Art Fairs

Art Dubai 2013 – The most globalised of art fairs

Posted March 19th, 2013

Arab World, Art Fairs

Art Dubai, one of the most anticipated events in the global arts calendar, opened to a diverse crowd of artists, curators, collectors, and over 75 visiting international museum groups. Speakers included Antonia Carver, Fair Director, Art Dubai; Murtaza Vali, Guest Curator of the 2013 Abraaj Group Art Prize; Bisi Silva, Guest Curator of this year’s Marker section; and Shumon Basar, Commissioner of the Global Art Forum. Our art scout Jack is in Dubai and promised to send us some photos and updates on Twitter.

With a stellar line-up of international and regional galleries, Art Dubai 2013 builds on its reputation as a fair of discovery. The 2013 edition, which runs from March 20-23, hosts 75 galleries from 30 countries, making it among the most globalised of art fairs. The fair derives its international impact from its regional relevancy; of the over 500 artists showcased at the fair, either through exhibiting galleries or Art Dubai Projects, over half are from the Middle East and South Asia.

Galleries have spent months selecting key works and preparing their booths, including many curated or solo exhibitions; these include the first display of Yayoi Kusama’s work in the Middle East at Victoria Miro (London), a meditation on wealth and the future by Fayçal Baghriche at Campagne Première (Berlin), and, at CRG Gallery (New York), a selection of ground-breaking work by female artists including Louise Bourgeois, Zarina Hashmi, Huma Bhabha and Etal Adnan.

Mohammed Kazem,Window 2011
Mohammed Kazem, Window 2011

Art Dubai attracts leading galleries from across Europe and America, including Yvon Lambert (Paris), Galerie Krinzinger (Vienna), Alexander Gray Associates (New York), Galerie Chantal Carousel (Paris), and Pace (London/Beijing/New York), as well as some of the most influential art spaces from the Middle East, Asia and Africa, such as Platform China (Beijing/Hong Kong), Sfeir-Semler (Beirut/Hamburg), Experimenter (Kolkata), Rodeo (Istanbul), The Third Line (Dubai), Tasveer (Bangalore), and Athr Gallery (Jeddah).
Antonia Carver, Fair Director, Art Dubai said: “Art Dubai’s emergence as a major global art event is representative of Dubai’s growing stature as an international art hub. The international community looks to Dubai as the gateway to the Middle East, as we provide a window into a very fertile regional art scene, while spurring discussions on the inspirations, process and industry involved in the making of art. Our aim in combining exhibition, education and conversation is to build on the current momentum and create a sustainable model that gives participants and visitors a global platform and a local perspective.”

Now in its seventh year, Art Dubai is a unique meeting point for diverse artscenes; as much East meets East as it is East meets West. In a highly anticipated exhibition guest-curated by Murtaza Vali, Art Dubai reveals significant new works by the winners of the 2013 Abraaj Group Art Prize – Vartan Avakian, Iman Issa, Huma Mulji, Hrair Sarkissian and Rayyane Tabet.
The third edition of Marker, the fair’s highly-acclaimed feature section of concept stands, returns to Art Dubai, curated by Lagos-based Bisi Silva and focused on the diverse art scenes across West Africa. Themed around the evolving nature of cities in West Africa, Silva selected five spaces – Centre for Contemporary Art (Lagos, Nigeria); Espace doual’art (Douala, Cameroon); Maison Carpe Diem (Ségou, Mali); Nubuke Foundation (Accra, Ghana); and Raw Material Company (Dakar, Senegal) – to work collaboratively with their artists to produce exhibitions that are located in the fair’s main gallery halls.

Art Dubai 2012 Highlights

The fair’s opening also marks the launch of Sculpture on the Beach, guest-curated by Chus Martinez, Chief Curator of El Museo del Barrio, with works by Chris Burden, Amahiguéré Dolo, Mounir Fatmi, Bita Fayyazi, Vibha Galhotra, Abdoulaye Konaté, Gabriel Kuri, Hassan Sharif, Slavs and Tatars, UBIK and Saddek Wasil on the Mina A’Salam beach.

Art Dubai 2013 features its largest not-for-profit programme to date, including an unprecedented 14 new commissions, artists’ and curators’ residencies, extended children’s art workshops, video and film screenings, a mobile art gallery, and the third edition of the dXb store, an incubating initiative for UAE-based designers and artists.

Chris Burden,Curved Bridge,2003
Chris Burden, Curved Bridge, 2003

The Global Art Forum, the leading platform for cultural discussion and debate, returns to the fair with the theme of ‘Definitionism’. Global Art Forum_7 is curated by Istanbul-based critic HG Masters, commissioned by 2012 Forum Director Shumon Basar, and features commissioned projects and research as well as six days of live talks. The 40-plus contributors include artists, musicians, curators, strategists, writers and thinkers, from the musician André Vida to the artist (and former REM frontman) Michael Stipe to curators Reem Fadda, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Koyo Kouoh. The forum starts in Doha (March 17 -18, 2013) before continuing at Art Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah (March 20-23, 2013). Global Art Forum_7 is presented by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and is co-hosted by Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, with the support of Qatar Museums Authority.

Not Yet Titled, Ramin Haerizadh
Not Yet Titled, Ramin Haerizadh

In 2013, Art Dubai unveils its most extensive line-up of Art Dubai Projects, a not-for-profit programme of new works and performances that explores the fabric and economy of an art fair. A key component is Artists-in-Residence (A.i.R) Dubai, an annual residency run by Art Dubai, Delfina Foundation, Dubai Culture and Tashkeel. A.i.R Dubai opens the door for six artists and a curator interested in developing their practice and creating new works in Dubai. Three of the residency artists and a further eight artists create site-specific works for Art Dubai 2013 as part of the Art Dubai Commissioned Projects. Artists and curators involved in residencies and commissions include Ebtisam Abdulaziz, Ammar Al Attar, Fari Bradley, Dina Danish, Hind Bin Demaithan, Mary Evans, Reem Falaknaz, Shi Jinsong, Mohammed Kazem, Farideh Lashai, Basim Magdy, Joe Namy, Yudi Noor, Ahmet Öğüt, Fatima Al Qadiri, Ehsan Ul Haq, and Bérénice Saliou.

Art Dubai’s 2013 edition of The Hatch, an ordinary stairwell transformed into an intimate space for film and video, is curated by artist Maha Maamoun, co-founder of the Contemporary Image Collective (CiC), Cairo, and features the work of Ali Cherri, Hassan Khan and Anri Sala.

Footballeur by Joseph-Francis Sumégné
Footballeur by Joseph-Francis Sumégné

Art Dubai is committed to nurturing the local art scene through educational initiatives for all ages: from children to university students to emerging artists and arts professionals. In 2013 the fair launches The Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program, an expanded programme for children and teenagers that runs throughout the fair. This set of artist-conceived projects for ages 3-14 includes workshops led by Zid Zid Kids and Discovery Tours throughout the galleries. The programme is held under the patronage and guidance of Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Women’s Establishment, Wife of HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs UAE.

This extended approach to education continues with the founding of Campus Art Dubai, a six-month ‘Saturday School’ for UAE-based artists and curators, which runs until June.
Also for the first time, Art Dubai hosts an exhibition of the winning entries of the Hamdan International Photography Award (HIPA), launched in 2011 under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to support talented photographers in the UAE and internationally.

Visitors can look forward to the dXb store – a pop-up initiative showcasing the innovative work of UAE-based designers and artists with for limited-edition objects, artists’ multiples, jewelry, portable furniture, stationary and clothes. The 2013 dXb store features 36 participants and can be found at select locations across the city throughout Art Week.
In an outreach to a wider audience, Art Dubai 2013 introduces the Mobile Art Gallery (M.A.G), a nomadic gallery that operates from a peripatetic truck. Curated by Isabella Ellaheh Hughes and Angelle Siyang-Le, the travelling gallery showcases contemporary works by UAE-based artists, including Azim Al Ghussein, Shamsa Al Omaira, Rami Farook, Rania Jishi, Karim Mortada, Sharmeen Syed and Sara AlHaddad, and visits different neighborhoods each day.

“We are aiming for broader engagement with the local and international community, both in terms of fuelling interest in the participating artists and galleries as well as in the discussions and debates surrounding the fair. Ancillary concepts such as The Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program and the dXb store, underscore the diversity of our offerings and seek to attract, educate and engage new generations of art enthusiasts,” stated Carver.

Art Dubai opens to the public from 4 pm on Thursday, March 21 with a programme of curator-led tours, children’s workshops and book launches.
For more information and the latest updates, please visit, become a fan of Art Dubai on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @artdubai.

A view back on Art Dubai 2012

In the above video, Savita Apte (Director, Art Dubai), Marc Spiegler (Director, Art Basel), Kourosh Nouri (Owner, Carbon 12 Gallery) and James Clar (Artist, New York) give insight into last year’s fair and surrounding events.

Art Dubai on Vimeo.