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Art Dubai 2018: The Highlights You Need To Know

Whether you want to make it a gal’s day out by joining one of the Ladies Tours or you want to cultivate your kids’ curiosity, visiting Art Dubai always makes for a valuable day out.


Ahaad Alamoudi, artist featured in 'Reframe Saudi'

If you’re already an art aficionado or starting to grow a healthy liking for works of art that get the senses tingling, then make sure to pencil a day in your diary to visit Art Dubai. The highlight of the region’s cultural calendar, taking place from 21-24 March, presents works from over 500 contemporary and modern artists from across the world. Plus, it offers The Room for women interested in wellbeing, beauty and fashion, as well as special tours and a programme for children.

By turning Madinat Jumeirah into a creative hub, Art Dubai is once again kick starting the art season throughout the city. Held in partnership with The Abraaj Group and 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 twelfth edition of the event promises to be ultra special. That’s thanks to Art Dubai 2018 featuring 105 galleries from 48 countries, making it the largest and most globally diverse one to date. As well as returning galleries, there are first-time exhibitors from around the world. From the Global Art Forum to the various Ladies Tours and exhibitions, activities, workshops and talks, the buzzing fair offers something for you as well as the entire family. Here are the highlights you need to know about:


Art Dubai Modern Symposium, opening. Courtesy of Photo Solutions


Art Dubai opening night party 2017. Courtesy of Photo Solutions

The Global Art Forum
The Global Art Forum 2018 is focusing on the power, paranoia and potentials of automation. Entitled ‘I Am Not a Robot,’ there will be discussions on intelligence, cognition and concepts of the self across cultures and species. From fears of automation of human labour to the concept of Hyperstition, you can ponder over the reality of the not-so-distant future at the sessions on March 21. The next day, technology and art experts discuss the notion of the cyborg using texts and how artists engage with technologies of automation. There’s also a playful encounter between crafters of live experiences, experimenting with voice, text, electronic music and vocal processing. On March 23, philosopher and writer Aaron Schuster discusses why AI is typically portrayed in popular culture as murderous or psychotic, plus Cinema Akil is organising a series of sci-fi genre films.


Cruzeiro Seixas, "The Meeting," 1957. Courtesy of Perve Galeria

Art Dubai’s Gallery Halls
Art Dubai Contemporary
presents 78 galleries from 42 countries, from the world’s most influential galleries to dynamic young art spaces. The artists range from emerging practitioners hailing from lesser-known art capitals, including first-time participations from Iceland, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan, to household names. The works presented cover all artistic media, from painting, installation and sculpture to video and photography.


Jesús Bubu Negrón, "Ethnographic Abstractions," 2016. Courtesy of Henrique Faria


Claudia Wieser installation from "Passing Leap, Hauser and Wirth," New York, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery


Maha Malluh, "Food For Thought 7," 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Krinzinger


Rasheed Araeen, "Rainbow on the Ground Surrounding the Black," 2016. Courtesy of Aicon Gallery


Simone Fattal, "Construction," 2013. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Tanit

Celebrating its fifth edition this year, Art Dubai Modern, with Misk Art Insitute as an exclusive partner, presents museum-quality work by masters from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. In fact, it remains the only commercial platform in the world to showcase works by artists from these regions. You will find work that has been influential throughout the 20th century in the 16 galleries from 14 countries with solo, two-artist and group exhibits.

(Ladies Tour on March 21 from 1:30 p.m. till 2:00 p.m.)


Manoucher Yektaei, Untitled (Still life with flowers), 1959. Courtesy of Aria Gallery


Saeid El Adawy, Untitled, 1961. Courtesy of Ahmed Eldabaa and Ubuntu Art Gallery

Art Dubai Residents, which is the newest addition to Art Dubai, is dedicated to 11 solo presentations. These international artists underwent a one-of-a-kind four-eight week residency programme in the UAE to immerse themselves in the local art scene, to create work that merges their individual artistic practice with their surroundings. The final pieces are on show in the new section of the fair, presented by the artists’ respective galleries. A round-table discussion with the artists and the representatives from each of the residency spaces is taking place on March 24.


Kristina Alisauskaite, "Potential Realities," 2017. Oil on canvas, 95 x 130cm. Courtesy of The Rooster Gallery


Poonam Jain, "No Name" ("Letter to Me" series), 2016. Gypsum powder, adhesive and wooden planks, 255 x 496 cm. Courtesy of 1x1 Art Gallery


Victor Ehikhamenor, "Isimagodo," 2017. Sculpture, 457 cm (height). Courtesy of Victor Ehikhamenor


Yasuaki Onishi, "Reverse of Volume RG," 2012. Glue, plastic sheet, other, 470x1340x1210cm


Zohra Opoku, "One of me I," 2017. Courtesy of Mariane Ibrahim Gallery


Jennifer pekel, "Dance," 2017. Mixed media on paper, 159x222cm

Artworks from Arab Cities Spanning Five Decades
‘That Feverish Leap into the Fierceness of Life’ is an exhibition presenting a number of artworks by some of the leading members of five modernist artist groups and schools spanning five decades from five Arab cities: the Contemporary Art Group in Cairo (1940s/1950s), the Baghdad Group for Modern Art (1950s), the Casablanca School of Art (1960s/70s), The Khartoum School (1960s/70s), and The House of Saudi Arts in Riyadh (1980s). Curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, the exhibition derives its title from the 1951-founding manifesto of the Baghdad Group for Modern Art, reflecting these groups’ passionate contributions to the intellectual and artistic dialogue surrounding modernism within their respective socio-political contexts.

(Ladies Tour on March 21 from 2:00 p.m. till 4:00 p.m.)


Abdelhadi El-Gazzar, "The Family," ca. 1953. Courtesy of Yasser Hashem Collection, Cairo.


Ahmad Shibrain, Untitled, ca. 1965. Courtesy of Saleh Barakat Collection, Beirut.


Shakir Hassan Al Said, Untitled, 1957. Courtesy of Alia and Hussain Harba Collection. Photo Courtesy Edoardo Garis.

An Immersive Experience at The Room
Titled ‘GOOD MORNING GCC,’ this year’s edition of The Room will recreate a live TV show on site, using the tropes of daytime talk shows commonly featured on TV stations across the Arab world as an anchor for the programming. And you’re sure to find something up your alley at the interactive installation, with segments including fashion, cooking and health.

One of the highlights of the immersive experience produced by the he Khaleeji artist collective GCC is palace designer and architect Xavier Cartron talking about the way architecture and the built environment is a manifestation of direct impact on culture (March 21). Plus, you can get some cooking tips from celebrity wedding singer and TV chef Suliman Al Qassar via a live cooking demonstration (March 21). Fair-goers can also attend a lifestyle segment with Sarah Abu Abdullah for her predictions of the present or sit in for an educative lesson on the environment with Dr Sarah Al Ateeqi, the Operation Director of Alshaheed Park Museums (March 22). Additionally, Mohammad Dashti is hosting a beauty segment for perfecting make-up, and you can watch YouTube star Mohammad Diego transform someone from drab to fab (March 24). What’s more, The Ministry of Happiness is leading a Wellbeing segment, while Reiki healer Anfal Al Qaisi is hosting a Holistic Body Works segment (March 25).


'Good Morning GCC,' 2017. Courtesy of the artists


'Good Morning GCC,' 2017. Courtesy of the artists


Portrait of GCC, 2017. Courtesy of the artists

The Sheikhal Manal Little Artists Program
Perhaps the best way to peak your children’s curiosity is by getting them to join a special tailor-made discovery tour. These tours are designed to enable young ones to discover key pieces around the fair. The works become so much more interesting with thematic activity maps and the guides’ storytelling skills.

Additionally, ‘Healing Garden’ is an interactive installation by Japanese-Australian artist Hiromi Tango that invites children to participate in creating a nurturing environment based on local plants and flowers. With the date palm as the focal point of the garden, ‘Healing Garden’ explores the many ways that local plants and flowers can contribute to wellbeing. The workshops and immersive installation will provide hands-on opportunities for children to create and explore the space that is energised through the interplay of light, colours, textures and shapes.


Hiromi Tango, "Fluorescence" installation, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney.


Hiromi Tango, Hiromi Hotel, "Peformance" installation, 2017. Photography Sarah Malone. Courtesy of the artist and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney


Hiromi Tango, "Imaginarium" at Singapore Art Museum, 2017. Courtesy the artist and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney

You can purchase one or three day tickets via www.artdubai.ae. The Ladies Day Preview on March 21 allows women to enter for free (1 p.m. till 4 p.m.)

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