FairsArtists 16-03-2017

Art Dubai, the “glocal” art fair

With 270 artists hailing from 70 countries, Art Dubai, which welcomed 94 exhibiting galleries for its 11th edition, has never offered so much variety, despite big European and American names being among the most notable absences this year. In spite of this, countries such as Algeria, Peru and Uruguay — for the first time at Art Dubai this year — bring a breath of fresh air to the fair.

Gallery Al Marhoon (Algiers) is showcasing From Here to Here, a work by artist Atef Berredjem, documenting the numerous journeys the artist has undertaken between Algiers and Annaba, accounting for a total of 32 days, 11 hours and 46 minutes — almost the time it takes to take a trip around the world.

Palestinian gallery Zawyeh presents a collection of works by Rana Samara, consisting of white handkerchiefs embroidered with images challenging established notions of sexuality within marriage. Samara delivers a symbolic but evocative message by addressing notions of virginity as well as working with telling objects, including viagra pills.


Atef Berredjem, galerie Al Marhoon


Galleria Continua has works by Ai Weiwei, sculptures by Anish Kapoor, a number of painting by Michelangelo Pistoletto, a stained glass by Daniel Buren, and a work by Kader Attia, who is also on show at the Sharjah biennial.

The iranian gallery Dastan (Tehran) has recreated the studio of artist Fereydoun Ave for its Dubai booth, inviting the visitors to nose about and discover his sculptures, paintings and works on paper.

Dealers have reported strong sales during the fair’s opening, with London gallery Victoria Miro having almost sold all works by Alex Hartley and Idris Kahn during the first few hours of the fair. Dubai-based Third Line gallery brought works by Rana Begum (Bangladesh) — with prices ranging between €7,000 and €30,000 — sold almost all of the works on the first day, much like Daniel Templon’s works by Omar Ba, three of which were gone hours after the opening. In the Modern section of the fair — celebrating its fourth anniversary this year — London’s Grosvenor gallery sold five works by Indian artist S. H. Raza to a number of collectors and institutions, with fellow galleries also largely satisfied with their sales.


The work by Rana Begum. The Bangladeshi artist is the winner of this year's edition of the Abraaj Group Art Prize.


The fair Design Days has moved to the Dubai Design District, a few miles from Burj Khalifa. With a new venue, the fair has a more strict selection committee this year, and it has left behind the tackier works that were unfortunately present in previous editions, welcoming instead young Emirati designers, who are showing their works for the first time. Hailing from France, Territoire gallery and L’éclaireur are showcasing works by Geraldine Gonzalez and Pierre Bonnefille, respectively.

Elsewhere, the first edition of the “Fully Booked”, a slightly exotic art book fair, takes place at Alserkal Avenue.

81 designs, founded by Nesrine and Nadine Y Maalouf, is launching today, creating a platform to support refugee women by training them for jobs based on arts and crafts. Ten Palestinian women have thus far created eight frescoes in collaboration with Franco-Tunisian artist El-Seed, with further collaborations between participants and artists to be announced in the coming months.

For its 11th edition, Art Dubai is definitely “glocal”, true to its premises, the fair is both rooted in the region and international, with a strong appeal for foreign galleries and collectors.


Palestinien refugees weaving a tapestry of works by El Seed. Credit: 81 Designs

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