The leading international art fair in the Middle East and South Asia Art Dubai has opened featuring more than 500 artists from 35 different countries.
Contemporary art in an array of media from paintings to various digital platforms adorn the walls, floors, ceilings and even the bathrooms at this year’s event. It highlights select artists with specially commissioned projects and a series of talks, live installations and edgy films.
“Art Dubai is the biggest international art fair that takes place in the Middle East and South Asia. But it’s also a place where the world’s biggest galleries from Europe and America come to the region; this is their point of contact with the Middle East and with South Asia. We see, every year, museum directors, curators, art world professionals from all of the world pour into Dubai, and this has become their hub. We look to connect with regions that have already a strong relationship with Dubai and with the Gulf and also look at regions where we find the artists particularly dynamic, very exciting art scenes, but rarely seen on the international stage,” said the fair’s director Antonia Carver.
Alongside the Contemporary and Modern sections is the so-called ‘Marker’ section. This year, its spotlight is on artists from Central Asia and the Caucasus, highlighting the organisers’ wish to broaden the fair’s geographical reach, in line with Dubai’s expansion as a commercial hub.
Art-East is an artists’ collective from Kyrgyzstan.
“We represent the artists’ organisation Art-East here. For our organisation, it means a lot because we haven’t any big art market in our country, that’s why to be represented here is quite a big success. There will be a lot of panel discussion here and it’s a good way to meet intellectuals and friends,” explained Kyrgyz artist Muratbek Djumaliev.
Besides the gallery halls, the fair’s extensive programme includes commissioned projects and performances, residencies for artists and curators, as well as an exhibition of new works by winners of the annual Abraaj Group Art Prize.
“What emerges here at Art Dubai is the identity of a city that sees itself as cosmopolitan. And to those who argue that the only common language is that of business, the answer is that city-states often successfully manage to combine art and trade,” concluded euronews’ Dubai correspondent, François Chignac.