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3D-printed rotating platform and other works on display at Art Dubai 2022 Digital Section. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Leading artists, curators, creators, thinkers and technologists have descended upon Dubai for the 15th edition of Art Dubai 2022. Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the festival will have more than 100 contemporary and modern art galleries from over 44 countries in focus.

Founded in 2007, Art Dubai is a platform that champions art and artists, providing a relevant and increasingly important alternative to mainstream, largely western-led narratives.

Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, and member of Dubai Council, inaugurated the 15th edition of Art Dubai, the region’s premier international art event, held at Madinat Jumeirah. The global art fair runs until Sunday 13 March.

Sheikha Latifa said: “Art Dubai’s return this year with the highest participation in its history is a landmark moment in Dubai’s creative journey. The exceptional response it has received is a testament to the homegrown art fair’s emergence as one of the most prominent art events in the international cultural calendar and a major platform to showcase the highest creative excellence in global art. Art Dubai’s vibrant line-up of galleries and artists further reinforces Dubai’s rise as a global cultural hub that is playing a key role in shaping new creative possibilities, conversations and connections for the international art world.”

Sheikha Latifa was briefed on the main highlights of the 15th edition of Art Dubai, which is presenting its most extensive edition to date with over 100 galleries from 44 countries from across the Global South, including a new section dedicated to digital art. The fair has become testament to Dubai’s leading role in the development of the creative landscape in the region and beyond.

The 15th edition of Art Dubai features artworks by renowned artists in the contemporary, modern and bawwaba sections. Plus a new section called Art Dubai Digital has been added, which brings together traditional art and the crypto world.

Benedetta Ghione, executive director of Art Dubai said the current edition of Art Dubai Contemporary will feature 77 galleries from 33 countries. “Fifteen first-time exhibitors have been included this time. The contemporary section features emerging art scenes to established centres. There are solo and group shows at this section where artists will offer new global perspectives to help cultivate a culture of discovery,” Ghione said.

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Works based on sculptures by a Britain-based design studio, on display at Art Dubai 2022. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Pablo del Val, Art Dubai artistic director, said: “For 15 years, Art Dubai has been a place to discover and celebrate new trends, creating and facilitating conversations and celebrating the strength of creative output across the Global South. Art Dubai is a truly global art fair and this is reflected in both the quality and geographic spread of the galleries participating this year.”

Art Dubai Modern 2022 is curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath and will feature solo presentations of museum-quality works by 20th century masters from the Middle East and North Africa. “Art Dubai Modern aims to drive new narratives and connections across exhibited presentations and across time.”

Val said Bawwaba will be yet another section in focus at the fair. “‘Bawwaba’, meaning gateway in Arabic, will exclusively feature works made in the past year or specifically for the fair.

Series of talks

Ghione said this year, the fair’s educational programme will feature a series of talks for a range of audiences and an eight-week course on crypto and NFTs [non-fungible tokens] for select local and international artists.

As an example, the Global Art Forum will bring together leading creators and thinkers to examine the worlds of digital artefacts and crypto economies.

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Art works on display at Art Dubai 2022. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Modern talks

Val said Art Dubai’s Modern section will be accompanied by three days of Art Dubai Modern Talks from March 10 to 12. “This year, it is being held in collaboration with the Dubai Collection, that will examine the life, work and influences of 20th century modern masters from the Middle East and North Africa. These important artists’ works form the art history of the region from the turn of the 20th century to the 1980s, and the series will significantly add to the existing scholarship and research. Participants will include Art Dubai Modern curator Sam Bardaouil, leading Emirati curator Munira Al Sayegh and Nima Sagharchi, Director of Middle Eastern, Islamic and South Asian Art at Bonhams,” said Val.

Installations on site

Art Dubai’s commission for 2022 is INLAND, represented by Fernando Garcia-Dory. He will present a new multi-site installation at the fair and in a variety of locations across Dubai. Sand Flow, being one of them, will manifest in a range of places and moments, combining visions of Dubai’s past, present and future and examining the ways in which the multiplicity of cultures and communities inhabit the city and their contributions to it. “The artwork will incorporate archaeology, hydrology, urbanism and transport as well as the Middle East’s rich oral storytelling traditions, heritage and crafts,” said Val.

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Digital works on display at the Bybit Gallery as part of Art Dubai 2022. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Interactive video installation

Another artist Julius Baer has commissioned Filipino-American light and media artist James Clar (Silverlens) to create an interactive video installation entitled Cloud Seed, for the Julius Baer lounge at the fair. “The installation will immerse visitors in a large-scale, real-time simulation of raindrops and fog, using custom technology to create a slowly morphing visual system that reflects our control of the environment. Through the commission, Julius Baer wants to showcase the emergence of mega trends such as digital disruption and how artists are using cutting-edge technology in their practise,” said Val.

This year’s A.R.M. Holding Children’s Programme will feature artist-led workshops for children aged five to 17 years. “The focus is sustainability and the programme will be led by Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru, who will work with participants to retrieve and repurpose everyday materials from their homes and schools and transform them into works of art.

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Art Dubai: When and where

Date: March 11-13, 2022.

Previews: March 9-10, at Madinat Jumeirah.

Timings: March 9-12; from 2pm-9pm. March 13, from 12pm-6pm


1-Day ticket: Dh60

3-Day ticket: Dh100

Tickets can be purchased online or via the Art Dubai App and the Dubai Calendar App.