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Art Dubai 2024 returns for its  17th edition, here is what to expect at the art fair
Mothership, 2013, Jonathan Monaghan
Image: Courtesy of Jonathan Monaghan, bitforms gallery and MORROW collective

Art Dubai 2024 returns for its 17th edition, here is what to expect at the art fair

The three-day-long art event returns to Dubai, with exhibitions, installations, and talks, cementing itself as a point of convergence for the art community within the MENASA. 

by Manu Sharma
Published on : Feb 22, 2024

Art Dubai is the foremost art fair in the Middle East and takes place annually in early March under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE. The fair presents modern and contemporary art from the global south to a worldwide audience, and its 17th edition will return to Madinat, Jumeirah from March 1 - 3. Art Dubai 2024 promises to feature a closer focus on the region’s diverse cultural practices than ever before and cement the fair as a point of convergence for art communities and institutions within the MENASA (Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region.

The fair will feature more than 120 exhibitors, hailing from over 40 countries. These will be presented at four gallery sections - Art Dubai Contemporary, Art Dubai Modern, Art Dubai Digital and Bawwaba, the last of which takes its name from the Arabic word for “gateway”, and features works exclusively created during the last year. Beyond the fair, Art Dubai Week offers an extended exhibition programme across 50 institutions in the UAE.

Benedetta Ghione, Executive Director, Art Dubai noted in a press release, “The Art Dubai Group is committed to laying foundations for a thriving cultural and creative ecosystem, inspired by and responding to our home city of Dubai. The cultural scene here is maturing rapidly and we are proud of the role we play in engaging and inspiring audiences of all ages and backgrounds, and in supporting the next generation of cultural professionals. Our year-round education, scholarship, and thought-leadership programmes, developed alongside our long-term partners, create significant opportunities for people from all over the world to build careers in the creative industries in Dubai.” Ghione is joined by Pablo del Val, Artistic Director, Art Dubai and Hala Khayat, Regional Director, Art Dubai as the fair’s leadership.

Major highlights of Art Dubai 2024 include a series of performances commissioned for the 17th edition, exploring the role of art in difficult times. Additionally, there is also the latest edition of Art Dubai’s flagship summit, the Global Art Forum, led by Shumon Basar, Commissioner, Global Art Forum and Nadine El-Khoury, Curator, Global Art Forum. This year’s iteration is titled Whether or Not, which will focus on the relationship between extreme weather and change. Speakers at this year’s forum will include Dr Stephanie Rosenthal, Director, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Project, Samir Bantal, Director, AMO, Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), Anne Holtrop, Founder, Studio Anne Holtrop and more.

There will also be a series of talks in collaboration with Dubai Collection, a new institutional model for contemporary and modern art that brings esteemed private collections into public exhibitions. These will centre the effects of Cold War-era Soviet geopolitics on the UAE’s art scene and will feature speakers such as Bilal Akkouche, Assistant Curator, International Art, Tate Modern and Dr. Masha Kirasirova, Assistant Professor of History, NYU Abu Dhabi. Dubai Collection itself will present the art exhibition Encounters, curated by multidisciplinary artist Alia Zaal Lootah, which will bring together works by prominent Emirati artists Hassan Sharif, Mohammed Kazem, Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, Shaikha Al Mazrou, Afra Al Dhaheri, Maitha Abdalla, Hashel Al Lamki and Sarah Almehairi.

Other major highlights at Art Dubai 2024 include an inaugural 3-day digital art summit, as part of Art Dubai Digital, which will discuss strategies to develop and shape Dubai’s growing digital art ecosystem. Then, there is also the fourth edition of the A.R.M Holdings Children’s Programme to look forward to, along with the premiere of Heart Space. The former provides UAE-based school children opportunities to develop artmaking skills and selected artists to lead the 2024 programme is diorama artist Sahil Naik. The latter is a digital artwork created by Canadian-Korean new media artist Krista Kim. It has been commissioned by Julius Baer as part of their NEXT initiative, which supports interdisciplinary explorations of megatrends across art, science and technology.

Piaget House of Gold, Shamsa Alabbar and Razan Alazzouni are inaugurating a new partnership with Art Dubai and celebrating the House’s 150th anniversary with an exhibition titled The House of Gold. The show centres around its namesake element and its connection to Piaget. HUNA Sculpture Park will be unveiled by HUNA, a leading Dubai-based lifestyle developer, as a result of the HUNA Cultural Programme, inaugurated in November 2023 in collaboration with Art Dubai. The sculpture park will feature works by three international artists - Rana Begum, Shaikha Al Mazrou and Pablo Reinoso. The Swiss wellness centre Clinique La Prairie will return with its Longevity Lounge, commissioning a large-scale sculpture by Syrian artist Sara Naim. Finally, BMW will feature the BMW i7 at Art Dubai, at the centrepiece for an experiential installation by Emirati artist Asma Belhamer.

With so much to look forward to, visitors to Art Dubai 2024 will be kept on their toes as they take in all that this year’s edition of the art festival has to offer. It seems that the 17th edition’s programming is quite consistent with Ghione’s statement quoted earlier and that Art Dubai is poised to deliver excitement to audiences of all ages and from across the breadth of MENASA.

Art Dubai 2024 is on from March 1 - 3 at Madinat, Jumeirah in Dubai.

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