Why 2017 Should Be the Year You (Finally) Attend Art Week

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Photo: Courtesy of @AlserkalAvenue

For culture junkies across the city, March is a bit of a mad month – in the best way possible. From poetry under the stars at the Emirates Airline Literature of Festival to screenings of plays by George Bernard Shaw at Courtyard Playhouse and legendary arias by Puccini at Dubai Opera, it feels impossible to choose how to spend your days. March is also the month during which Art Week takes over, with talks, exhibitions, workshops, performances, and more happening across town. If you have absolutely no idea how to navigate the likes of SIKKA Art Fair, Design Days Dubai, and Art Dubai, you’ve come to the right place.


Art Week at Alserkal Avenue

March 10 to 18

New gallery exhibitions, artist commissions, and pop-up projects will be hosted during Art Week at Alserkal Avenue alongside a series of public talks and workshops. While the offerings are overwhelming, we recommend making it to eL Seed in conversation with MoMA Director Glenn Lowry (March 13), attending multi-media artist Alia Ali’s discussion about her The People of Pattern exhibition that explores a variety of cultures through their unique textiles (March 14), and catching the repeat screening of Barakah Meets Barakah (March 17). See the full program here.

alia ali Borderlands alserkal avenue
Photo: Courtesy of @GulfPhotoPlus

SIKKA Art Fair

March 11 to 21

SIKKA Art Fair returns to Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, showcasing the talents of UAE-based artists from far and wide. The site-specific works will span an array of mediums including audio and video installations, multi-disciplinary initiatives, music performances, and visual arts such as photography and sculptures.

Highlights to look forward to this year? The Bahrain House (a special house created to showcase the words of five influential Bahraini artists), the site-specific artwork that will be jointly created by Emirati artist Rashid Al Mulla and Brazilian duo Connexus to explore the idea of happiness in their respective countries, and The Connection Maze by street artist Tarsila Schubert (an interactive installation designed to illustrate how life’s ordinary moments speak volumes about identity). Find more details here.

Sikka Art Fair al fahidi live music performance
Photo: Courtesy of Dubai Culture

Design Days Dubai

March 14 to 17

Leading furniture and design fair Design Days Dubai returns for its sixth edition, this time taking place at d3. Both emerging and leading designers and galleries from across the globe will be showcased alongside a program consisting of talks, panel discussions, and more. Jewelry will also make an appearance as, throughout the duration of the event, ‘Gouache Drawing’ workshops led by Van Cleef will complement the design fair. Each will allow admirers of intricate craftsmanship to learn about how light and volume are brought to the design from which a jewel is born.

The venue will also play host to art collector and DJ Davide Squillace’s Blender project on the fair’s opening day, during which his performing platform will take the music of live sets as well as site-specific field recordings, the noise made by people, their movements, and the temperature of their bodies to give form to a sculptural piece of artwork. More visitor information about Design Days Dubai can be found here.

The Wave City by Stelios Mousarris coffee table
Photo: Courtesy of @DesignDaysDubai

Art Dubai

March 15 to 18

With 277 artists in attendance alongside over 90 galleries from 44 countries, this year’s edition of Art Dubai promises to bring the best of the art world to our doorstep. It will also feature commissioned projects, artists’ residencies, and the critically acclaimed Global Art Forum.

The fair is more suited to bona fide art enthusiasts so, if it’s you first time attending, join one of the three Abraaj Group Art Prize tours (March 16-18) led by winning-artist Rana Begum, and be sure to catch one of the two dance performances (March 16 and 18) under the What Modernity? series curated by Yasmina Reggad.

For a lighter side to the event, visit the Art Dubai Bar area, where Moroccan-born, Brooklyn-based artist Meriem Bennani will create an interactive installation titled Ghariba/Stranger, featuring playful portraits of Moroccan women. Visitors will be able to watch videos that have been inspired by public places that encourage social interaction amongst strangers, reminiscent of parks and beauty salons. Tickets to Art Dubai can be purchased here.

aerial view of art dubai galleries
Photo: Courtesy of Art Week
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