When you look back at Dubai’s art events over the past year, it would be fair to say that a few mountains have been climbed.
From March 21 to 24, the city put on the biggest show of the year, Art Dubai, welcoming more than 20,000 visitors from the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe.
Over the last five years, Art Dubai, the leading international art fair in the MENASA (Middle East/North Africa/South Asia), has become a cornerstone of the region’s booming contemporary art community.
In 2011, Art Dubai welcomed 20,000 visitors – including 60 international museums groups – and hosted over 70 galleries from 30 countries.
The sixth edition of Art Dubai took place March 21-24, 2012, at Madinat Jumeirah, and features 75 galleries from 32 countries, in addition to a new programme of artists’ and curators’ residencies, commissioned projects, performative tours, workshops, the unveiling of the works by Abraaj Capital Art Prize winners and the critically acclaimed Global Art Forum.
The fair is held under the Patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, and is run as a joint venture between the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Middle East Fairs Ltd.
Art Dubai is part of Art Week, the umbrella initiative that includes Sikka Art Fair (organised by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, and taking place in Al Bastakiya, March 15-25), Design Days Dubai, and a range of contemporary art and design events, major museum shows, and new gallery exhibitions and artists’ projects, taking place each March. Art Week positions the Gulf as a place of artistic production and home to multiple cultural centres.
‘We have a real embarrassment of riches this year,’ says Art Dubai director Antonia Carver. ‘Our roster of projects involve over 40 artists and span site-specific installations, sound projects, fortune cookies and easy listening tunes. Plus this year’s discussion-based Global Art Forum features 50 speakers and takes in literature, film, journalism, and politics, as well as art.’ Here we sift out the essential tours and galleries to see day by day – as well as provide a handy guide to art terminology to help you talk the talk.
Founded in 2008, Cuadro Fine Art Gallery, located in the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), has quickly become one of the UAE’s premier contemporary and modern art venues.
Each year, Cuadro assembles a substantial curatorial program in four distinct visual areas of interest: Painting, Paper, Photography, and Sculpture. Each exhibition centers on a significant educational paradigm that is accompanied with lectures, workshops and panel discussions.
In addition, Cuadro provides qualified art consultation services for its discerning collectors, offers an international platform for its stable of artists, and administers an extensive Residency Program for a select group of artists.
Through these initiatives, Cuadro maintains its commitment to dynamically engage and add value to the local and international art communities.
Opera Gallery opened its doors in Singapore in 1994 at the initiative of Gilles Dyan. Today, the team boasts more than 35 individuals from all walks of life, all sharing the same life-time passion: art in general and contemporary art, in particular. A passion that they strive to communicate to connoisseurs and novices alike. A passion that knows no boundaries: indeed, Opera Gallery is present in all of the world’s major art capitals: Paris (1994), New York (2000), Miami (2003), Hong Kong (2004) and London (2005). And before 2009, five new Opera Gallery locations will be opening their doors.
While providing the perfect showcase for the works of the Great Masters such as Picasso, Buffet, Dali, Gauguin, Miro, Braque and Chagall, Opera Gallery also devotes itself, early on, to promoting new artistic talent. Opera Gallery has always supported young artists who have gone on to achieve international recognition. Moreover, Opera Gallery continues to scout out new European, Asian and American talent. Photography, painting, sketches, sculpture, video creations…all existing art forms are expressed by artists from every continent.
The Farjam Collection @ DIFC showcases a rotating series of exhibitions drawn from The Farjam Collection. A range of educational programmes, free and open to the public, offers audiences the opportunity to learn more about the works on view and the context in which these were produced.
Join us for First Wednesdays, our series of lunch-time guided tours, or visit the exhibition late in the evening at one of our monthly Art Nights. For regular updates on our exhibitions, events and programmes, explore our website or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
All exhibitions and programmes are free and open to the public.
The Farjam Collection @ DIFC is generously supported by The Hafiz Foundation.
Etemad Art Gallery in Dubai expands on the gallery’s vision to celebrate the Middle East as a global leader, at the forefront of cultural production and exchange. One of the largest galleries in Dubai, Etemad’s lavish 10,000 ft2 converted warehouse space is located at Al Serkal Avenue, in the Al Quoz industrial district of the city. The Etemad Art Gallery’s minimalist architecture is specially designed to showcase museum quality works by renowned international emerging and established artists.
Founded in 2011 by William Lawrie, former Director of Contemporary Middle Eastern art at Christie’s auction house, and Asmaa Al-Shabibi, former Managing Director of the art fair, Art Dubai, Lawrie Shabibi is a contemporary art gallery housed in a 3000 square foot warehouse in Dubai’s Al-Quoz industrial area.
Focus of Lawrie Shabibi is to promote contemporary art from the Middle East, North Africa, South and Central Asia regionally and internationally, and to serve as a platform for both emerging and established artists from this region and its diaspora.
Lawrie Shabibi engages the public with artists whose works impart a cultural and political discourse, a powerful aesthetic and a hint of the poetic.