Global Art Forum 10 - DAY 1: THE FUTURE WAS: DUBAI

Image courtesy of: Abu Dhabi Media - Al Ittihad Newspaper

Art Dubai turns 10 this year. The fair will take place between 16th-19th March 2016, but leading up to it there are a couple of scheduled events.

Saturday, 9th January, Global Art Forum 10 will launch its first session DAY 1: THE FUTURE WAS: DUBAI at Hai 3 in Dubai Design District, and a second sesison on Saturday, 14th January, DAY 2: THE FUTURE WAS: LONDON on14th January in London at the ICA

For those not familiar with the Global Art Forum, it takes place every year during Art Dubai, it brings together a diverse line-up of artists, curators, musicians, strategists, thinkers and writers to present and debate ideas around a curated theme. This is my favourite part of Art Dubai and the main reason I attend the fair.

The theme for the 10th edition of the Global Art Forum is "THE FUTURE WAS", it will "explore the ways in which artists, writers, technologists, historians, musicians and thinkers have imagined, and are shaping, the future".

The session on 9th January will run from 6.00 pm - 8.00 pm, is open to the public and free to attend.

The session on 14th January will run from 6.15 pm 9 8.00pm and costs £7.00 to £10.00. You can book here to attend the session in London.

Here's the line up of talks on DAY 1: THE FUTURE WAS: DUBAI

Introduction and welcome - THE FUTURE WAS

Still from Sophia Al-Maria, A Whale Is A Whale Is A Whale, 2014 Courtesy of Third Line Gallery

Amal Khalaf (Artist, researcher, curator and Global Art Forum 10 Co-Director), Uzma Z. Rizvi (Associate Professor of Anthropology and Urban Studies, Pratt Institute of Art and Design and Global Art Forum 10 Co-Director) and Shumon Basar (Writer and Global Art Forum 10 Commissioner)



Farah Al-Nakib, Kristine Khouri, Ala Younis, Sulayman Al Bassam, Global Art Forum 8, 2014

What did the future look like in the mid-2000s? In the Mid-East? Why did a talks program at a new regional art fair decide to be “global” and a “forum”? Art Dubai’s Director, Antonia Carver, and the Global Art Forum’s Commissioner, Shumon Basar, introduce the evening by traveling ten years in ten minutes.


Antonia Carver (Director, Art Dubai) and Shumon Basar (Writer and Global Art Forum 10 Commissioner)


Image via

To commemorate the golden jubilee of the founding of the United Arab Emirates in 2021 the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai will be launching a probe to Mars. The Red Planet probe named Al Amal (Hope) is the first space program ever launched by an Arab state and marks a milestone in the nation’s history.

As part of Global Art Forum 10 held under the theme The Future Was the team behind the Mars probe will for the first time be discussing live the hold ‘space’ has over our imaginations, globally, and the way that space travel is associated with national ambition.

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi (UAE commentator and Founder of Barjeel Art Foundation), Sarah Amiri (Deputy Project Manager for Science & Science Lead, Emirates Mars Mission, Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre), Ibrahim Hamza Al Qasimi (Head of Strategic Research, Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology) and Saeed Al Gergawi (Strategic Researcher, Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre)


Flying Saucer, c. 1980s, photo by Gerard Reymond

The Flying Saucer Roundabout is one of the most beloved landmarks in Shajrah. The Sharjah Art Foundation is currently engaged in a research project related to this part of the built environment. In this conversation, Hoor Al Qasimi and Murtaza Vali talk through the memories, nostalgia, heritage, and futuristic design of the Flying Saucer Roundabout in Sharjah.

Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi (President, Sharjah Art Foundation) and Murtaza Vali (Critic, curator, editor and Visiting Instructor at the Pratt Institute of Art and Design)

Performative Presentation - THE FUTURE WAS UNDERWATER 

Hasan Hujairi (image via

What happens when islanders stop looking out to sea and instead look back in land? What are the cultural effects of a changing coastline? In this audio-visual performance, artist Hasan Hujairi introduces us to fidjeri songs or ‘sea music’.

Featuring samples of fidjeri songs, traditionally sung by pearl diving communities in the Gulf, and consisting of an all-male chorus and solo singer with minimal percussion, the performance will also feature video archive of early fidjeri performances and the changing coastline of Bahrain.

This performance follows a conversation between Hujairi and Amal Khalaf as they trace the resonances of fidjeri featuring anecdotes of the myth of the origin of the music form, its close links to zaar music, how Concorde effected music production on the island and the effects of land reclamation on Bahraini culture.    

Amal Khalaf (Artist, researcher, curator and Global Art Forum 10 Co-Director) and Hasan Hujairi (Composer, sound artist and researcher)



Image via Art Dubai

If you drove down Dubai’s arterial highway, Sheikh Zayed Road, in 2006, you’d see the largest number of continuously running adjacent billboards in the world. Each one promised a brilliant, bright future under brilliant, bright skies.

Hoards of hijabi and hipster inhabitants in jaw-locked joy. Photoshop Utopias of the better beyond. WTD collate the most iconic and most telling of these real estate image manifestoes.


WTD (UAE-based Magazine)


Event details
Date: Saturday, 9th January 2016, 6:00pm–8:00pm
Venue: Dubai Design District, Hai d3 (location map)
Free and open to the public. To register your interest, email your full name to

Date: Saturday, 14th January 2016, 6:15pm–8:00pm
Venue: ICA, London
Ticking details and complete information can be found here