"Art is unquestionably one of the purest and highest elements in human happiness. It trains the mind through the eye, and the eye through the mind. As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life." – John Lubbock
Art enthusiasts across the city are getting ready for the largest international art fair in the region, which brings together the best modern and contemporary artworks and artists from around the world. Mirroring the diversity and culture of our city, Art Dubai continues to provide a physical and practical platform for artists and galleries across the world to showcase their work and unite everyone with one common passion: the love of art.
From the 29th of March to the 3rd of April 2021, under the iconic Gate Building of DIFC, 50 galleries from over 31 countries are coming together in the financial epicenter of Dubai with a focus on art from the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and the Global South. Renowned galleries from Paris, London, New York, Tehran, Marrakech, Riyadh, Cairo, Kolkata, Ho Chi Minh City, Istanbul, Shanghai, Dubai, and so many more are participating in the festival and showcasing incredible new works by both established and emerging artists.
Now in its fourteenth edition, the fair will open to the public on April 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, however, as COVID safety measures and precautions are in place, tickets are limited. You can purchase tickets by downloading the Art Dubai App and booking your time slot to visit the fair. Bookings will be for one-hour in order to monitor capacity and ensure that social distancing will be maintained. Each ticket is AED 25, however, university students, and those 18 and younger all enter for free upon reserving a child’s ticket.
The Ayyam Gallery – prominent leader in the arts community here in Dubai and abroad – manages the careers of both the established and the emerging artist, and is widely respected as a pioneer in documenting underrepresented aspects of art history around the world. The gallery has a diverse, multi-lingual publishing division and strives to increase the borders of international art by showcasing in Beirut and Dubai, as well as a series of collaborations in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
For Art Dubai, Ayyam Gallery will be presenting works by Safwan Dahoul, one of the Arab world’s most internationally and regionally acclaimed painters, whose monochromatic work is often inspired by the Cubist style of Picasso.
Leila Heller Gallery will also be returning to Art Dubai 2021 to showcase a variety of artists from across the world, including works by Emirati artist Hashel Al Lamki and Dubai-based Sacha Jafri. Having garnered world-wide recognition for encouraging open dialogues between Western, Middle Eastern, and Asian artists, Leila Heller Gallery is responsible for discovering and cultivating those special talents who leave lasting impressions. The dynamic exhibition for Art Dubai is only one of many international art fairs for which the Gallery curates and exhibits their artists’ work.
Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde was launched in Alserkal Avenue only four years after van den Eynde established B21 Gallery – one of the UAE’s first contemporary art spaces. Her gallery in Alserkal boasts a unique characteristic in its ability to closely partner with artists connected to the Middle East, thus ensuring works that are provocative and insightful. Often the pluralistic roster of artists represented by the gallery will ironically challenge the common philosophies and ideologies related to the notion of art exhibition.
Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde is showcasing several artists, including renowned brothers and long-time friends since their childhood in Iran Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, and Hesam Rahmanian, who have been living together in Dubai since 2009 creating art that is at once uniquely collaborative and individualistic.
The Rooster Gallery has made its mark on the art world by representing the Baltic region’s youngest generation of artists. The gallery itself is not tied to a permanent location, which enables them to exhibit each artist in a unique and individual setting that best suits the artist and their work. This intriguing concept has aided the Lithuanian gallery in achieving one of their preliminary goals: “discovering promising artists and representing the hottest trends of painting.” Working exclusively with young talent also sets the stage for The Rooster Gallery to follow an artist throughout their career, from birth to maturation. Tomas Dauksa – the young artist born in 1988 – brings his work to Dubai for the second time with The Rooster Gallery.
One of the more recent galleries to come onto the scene, Galerie-Peter-Sillem founded in 2017 and based in Frankfurt am Main, focuses on international contemporary photography from artists with long-standing careers as well as photographers whose work is up-and-coming. Galerie-Peter-Sillem has been responsible for curating both private and corporate collections as well. For Art Dubai, the gallery will be showcasing the inspiring and thought-provoking work of Yemeni-Bosnian-American multi-media artist, Alia Ali.
Not to be missed is the gallery in Booth A13. When Hassan Saradipour founded Saradipour Art Gallery, his first and foremost ambition was to introduce contemporary, Iranian visual artists both regionally and abroad. Both emerging and established artists have found a platform in Saradipour Gallery in which to globally engage with the arts community whether through exhibitions, international art fairs, or by collaborating to create joint art projects with various artists. Moslem Khezri‘s haunting explorations of the human face will be on display this year for Art Dubai.
Along with the 50 galleries, Art Dubai has created a series of short films that offer an interesting sneak peek into the lives and workspaces of artists connected to Art Dubai through the participating galleries. In collaboration with BMW Middle East and Forward James Filmmakers, you can explore the various films they’ve created ahead of the festival to introduce you to several artists who are represented by galleries curating exhibits for the festival.
Artists like Tunisian Nadia Kaabi-Linke, whose work is often entwined with socio-psychological topics and is represented by Experimenter in Kolkata, and Mithu Sen, whose playful works subvert commonly held beliefs about femininity, give inside looks to their story, background, and their work, and they are not alone. The quick videos are easily digestible bits that are not only interesting, but will enhance your visit to the festival.
If you are planning to visit, and even if you’re not, it is a fascinating opportunity to see behind the canvas, so to speak, and garner a better understanding of what it takes to create the works that we adore.
Savoir Flair knows how important culture is, so we want to make sure all of our readers have a chance to see this extraordinary festival. We’ve partnered with Art Dubai to offer you and your friends complimentary tickets by using our special code. Once you’ve downloaded the Art Dubai App and signed up with your email address to book your time slot, go to the ‘My Visit” section. Click on ‘Redeem Voucher’ and input the bespoke code: SAVOIRFLAIR_VP and you are good to go. See you there!