The eleventh edition of Art Dubai kicks off today and runs until March 18. Taking place at Madinat Jumeirah, this year’s fair is the first under the leadership of director Myrna Ayad. “Art Dubai continues to spearhead the cultural development of the local and regional landscape,” Ayad said in a statement. “And, in addition to the four days of the fair, Art Dubai is consistently present internationally, supporting and partnering with institutions, galleries and patrons, and hosting events in recognition of our combined efforts.”
Art Dubai will host ninety-two galleries from forty-four countries with twenty-five galleries participating for the first time. The fair’s contemporary and modern sections were overhauled this year, reflecting a tighter curatorial vision. The contemporary section will spotlight the highest number of participants from South America, with galleries from Peru and Uruguay attending for the first time. Exhibitors include Piero Atchugarry Gallery (Pueblo Garzón), Revolver Galeria (Lima), D12 Proyectos de Arte (Santiago), and Vermelho (Sao Paulo).
Art Dubai’s modern section, which is now in its fourth edition, will feature works by modern masters from the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. Highlights from this section include works by leading artists from the Middle East such as graphic artist Mustafa Al Hallaj, Egyptian modernist Mamdouh Ammar, and Iranian artists Hadi Hazavei and Houshang Pezeshknia. Pieces by modern artists from India and Pakistan will be exhibited by Grosvenor Gallery (London), including works by recently deceased artist Sayed Haider Raza, a pioneer of Indian Modernism, and Pakistani artists Zahoor ul Akhlaq and Anwar Jalal Shemza. From Africa, Nigerian artists Ben Osawe and Muraina Oyelami will be presented by Tafeta (London).
According to Ayad, the modern section offers Dubai a chance to reflect on its history in order to understand the contemporary moment. She said, “The Modern was a period that is still being explored, written, and researched due to little documentation, and Art Dubai, being the preeminent platform for art from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, contributes to this narrative by presenting such a hall.”
Global Art Forum—the fair’s international platform for engaging cultural debates—has invited around fifty speakers to participate. Conceived by commissioner Shumon Basar and codirectors Antonia Carver and Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, the forum’s theme is “Trading Places.” It will focus on the trade of goods and the “ideas that shape—and reshape—the world.”
Curated by Omar Berrada, the fair’s tenth edition of its Abraaj Group Art Prize will unveil an exhibition by winning artist Rana Begum, whose works will be displayed alongside shortlisted artists Doa Aly, Sarah Abu Abdallah, and Raha Raissnia.