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Dubai Art Week 2016: Our Top Picks from Instagram

​- By Sophie Arni

Welcome to Dubai's annual Art Week! March 14-24th, 2016 saw art events happening at all corners of the thriving, cosmopolitan, ambitious, 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.

​ 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 Gallery.

​ 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.

​ 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 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.

Sophie Arni, March 2016, Dubai. All of the images are reproductions and installation views found on instagram. Courtesy of each user's account.

#unitedarabemirates #middleeast

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