Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at Art Dubai 2022
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum opened Art Dubai 2022 on Friday Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Art Dubai 2022, the leading global platform for art and artists from the Middle East and Global South, is complementing its artistic programme this year with a series of live events and multi-level talks programme that caters for a wide range of interests, and interactive family workshops suitable for all ages.

The 15th edition of the event is currently being held from Friday to Sunday at the Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

On Friday, Sheikh Mohammed attended the official opening of Art Dubai 2022. Speaking on the occasion, Sheikh Mohammed highlighted the role of the arts in strengthening understanding and peaceful coexistence between people of different cultures and nationalities.

The UAE’s cultural sectors are seeing a new energy and dynamism driven by the nation’s commitment to promoting creativity and its values of diversity, inclusiveness and tolerance, he said.

He added that Dubai continues to raise its profile as a global centre of excellence for various art forms by providing a supportive environment for artistic talent from all over the world to thrive.

100 galleries

For over 15 years, Art Dubai has played an important and leading role in the development of the Dubai’s cultural ecosystem, and is a major contributor to the development of the country’s future cultural leaders. This year, the fair features the most extensive edition to date with over 100 contemporary, modern and digital galleries from 44 countries. The event reinforces Dubai’s emergence as an international hub for art and culture and a major contributor to conversations about contemporary art.

Art Dubai
Contemporary, modern and digital galleries are all part of the show Image Credit: Twitter/@artdubai

School outreach

Art Dubai 2022 presents an expanded education and talks schedule, including the most far-reaching children’s programme to date, developed in partnership with A.R.M. Holding, and now engaging more than 5,000 children in 80 schools across Dubai. In addition, the fair has partnered with the Art Writers’ Agency (AWA), a newly created organisation which aims to support the development of UAE-based arts journalism and writers. Art Dubai is among a diverse set of attractions being highlighted by the #DubaiDestinations initiative, which is now focusing on highlighting the exceptional experiences, events and activities of the ongoing #DubaiArtSeason.

Children’s programme

This year’s A.R.M. Holding Children’s Programme features artist-led workshops for children aged 5-17 years. With a focus on sustainability, the programme will be led by Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru (AKKA Project), who will work with participants to retrieve and repurpose everyday materials from their homes and schools, and transforming them into works of art.

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Children are learning how to make art from everyday objects as part of Art Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

Through these workshops, Cyrus will challenge participants to alter their perspectives, and re-examine how they see everyday objects and their wider surroundings. The first A.R.M. Holding Children’s Programme will take place at Art Dubai before expanding to take place in 80 schools – reaching more than 5,000 children across Dubai, in line with A.R.M. Holding’s long-term commitment to artistic education and Dubai’s creative economy.

Various talks

Art Dubai also features an innovative talks programme for a range of audiences. Entitled ‘This is the Picture’, commissioned by Shumon Basar, and taking place across four days, the 15th edition of the Global Art Forum examines the worlds of digital artefacts and crypto economies, inviting leading artists, curators, creators, thinkers and technologists to consider a range of topics from NFT art and curatorial projects, to crypto gaming and the metaverse, Web3 and Dubai’s new crypto zone. Participants for 2022 include noted collectors Guy Ullens and Ryan Zurrer, pioneering artists Holly Herndon & Mat Dryhurst and UAE blockchain advocate Saeed Al Darmaki.

Meanwhile Bybit Talks is a curated series of conversations presented by the titular and leading cryptocurrency exchange, which aims to give visitors greater understanding about the rapid growth in digital platforms. Inviting guest speakers to explain more about the basics of cryptocurrency, digital media and NFT art, participants will include Tamas Banovich, co-founder of Postmasters; Seth Goldstein, co-founder of Bright Moments and Christina Chua, co-founder of SO-FAR.

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Training programmes

Art Writers’ Agency (AWA) was founded in 2022 by journalist and academic Melissa Gronlund to support the development of the next generation of cultural writers in a rapidly changing media landscape by connecting art writers with editorial opportunities in the UAE, whilst also providing mentoring programmes, workshops and practical training. The first cohort of eight writers was selected following an open call, and Art Dubai is a founding partner of this component of the cultural ecosystem.

First established in 2012, Campus Art Dubai was the first programme of its kind in the region and has acted as a school for artists, curators, writers, architects, designers and cultural producers based in the UAE. Each year a special curriculum is designed around a pertinent theme and CAD participants explore the significance of local knowledge with individuals and institutions in the region through course material and a series of seminars, lectures, workshops and off-site visits.

Powered by Materia, Campus Art Dubai 9.0 Blockchain Edition is an eight-week programme hosting 12 artists – six UAE-based and six international – with experience in the fields of photography, videography, visual art, animation, sound or new media art. The programme culminates with participants creating their own NFT artwork which is shown in a dedicated display at Art Dubai 2022 and exhibited on Materia’s platform.

Art Dubai is held in partnership with A.R.M. Holding. The fair is sponsored by Swiss Wealth Management Group Julius Baer. The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) is the fair’s strategic partner. Bybit is the lead partner of Art Dubai Digital.