Art Dubai 2011

It's here folks, a week of art talks, events, exhibitions is upon us. Besides the 81 galleries from 34 countries taking part in Art Dubai, there's an extensive schedule of talks and events happening at the same time. If like me, you are more interested in the talks, events (and even the parties), don't miss out on the following:

Bidoun Projects' Art Park

Art Park is an underground (literally) project space for film, video and talks curated by


. This year's theme is Sports -  looking at competition, stardom, the parody of sports as labor or labor as sports, the art of losing, and sports per se.

The program also includes retrospectives of the work of two pivotal Egyptian artists, Sherif El-Azma and Wael Shawky, curated by Bidoun’s Kaelen Wilson-Goldie and Sarah Rifky of the Townhouse Gallery, respectively, as well as a sports-themed video programme featuring a variety of artists including Ziad Antar, Mahmoud Hojeij, Van Leo, and Marwa and Mirene Arsenios.

A big hit from last year, The Bidoun Library returns this year, featuring ‘The Natural Order,’ a new section specially curated for Art Dubai that focuses on printed material on the Gulf from the past five decades. It will include corporate and state publications, as well as magazines and lay-ethnography on the Gulf published in the mid 20th century, when the region was mostly unfamiliar in the West and was becoming a source of great interest with the discovery of oil. One of the talks related to the Bidoun Library that I'm looking forward to is the brilliantly titled "The Natural Order: How to find and read bad books about the Gulf and beyond" by Babak Radboy, Bidoun's Art Director.

Another great title in the Art Park program is a performance called "Going Over: The Social Dimensions of Men's Hair-Styling in Kuwait and Beyond" a lecture presented by Fatima Al Qadiri and Khalid Al Gharaballi, commissioned by DIS magazine and Bidoun Projects

A personal favourite from last year, the collective Slavs and Tatars  will also make a special appearance with a new project and publication dedicated to Molla Nasreddin.


Monobrow Manifesto - Slavs and Tatars

The Big Idea co-presentd by yours truly along with Bidoun Projects' Alia Al Sabi will feature presentations by UAE-based artists and designers, speakers include:

  1. Promise of a Generation: The Accidental Majlis
  2. Butheina Kathem: Re-imagining media: On the role of media in the Arab world
  3. Khalid Mezaina: A Krossbreed Experience: On the journey of creating a contemporary, culturally infused design brand with an unconventional flare.
  4. Clint McLean: The Girl Who Married a Snake
  5. Reem Falaknaz: Community Narratives
  6. Aya Atou: We Got Away With All of It: An exploration of site-specific city and public art in Dubai
  7. Olivier Auroy: “bq”- hip and pious: the first burqa-inspired sunglasses made in the Gulf
  8. Tima Ouzden: DXB Store at Art Dubai
  9. Silvia Natale: Theory of Knowledge in Art

More details about the Art Park program can be found here and the detailed schedule can be found here

Gulf Art Forum

The Global Art Forum focuses on key issues that bring together the arts scenes of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region with the rest of the world. Celebrating its 5th edition in 2011, the forum is put together by a curatorial committee that is chaired by Shumon Basar and includes Tirdad Zolghadr, Antonia Carver and Claudia Cellini, and focuses broadly on the theme of Changing Audiences. Specific strands – explored through keynotes, panels, workshops, conversations and performances – look at the mutual sympathies between fashion and art, and how artists see their role in relation to new audiences. 

Detailed information and schedule can be found here.

DXB Store 

DXB Store is a pop-up concept store is a new addition to this year's fair. A not-for-profit space featuring a collection of limited edition products and artist's multiples that are designed, made and sold in the UAE. Highlighting the innovative work of UAE-based artists and designers the collection will include newly commissioned objects as well as existing ranges, most unavailable commercially.

I'm glad (and honored) to say I'm one of the commissioned artists (I have a set of limited edition of postcard books on sale), along with with the following artists and designers: Alia Al Shamsi, Lamya Gargash, Diana Hawatmeh, Raad Haider, Maisoon Al Saleh, The Khatt Foundation, Fadi Sareddine & LOCAL, Khalid Mezaina, Aljoud Lootah, Manabu Ozawa, FN, Loreta Bilinskaite-Monie, OTT, Dinz, Khawla Darwish, Tima Ouzden, Leena Saoub, Rami Farook and Essa.

Around Dubai by Hind Mezaina (yay!)