Welcome to Dubai's annual Art Week!
March 14-24th, 2016 saw art events happening at all corners of the
thriving, cosmopolitan, ambitious, heavily capitalistic Dubai. From the
local Sikka art fair to the glitz and glam of Dubai's Madinat Jumeirah's
mega fair, Global Art Daily decided to cover the occasion through looking
at Instagram photos with the hashtag #artdubai2016. Here are our findings.
The star of the fair (one of the most instagrammed artwork): Youssef
Nabil's I Saved my Belly Dancer series photographs at the Third Line
Gallery (Dubai). The Egyptian photographer featured Salma Hayek as the
bellydancer, and men dressed in kunduras in heavily saturated staged
photography works that speak of femininity in Arab culture. Perhaps a tad
bit too commercial.
Another comment: El Anatsui isn't the only artist using bottle caps these days.
#sprite #softdrink #pepsi #fanta
Two common names to find at the art fairs of the United Arab Emirates:
Farhad Moshiri, who I like to call the Iranian Jeff Koons and Rajni
Perera, Sri Lankan artist represented by Colombo-based Saksi Fernando
Talking about Silk Road-Hybrid-Contemporary-Art (SRHCA for short) - don't
you just love this photoshopped miniature? Dragon-ball Z meets Shahnameh
- a beautiful work by Turkish artist Murat Palta.
And then of course, you find the usual Insta-friendly light-art spotted
at any and every art fair.
Also at every art fair these days: some kind of mirror work, especially
from the trendy Anish Kapoor.
A nice addition to Global Art. African-American artist Kehinde Wiley, a
sensation in New York City for the past year, has joined the ranks of
racially-aware pattern-making Post-naissance art at Art Dubai.
Sikka Art Fair
Running in parallel to Dubai Art Fair, Sikka was set off in an older part of Dubai.
Showcasing local talents at affordable prices, this fair was a real breath of fresh air
and a beautiful symbol that the art scene is truly evolving and
establishing itself locally.
The other 'place-to-be' was Alserkal Avenue, home to Dubai's Contemporary
Art galleries. Filled with exhibitions, film screening, opening events
all year long, Alserkal Avenue did not miss the star-filled Art Week to
open up its galleries to VIP tours, book signing and other types of
events. A new addition to Alserkal Avenue (2016): Leila Heller, who has
her eponymous gallery in Chelsea (NYC), decided to open her second branch
in Dubai. An interesting coming-back-home story as she was the first
gallerist to show Contemporary Arab Artists in NYC.
Abraaj Group Art Prize
The Abraaj Prize is regarded as one of the highest prizes an artist (or
curator) from the UAE, and broadly speaking, from the Middle East can
expect to win. The quality of jury and participants make this annual
prize an important patron for cutting-edge, conceptually innovative,
intelligent and technically impressive art from this region. The winner
this year was duo Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme. My favorite, the
runner-up Mahmoud Khaled.