Taking art to the masses in Dubai

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Taking art to the masses in Dubai Dhanusha Gokulan / 13 February 2014 Art Dubai has become the most global fair to date with 85 participating galleries from 34 countries and works by more than 500 artists.  Community and creativity will intermingle from March 14 to April 15 as public spaces come alive for the ‘Dubai Art Season’. Starting with the Art Week, which features SIKKA Art Fair, Design Days Dubai, and Art Dubai, ‘Dubai Art Season’ will also encompass the Middle East Film and Comic Con and will culminate with Gulf Film Festival 2014. An art piece displayed at JBR during the art project named ‘The city is your canvas’ . — KT file photo Shaikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, said: “Dubai’s extensive portfolio of arts and culture events has set a clear growth track for its creative landscape. Boasting platforms that lend momentum to each discipline of art, from visual arts and performing arts, to film, the city has become an incubator for aspiring and emerging artistic talent.” He added: “As the umbrella arts initiative of the city, ‘Dubai Art Season’ will integrate Dubai’s community into the burgeoning creative industry, with the activation of public spaces, outdoor art projects, interactive initiatives, workshops, exhibitions, panel discussions, and performances, among others.” He said ‘Dubai Art Season’ would play an integral role in underlining the cultural and artistic strengths of Dubai. “Especially in the run up to World Expo 2020, where every element of the city will mark its arrival in the global spotlight,” added Shaikh Majid. Saeed Al Nabouda, Acting Director-General of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, told Khaleej Times: “The reason we have decided to place all the cultural events under one banner is because we wanted to highlight these individual events and let it expand geographically as well.” He added: “A lot of the local artists who initially started out with Art Dubai, are now doing exceedingly well for themselves. Though we cannot take credit for their work, we want to further help them gain international recognition. This is heaven for any artist, support from both private and the government sector.” dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com Set to woo the community In 2008-09, at the peak of the global recession, art patrons, gallery owners, and artists’ were living in constant worry about the future of art — would it survive the economic meltdown? At the third edition of the Global Art Forum (2009), held in conjunction with Art Dubai, Thomas Krens, senior adviser for international affairs, Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation, had addressed his concerns on whether museums were fast ‘dying out in a time of economic turmoil’. Worry about art dying had come to such an extent that experts were talking about collaboration between museums and art venues. However, art showed extreme resilience and thrived over the years after the economic meltdown. It didn’t die out like people predicted it would, and it instead thrived — in the UAE, within the region, and internationally. Speaking about where art is at this juncture, Art Dubai fair director Antonia Carver said: “The biggest shift in the art scene in the Middle East was the rise of the Gulf cities as a melting point for art and I hope Art Dubai has played a major role in that shift.” In an interview with Khaleej Times , Saeed Al Nabouda, Acting Director General of Dubai Culture said: “The youth in the region embracing art and culture, and being open to cultural dialogue has a big role to play in the rise of art. A couple of years ago, the young preferred sports to anything else. But now they are showing a sense of national identity and are embracing art and culture.” What has now become a leading international art fair in the Middle East and South Asia, the eighth edition of Art Dubai is all set to woo the art community across the globe.   Salient features Taking place between March 19 and 22, the 2014 edition of Art Dubai features three gallery programmes — Contemporary, Modern and Marker — the winners of The Abraaj Group Art Prize; artists’ and curators’ residencies; site specific commissions and projects; the critically acclaimed Global Art Forum; live radio; film and more. Held under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, Art Dubai is run in partnership with the Abraaj Group and is sponsored by Cartier and Emaar. Madinat Jumeirah is home to the event. Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) is the strategic partner of Art Dubai and supports the fair’s year-round education programme. It has become the most global fair to date with 85 participating galleries from 34 countries and works by more than 500 artists across the programmes. For the first time, the galleries are presented in three distinct programmes: Contemporary; Modern, inaugurating this year; and Marker, the curated section of invited art spaces and galleries focusing in 2014 on Central Asia and the Caucasus. Alongside the gallery halls, the fair also features an extensive not-for-profit programme including dynamic commissioned site-specific works for Art Dubai Projects; an exhibition by winners of The Abraaj Group Art Prize; the critically-acclaimed, five-day conference Global Art Forum; a live radio station; film and video screenings; Shaikha Manal Little Artists Programme for children; plus an engaging programme of curator-led tours, book launches, talks and so on. “Over the past eight years, Art Dubai has evolved into an extraordinarily dynamic art fair with particular emphasis on diversity and quality. The fair echoes the expansion of the arts infrastructure in Dubai and the region,” said Carver. “Our roots are firmly grounded in the UAE arts scene and we believe this year’s fair reflects Dubai’s identity as a major cultural city, alongside its role as a hub for trade, finance and transport. Art Dubai’s growth has been organic and supported by a highly motivated audience of artists, curators, gallerists, patrons and enthusiasts. We’re aiming to welcome even more visitors than the 25,000 that walked through the doors in 2013.” For more information about Art Dubai Projects check out http://artdubai.ae/art-dubai-projects dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com For more news from Khaleej Times, follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/khaleejtimes , and on Twitter at @khaleejtimes Continue reading →

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