Art Dubai 2013

Otobong Nkanga, Why don’t you grow where we come from? (2012) Woven textile and Photography, inkjet print / Viscose, cashmere wool, mohair, bio cotton and laser cut forex plate. Image courtesy the artist and Lumen Travo Gallery.

The seventh edition of Art Dubai is back this week from 20th-23rd March at the Madinat Jumeirah. This year's edition will host 75 galleries from 30 countries, over half are from the Middle East and South Asia.  

But as I said before, I'm always more excited about the commissioned projects, talks and performances that take place during Art Dubai. You can see the complete programme here

Here are my top picks: 

Sculpture on the Beach 

Hassan Sharif, Weave 2, 2012 (Medium: aluminium, copper wire). Image courtesy of the artist and Alexander Gray Associates

Sculpture on the Beach is a new addition to Art Dubai, it's an exhibition of sculptural and large-scale works by 11 artists curated by Chus Martinez, Chief curator of El Museo del Barrio, formerly Documenta 13’s Head of Department. This exhibition will be located on the Mina A’Salam beach (a five-minute walk from the gallery halls and adjacent to the Art Dubai Beach Brasserie).

The Hatch

Ali Cherri, Slippage, Still from DV Video, 2007. Image courtesy of Ali Cherri.

The Hatch returns this year with a programme curated by artist Maha Maamoun, founding board-member of the Contemporary Image Collective (CiC), Cairo.This year's programme will feature work by three artists: Ali Cherri, Hassan Khan, and Anri Sala.

From proposals sent by Art Dubai participating galleries, Maamoun selected the artists based on the strength and singularity of their work. This disparate grouping of films is tangentially linked by how they pick at nerves, words and chords: a musical score recalls a musical score, or drowns out every other sound, echoing a rising tension, and short-circuiting a conversation; a conversation cancels out all other audible sound and fleshes out the minutiae of daily interpersonal power games; and power will try to subvert a city, a body, an image, or a radio-transmission of Fairuz singing.

Commissioned Projects Joe Namy

Image via Delfina Foundation

There are several commissioned projects for Art Dubai this year, you can see the full list here, but I am really looking forward to the following projects: 

Joe Namy

Namy has spent part of his three-month residency in Dubai researching traditional song and dance, once used for ritual healing, and unique to the UAE.

Namy’s performance, entitled Transfiguration, draws upon the parallels between these ritual dances and their rhythmic connections to contemporary electronic music. 

Transfiguration will be presented as a multi-media installation including a live performance at Art Dubai on Wednesday 20 March at 7PM on the Water Terrace.

Ahmet Öğüt

Intern VIP lounge will be an exclusive space for all the unpaid interns working at the art fair. Only these volunteers, after registering at the Intern VIP Lounge's information desk, will be able to access the lounge – an exclusive space that not only provides a relaxed and entertaining ambience, but also operates as a knowledge exchange space, with a special programme of events, including meetings, presentations and film screenings.

Global Art Forum_7


Global Art Forum_6, 2012

Global Art Forum is back this year with a diverse line-up of participants, including artists, curators, musicians, strategists, thinkers and writers. This year's edition is entitled ‘It Means This’, directed by Istanbul based writer/editor HG Masters, and commissioned by writer/curator Shumon Basar.

‘It Means This’ will explore the concept of ‘definitionism’: investigating the words, terms, clichés and misunderstandings that proliferate in the art world and beyond. The Forum attempts to (re)define words, phrases and ideas we think we know, and those we need to know, to navigate the 21st century. 

Each session or element of the Forum will take on a keyword; some are terms we use every day – such as Heritage, Biography, Freezone, Score and Place (looking particularly at how the cities Lagos and Ramallah having been shaped by writers and artists).

Other terms may be less familiar – including Academese, Advert Adverts, Drone Fiction, MENA (Middle East Nervous Anxiety), or Neologism. The eclectic line-up of Forum contributors are set to pick apart these terms through talks, debates, performances, TV clips, new publications, films, music, and so much more.

This year's forum will feature over 40 contributors, including:

New participants:

Dubai-based political scientist Dr. Abdulkhaleq Abdulla; poet and authorMourid Barghouti (I Saw Ramallah, among other books); artist and former REM lead singer Michael Stipe; writer-editors Charles Arsene-HenryBrian Kuan Wood (Editor, eflux journal) and Guy Mannes-Abbott (author, In Ramallah, Running); artists Tarek AtouiTristan BeraManal Al DowayanDominique Gonzalez-FoersterShuruq HarbHassan KhanEmeka OgbohSlavs and TatarsAla Younis; writers Elif Batuman (contributor, New Yorker), Maryam Monalisa Gharavi (Editor-at-Large, The New Inquiry), Oscar Guardiola-Rivera (author ofWhat if Latin America Ruled the World?); Lagos-based writer-editor Tolu Ogunlesi; writer/urbanist Keller Easterling (Professor, Yale University); curator-translator, and Dar Al-Ma’mun co-director, Omar Berrada; curators Reem Fadda (Associate Curator, Middle Eastern Art, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Project, and curator, National Pavilion for the UAE at the Venice Biennial), Koyo Kouoh (director, Raw Material Company, Dakar), Bisi Silva (director, CCA Lagos) and Tirdad Zolghadr (writer, based at Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College NY); New York-based anthropologist Uzma Z. Rizvi; composer and musician Andre Vida; and Doha-based analyst and commentator Tarik Yousef.

Returning participants:

Writer and artist Douglas Coupland; curator Lara Khaldi (Director, Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre, Ramallah); geostrategist and Director of Hybrid Reality Institute Parag Khanna; Turi Munthe, the founder of ‘citizen journalist’ newswire Demotix; Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects of the Serpentine Gallery, London, Hans-Ulrich Obrist; and the founder of Barjeel Art Foundation Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi.

Here are highlights from Art Dubai 2012. Don't miss this year's edition. I plan to be there everyday, so if you are around, come and say hello.