Wed, Feb 15, 2017

Art & Auctions
Art Dubai dishes it out!

The 2017 edition of Art Dubai will be the most international to date while featuring performing artists, a symposium on modern art and installations that look good enough to eat.

Highlights of the March fair’s growing offering include its first-ever modern symposium, a visual, sensory and gastronomic experience by Beirut-based artist collective Atfal Ahdath, and a series of commissioned performances.

The symposium will celebrate the cultural impact of 20th century masters from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

“Over the years, Art Dubai has become one of the world’s most dynamic art fairs,” says Fair Director Myrna Ayad. “Through its year-round activities, educational initiatives and artistic commissions, Art Dubai redefines what an art fair can be and I am delighted that this year with new initiatives such as the Modern Symposium and our largest performance art programme to date, we will be able to offer further insights into the regional art scene with an increased programme to engage our visitors outside the gallery halls.”

Art Dubai 2017 will feature 93 galleries from 43 countries, the most number of international participants since the event was launched back in 2007. “We are offering visitors a new experience in the gallery halls, with more tightly curated presentations this year,” says Art Dubai’s International Director Pablo del Val. “The exhibitions will be split between solo or two-artist exhibitions, allowing a more focused contemplation, and multi-artist shows, enabling an overview of different works. In addition, we are showing new galleries and countries for the first time, with a particularly strong contingent of Iranian galleries as well as our highest-ever number of galleries from Latin America.”


The inaugural Modern Symposium will take place  17 at Art Dubai Modern and  18 at Alserkal Avenue and will comprise a series of talks and presentations focused on the life, work and cultural impact of 20th century Modern masters from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. Renowned curators, scholars and patrons will lead the sessions that will delve into the styles, influences and practices of artists whose work contributes to the history of art produced between the 1940s and 1980s.


The Room, Cooking Liberty is a visual and gastronomic experience presented by Atfal Ahdath, whose founding members are Vartan Avakian, Hatem Imam and Raed Yassin. Taking cues from Salvador Dali’s cookbook, Les Diners de Gala, and through exaggeration and repetition, Atfal Ahdath invites guests to experience their new, live visceral installation by day. By night, the collective will welcome guests with edible dreams in an immersive setting reminiscent of a grand banquet, a truly sensorial experience that flirts with familiarity and expectation.

Meanwhile, Moroccan-born and Brooklyn-based artist Meriem Bennani will create an interactive bar installation, borrowing from playful strategies and designs that beauty salons, massage parlors or entertainment parks use to encourage social interaction amongst strangers. Titled Ghariba/Stranger, the installation will include viewing stations for videos showing video portraits of Moroccan women.


The 2017 Abraaj Group Art Prize is curated by Omar Berrada and the winner, London-based Bangladeshi artist Rana Begum, will unveil her work alongside an exhibition of works by shortlisted artists Doa Aly, Sarah Abu Abdallah and Raha Raissnia.

Focusing exclusively on performance art in 2017, Art Dubai will include a series of five specially commissioned performances, curated by Yasmina Reggad and presented by international artists Manuel Pelmuş, Lana Fahmi, Eglė Budvytytė, Iván Argote and Pauline Bastard. In addition, Reggad and Fahmi will perform a dance piece, created in homage to recently deceased Emirati artist Hassan Sharif.


Featuring 50 speakers from around the world, the Global Art Forum in 2017 is being held under the theme Trading Places, with a focus on the trade of goods and ideas that shape and reshape the world. Conceived by Shumon Basar as Commissioner, with Antonia Carver and Oscar Guardiola-Rivera as Co-Directors, the forum kicked off in January culminates at Art Dubai from March 15 to 17 in partnership with the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and Dubai Design District (d3).


The Sheikha Manal Little Artists Programme, held under the patronage of HH Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is held in partnership between Art Dubai and The Culture Office. Now in its fifth edition, the program allows UAE-based children and teenagers to engage in the arts. 

The 2017 edition will feature Expanding Treasures, a project by lead artist Suzan Drummen, seeing families and children work together to create a large-scale temporary installation on-site. The popular Discovery Tours, enabling young children to discover key pieces around the fair, will be complemented by the Artists in Schools Initiative, giving the opportunity to selected schools to experience workshops on campus.

Now in its 11th edition, Art Dubai is held in partnership with The Abraaj Group. Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the fair is sponsored by Julius Baer, Meraas and Piaget. Dubai Culture is a strategic partner of Art Dubai and supports the fair’s year-round education programme. 

The eleventh edition takes place from March 15 to 18 at Madinat Jumeirah.

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