Art Dubai 2014

FLAG II Artist byTimo Nasseri (2006) | Epoxy resin, enamel | Courtesy: the artist and SCHLEICHER/LANGE, Berlin | Dimension: 98 x 185 x 20 cm

FLAG II Artist byTimo Nasseri (2006) | Epoxy resin, enamel | Courtesy: the artist and SCHLEICHER/LANGE, Berlin | Dimension: 98 x 185 x 20 cm

The eighth edition of Art Dubai is on from 19th-22nd March in Madinat Jumeriah Arena and Mina Salaam Hotel which is right next to the arena. This year's edition includes a packed schedule of events, talks and new programming. 

I attended the press conference this morning and here's what you can expect. 


Cinema Opera (Cairo Billboards) by Lucien Samaha (1984) - Archival pigment print | Courtesy : Courtesy of the artist and Lombard Freid Gallery, New York | Dimension : 76.2 x 111.8 cm

Art Dubai’s Contemporary halls feature a diverse selection of over 70 galleries—from the world’s most established to dynamic young artspaces across 30 countries.

An international fair with its roots in the Gulf, Art Dubai features painting, sculpture, installation, photography and video by more than 500 artists. 




One Summer Afternoon by Rasheed Araeen (1968) | Painted wood | Courtesy of Grosvenor Gallery | Dimension : 74x50.5x51cm (max); 33.5x24x24.5cm (min)

New in 2014, Art Dubai Modern is devoted to Middle Eastern and South Asian art from the 20th century; the programme includes 11 galleries presenting solo and two-person shows of influential modern masters, plus research projects, talks and tours.

Art Dubai Modern is advised by a curatorial committee of eminent curators and historians: Savita Apte, Catherine David, Kristine Khouri and Nada Shabout.  



Baikonur 2 (Байконур 2) by Sergey Maslov (1990) | Installation, computer collage, sound projection and text | Courtesy of Asia Art+

Marker is Art Dubai’s curated, thematic programme of emerging artspaces. Following last year’s spotlight on West Africa, Marker 2014 looks to Central Asia and the Caucasus and is curated by the artists Slavs and Tatars.

Through the scope of portraiture, the works celebrate the complexities of faith, identity and language in these regions and their immediate relevance not only to the Muslim world, but to a global audience.

The programme is accompanied by a set of new artists’ books published by onestar press and daily talks and tours. 


Global Art Forum_8

Featuring commissioned projects and research, as well as live talks, the Global Art Forum brings together a diverse line-up of participants, including artists, curators, musicians, strategists, thinkers and writers.

Titled "Meanwhile...History", the Global Art Forum 2014 creates a timeline of turning points in history – significant decades, years, days, minutes or seconds that shifted an understanding of the world.

Commissioned by Shumon Basar with co- directors Omar Berrada and Ala Younis, the Forum is a journey through known and unknown histories, of critical change and secretly seismic moments.

The Global Art Forum runs over 5 days at Katara Art Center, Doha, March 15-16 and at Art Dubai, Mina A’ Salam, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, March 19-21, 2014. 

I've said this before and will say it again, the Global Art Forum is my favourite part of Art Dubai and although I didn't really like last year's edition, I am looking forward to this year's theme. Also happy to say I'm one of the contributors this year (I have a video that will be presented during the last talk on Friday, 21st March titled "Meanwhile … Meanwhile: Lapses in Time and Narrative"). You can see the full schedule here

At the press conference, Shumon Basar, Global Art Forum commissioner, said this which made me laugh and explains why I love the Global Art Forum, “It’s not a conference, it’s not TED 'x,' ‘y’ or ‘z’. It’s not a wedding speech, you won’t see any wedding furniture, although people have been known to fall in love during the Global Art Forum.”

And he also said the following in a recent interview on which sums up why I think the Global Art Forum is unique and special and what makes Art Dubai not your typical art fair. 

In 2012 we effectively 'rebooted' the franchise, to borrow a favourite Hollywood term, which is to say: we decided that the Forum ought to have a greater autonomy than it had up till then. So, we emancipated the content. It no longer deals exclusively with art and indeed is almost libidinally liberated from disquisitions on the art market (which may seem strange, given our fraternal link to Art Dubai, an art fair).

Secondly, we reinvented the form of the forum: it became more like a media production than a conference. We commission artists to make video blips between the sessions; Fatima Al Qadiri composed a soundtrack to inaugurate each forum day last year; there is a publishing initiative called Globe Books; and there have been more musical performances – such an Andre Vida in Doha or Hassan Khan in Dubai in 2013. The forum elects a theme each year – such as media, definitions and now elided history – and builds a sort of temporary university/TV station around it. The stage feels like a chat show rather than an academic conference or awkward Greek wedding. That's very different to what still happens at most art fair programmes (not in any way to demean them. We have yet to attract Kanye West, for example).




Film still from Shezad Dawood's Towards the Possible Film

Art Dubai, Dubai International Film Festival and Sharjah Art Foundation have collaborated to launch Moving Images, a new partnership committed to exploring the shared space between art and cinema. The programme takes contemporary art and film in the Arab world as its focus, and explores mutual territory through discussion programmes and screenings.

Having launched last December at the Dubai International Film Festival, Moving Images continues in March at the Sharjah Art Foundation and Art Dubai, and throughout the year across the UAE.  

Line up of films that will be screened during Art Dubai

Shezad Dawood
Towards the Possible Film
2014, 20’
(Screening all day on 18th, 20th, 22nd March in Madinat Jumeriah Arena) 

Taus Makhacheva
A Space of Celebration
2009, 16’10”
(Screening all day on 18th, 19th, 21st March in Madinat Jumeirah Arena) 

John Akomfrah
The Stuart Hall Project
2013, 103’
(Screening on 22nd March at 8.30pm in Mirage City Cinema, Sharjah)


The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2014


Background by Hrair Sarkissian, one of the Abraaj Group Art Prize 2013 winners

Founded in 2009, The Abraaj Group Art Prize is the only prize in the Middle East and South Asia that awards artists on the basis of submitted project proposals. The five selected artists work with a guest curator; their completed works are revealed in a special exhibition at Art Dubai.

Winners of The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2014 are Abbas Akhavan, Kamrooz Aram, Bouchra Khalili, Basim Magdy and Anup Mathew Thomas. The 2014 Guest Curator is Nada Raza. 


Around and beyond Art Dubai

A.i.R Dubai

Art Dubai, Delfina Foundation, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and Tashkeel, Artists-in-Residence (A.i.R) Dubai is a residency programme that annually offers five artists and a curator the opportunity to be based in Dubai, in the lead-up to and during March. The three- month residencies culminate in an Open Studios exhibition at Sikka as well as commissioned projects at Art Dubai.

This year’s A.i.R artists are Nadia Ayari, Sunoj D, Sara Al Haddad, Maitha bin Demithan and Maryam Al Qassimi; the curator’s residency was awarded to İpek Ulusoy Akgül.  


Art Dubai’s week-long dedicated radio station features interviews with local and international artists and curators, plus sound projects, disseminated via a live radio web-stream. London-based radio producer and presenter Fari Bradley, of radio station Six Pillars, returns to host the show at the fair. 

The Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program

A set of artist-conceived projects for children aged 3-14, this children’s programme includes workshops, Discovery Tours of the gallery halls, as well as activity and sketch books created and designed by UAE-based artists.

The programme is held under the patronage and guidance of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Women’s Establishment, Wife of HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs UAE. 

Art Dubai Projects

Art Dubai Projects is a not-for-profit programme of new commissions by established and upcoming artists that explores the fabric of the art fair and of its home in the UAE.

Curated in 2014 by Fawz Kabra, the programme invites artists to intervene in all areas of the fair–from its print material to the terraces onsite–and features installation, drawing, painting, performance and sculpture.

Artists selected for Art Dubai Projects 2014 include Nadia Ayari, Youmna Chlala, Clark House Initiative, Sunoj D, Maitha Demithan, Sara Al Haddad, Shuruq Harb, Najat Makki, Amina Menia, Maryam Al Qassimi, Mounira Al Solh and Hajra Waheed.