues to push the boundaries that technology brings to the creative expression. Image Credit: Supplied

The success of this year’s edition of Art Dubai is testament to Dubai’s ever growing art scene which continues to prosper and grow bigger - the Art Dubai Group now comprises over 30 initiatives which in addition to the main event also include Downtown Design and Dubai Design Week.