Everything You Need To Know About Art Dubai
Everything You Need To Know About Art Dubai

Everything You Need To Know About Art Dubai

In recent years, Dubai has cemented its reputation as a creative hub and at the end of this month, artists, gallerists and buyers will flock to the city for the 17th edition of Art Dubai. Here’s what you need to know about the exhibition and the artists we can’t wait to see there.
Image: RANA BEGUM

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Buhlebezwe Siwani | Izintaba, 2023
Buhlebezwe Siwani | Izintaba, 2023

Courtesy of the artist & Madragoa, Lisbon.

What You Need To Know

Art Dubai 2024 will take place from 1st to 3rd March 2024 at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, with previews taking place on 28th and 29th February. The leading international art fair for the Middle East plays host to more than 100 contemporary, modern and digital presentations drawn from more than 60 cities and over 40 countries. This year, there are 21 presentations by exhibitors from or based in Dubai – the largest number to date – reflecting the continued growth of the city.

Highlights include the third edition of Art Dubai Digital, the only dedicated digital section of any major international art fair; Art Dubai’s emerging gallery section Bawwaba (meaning ‘gateway’ in Arabic), which will feature a highly curated series of solo artist presentations on the theme of healing; and Art Dubai Modern, which will focus on work by leading artists from the region who participated in cultural exchanges with the Soviet Union after 1960.

A Global Outlook

This year, the theme focuses on expanding the definition of the ‘Global South’, emphasising the shared histories and distinct narratives of communities worldwide, from Delhi, Tehran and Cairo to Bogotá and Guatemala City, as well as diasporic and migrant histories from global centres like London, Paris and New York. Through this exhibition, Art Dubai has sought to reflect Dubai’s diverse global communities, identities and cultures, and this year welcomes more exhibitors than ever who are based in Dubai. From modern Arab masters to cutting-edge contemporary and new media and digital art, the selection shows how vibrant the United Arab Emirates’ art scene is. 

Art Dubai’s artistic director, Pablo del Val, explains: “This year’s exhibitor list clearly demonstrates the continued growth of Dubai’s art scene, the importance of commercial platforms for digital and new media art, and our ongoing commitment to scholarship and under-explored art histories. More than an art fair, we are proud to be a meeting place for these communities, to offer pathways for emerging and younger galleries representing a broad geographic spectrum, and to hold up mirror to the myriad communities who are contributing to the continued growth of Dubai as both a global city, and capital of the Global South.”

Aref El Rayess | Untitled Deserts series, 1988
Aref El Rayess | Untitled Deserts series, 1988

Courtesy of the estate of the artist & Sfeir-Semler Gallery Beirut/Hamburg

Cutting-Edge Art

A newly commissioned digital installation by Canadian-Korean artist Krista Kim, Heart Space القلب مساحة is an immersive experience that will allow guests to connect with one another through the universal language of the human heartbeat. In real-time, each visitor’s unique heart rhythm will be visualised through hypnotic patterns and meditative shapes displayed across a dynamic LED canvas, shifting to reflect each new guest’s energy. The installation puts forward the concept of ‘oneness’ where participants come together to create a social fabric harnessing the power of art and technology. Kim has a clear aim - to amplify AI technology’s power to reconnect where social media algorithms have fractured. “As individuals participate, I hope each participant feels inspired in their singular beauty yet leaves appreciating a greater whole,” she says.

Sougwen Chung | Hylomorphism VIII, 2023
Sougwen Chung | Hylomorphism VIII, 2023

Courtesy of HOFA Gallery & Artist

Thought-Provoking Talks

In the 21st century, extreme weather – from floods, droughts and storms to smog – affects countries everywhere. Meanwhile, the threat of extinction calls for urgent innovation and action. Over two days, Art Dubai’s flagship transdisciplinary summit, the Global Art Forum, will present the cultures, technologies, sciences and initiatives around extreme weather and extreme change with many of the world's most compelling artists, architects, academics, curators, and thinkers. Entitled ‘Whether or Not’, Global Art Forum 17 will host an array of talks over two days to explore the world’s challenges and the potential solutions.

Utkarsh Makwana | Dawn, 2020
Utkarsh Makwana | Dawn, 2020

Courtesy of artist & Akara Contemporary

Taking Art Beyond 

Talks, workshops and events will take place over the five days of the fair, but going beyond this is a commitment to education. Now in its fourth year, the Children’s Programme reaches 15,000 students in over 100 schools across all seven Emirates. Goa-based artist Sahil Naik is heading up this year’s programme and his sculptural and architectural practice will take participants on a journey through creation using dioramas, memory and the built environment as sources of inspiration. Centring on themes of ecology and nature, these workshops will invite children to explore the central question: “How do younger generations imagine future cities, and what they will comprise?” 

On site, the fair will continue to run Campus Art Dubai (CAD) a professional development and traineeship programme aimed at nurturing emerging talent and future cultural leaders. The initiative is designed to provide recent graduates with mentorship, masterclasses and hands-on experience across diverse departments. Additionally, participants will benefit from curated tours of leading cultural organisations in the city, providing practical insights and a clear pathway for them to enter and thrive within the dynamic art scene.

Rana Begum
Rana Begum
Sara Naim
Sara Naim

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