Why 2019 Needs to Be the Year You (Finally) Attend Dubai Art Season

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performers at sikka art fair bastakiya
Photo: Courtesy of @ArtDubai

For culture junkies across the city, March is a bit of a mad month – in the best way possible. From appearances by beloved authors at the upcoming Emirates Airline Literature of Festival and National Theatre screenings at Courtyard Playhouse to BBC Proms returning to Dubai Opera, it feels impossible to choose how to spend your days.

March is also the month during which Dubai Art Season takes over, with talks, exhibitions, workshops, performances, and more happening at countless locations across the country. If you have absolutely no idea how to navigate the likes of Art Week at Alserkal AvenueSIKKA Art Fair, and Art Dubai – three unmissable highlights on the Dubai Art Season agenda – you’ve come to the right place.


SIKKA Art Fair

March 16 to 24

SIKKA Art Fair returns to Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood for its ninth edition, showcasing the talents of Emirati and up-and-coming artists based throughout the region. 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.

This year will highlight a selection of emerging talents who were asked to develop their artistic research around An Open Window to Art and Tolerance, a theme reflecting the fact that 2019 is being celebrated as the ‘Year of Tolerance’. And for the first time, the event will offer two distinctive, but intertwined, experiences. Sikka by Day will celebrate the neighborhood and its tenants. Sikka by Night, meanwhile, will host multiple cultural activations brought together by some of the most dynamic individuals within the local creative scene. Find more details here.

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

Art Week at Alserkal Avenue

March 18 to 23

Artist commissions and over 20 new gallery exhibitions will feature alongside a series of public talks and workshops during Art Week at Alserkal Avenue. While the offerings are wonderfully overwhelming, we recommend starting with a visit to Concrete to take in group exhibition Fabric(ated) Fractures, which opens on March 9.

Other highlights include Rhodiola, a commission curated by Athens-based artist collective 3 137, as well as guest projects by Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Atassi Foundation, and Moataz Nasr. While the full Art Week at Alserkal Avenue program is yet to be revealed, you can find more details here.

Al Serkal Avenue Night
Photo: Courtesy of Alserkal Avenue

Art Dubai

March 20 to 23

Art Dubai returns to Madinat Jumeirah, promising to bring the best of the art world to our doorstep. Besides participation by both emerging and established galleries from across the globe, it will also feature commissioned projects, artists’ residencies, and the critically acclaimed Global Art Forum, which will unite everyone from curators and critics to educationalists and entrepreneurs under the theme, School Is a Factory?

This year’s focus is the Global South, which will address locations and people negatively affected by contemporary capitalist globalization, including subjugated people residing within wealthy countries. If you’re well acquainted with the fair and hoping to learn more from renowned curators and scholars, head to Art Dubai Modern Symposium, a series of talks focused on the life, work, and cultural impact of 20th century masters from the Middle East and beyond.

Additionally, there will be four main sections complementing each other, with the ‘Contemporary’ and ‘Modern’ sections forming the core section of the fair. The ‘Bawwaba’ gallery section, meanwhile, will offer a curated gateway to current artistic developments in the Global South. Lastly, the ‘Residents’ program will showcase the works of artists from 12 Latin American galleries who have spent several weeks in the UAE. More details on Art Dubai can be found here.

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