Wear your trainers and stroll the exhibition halls of Art Dubai to view works of art, and hobnob with the people who made them from March 16 to 18.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Art Dubai it is an international art fair with roots in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. It has also become the hub of what is now known as Art Season – with galleries all over town putting on their best exhibitions as well as several other fringe events taking place for those who want to seek out the cultural veins of the city.
SIX THINGS TO SEE AND DO AT ART DUBAI
For the techno geek
In the 21st century world, art is no longer simply paint on canvas, sculpture, drawing or even installation. It now completely embraces cutting-edge technology in all its facets. One of the best examples of this is TeamLab – a Japanese collective who work only with computer-generated programmes.
They make visually mesmerising and interactive pieces of art such as a flowing golden waterfall or a projection of blossoming flowers that wither if you touch them. Their work can be found at three gallery booths at Art Dubai: Ikkan Art Gallery from Singapore, Pace Art + Technology from the US, and Martin Browne Contemporary, from Sydney.
For the history buff
Since 2014, Art Dubai has dedicated a special section to Modern art (a term used for art made between 1940 and 1980) from the region.
Aly Ben Salem, La fiancée, Circa 1960
With a smaller number of galleries than the main halls, it is a veritable history lesson waiting for those willing to spend time there. Also, for the first time this year, a symposium will be held with some of the world’s most important experts on the subject.
For the inquisitive
There is always more to be found if you look hard enough, so for those interested in learning more about one artist, make sure to check out the Abraaj Group Art Prize. The prize is a US$100,000 award given to one winner to develop work for solo exhibition at the fair.
Rana Begum, No.426, 2013
This year it is Rana Begum, a London-based, Bangladesh-born artist whose brightly coloured, geometric, minimalist paintings have been exhibited all over the world.
For the intellectual
The Global Art Forum (GAF) runs parallel to the main fair but has an agenda of its own. A curated discussion platform featuring panels, lectures and performances, GAF has always been something for the thinkers among you. This year, the theme is trade of both goods and ideas and is set to be a fascinating event.
For your little Picasso
Make sure to book early for the Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program, dedicated to the little ones.
The Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program
Workshops by international artists run throughout the fair and are designed to provide access to skills and ideas for children and teenagers aged five to 17, with the long-term aim of encouraging young people to get involved and excel in the arts.
For those who love a surprise
Although it is a commercial event, Art Dubai has a robust non-profit programme and this year, the fair has commissioned several pieces of performance art to surprise visitors.
There is something to be said about casually walking through the fair only to be pleasantly interrupted by a performance. It offers a different energy altogether.
Dates and times
Art Dubai Programme And Gallery Halls, 4pm to 9.30pm
Art Dubai Programme And Gallery Halls, 2pm to 9.30pm
Art Dubai Programme And Gallery Halls, noon to 6.30pm
Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, Dhs50 pre-book online, Dhs80 at the entrance, under-18s free. Taxi: Madinat Jumeirah. artdubai.ae