The Guides

Top 5 Highlights from Art Dubai 2017

Abraaj Group Art Prize 2017; Rana Begum's piece; Courtesy of Photo Solutions

Luxhabitat's overview of everything you can't miss from Art Dubai 2017 at Madinat Jumeirah

Words by Ruqayyah Khan in The Guides · Mar 16th, 2017

This is a Text Block. Use this to provide text...Art Dubai returns to the Madinat Jumeirah for the eleventh year, with diversity and nuance at the forefront. At a press conference before the opening of the event, organisers spoke about the theme of this year’s programme, and importance of the thriving arts and culture scene in the region. This edition of the fair is the most globally diverse with 94 galleries from 43 countries participating.

Here are Luxhabitat’s picks of what must be experienced at the fair:

1. The Abraaj Group Art Prize

Abraaj Group Art Prize 2017; Unveiling Ceremony; work by Rana Begum; Courtesy of Photo Solutions

For this year’s Abraaj Group Art Prize, the winner Rana Begum and the three shortlisted artists, Sarah Abu Abdallah, Doa Aly, and Raha Raissnia, were all women. The artists each have features at the exhibit and also worked together to create a few specific pieces for the venue. The works include film installations, mixed media, and more.

Rana Begum has set up a feature installation out on the waterways of the Madinat Jumeirah near the Art Dubai Bar. The outdoor piece plays with colour and geometry, and has been created for viewing from multiple angles and at different times of the day.

2. Interactive Installation By Meriem Bennani

Ghariba by Meriem Bennani; Art Dubai Projects 2017; Courtesy of Photo Solutions

Ghariba/Stranger by Meriem Bennani, a Moroccan artist based in Brooklyn in an interactive installation at the Art Dubai Bar. The installation is evocative of public spaces like parks and salons. The work includes playful videos and viewing pods, encouraging visitors to interact and take part.

3. Cooking Liberty At The Room

Cooking Liberty by Beirut-based collective Atfal Ahdath, which includes Vartan Avakian, Hatem Imam and Raed Yassin, is hosted at The Room in Mina a’Salam. The exhibit aims to give visitors a surreal experience through the use of exaggerated and repetitive video and audio and the physical setup itself. The ticketed gala dinners are already sold out, but the installation is open to the public during the day for the duration of the fair.

4. Gallery Hall Exhibits

Art Dubai Modern Preview 2017; Courtesy of Photo Solutions

The featured artwork is divided between two gallery halls, Art Dubai Contemporary and Art Dubai Modern. Art Dubai Contemporary features 79 galleries from 41 countries, and displays the work of both both emerging and established artists. Art Dubai Modern, now in its fourth edition, highlights the work of influential artists from the MENASA region.

According to International Director Pablo de Val, this year’s exhibits are more tightly curated and tailored, featuring solo exhibits and also overview collections by groups of artists. Tailoring these collections and staying relevant has been one of the “most exciting challenges” of the fair, he says.

5. Global Art Forum And Modern Symposium

Global Art Forum; Courtesy of Photo Solutions

The theme for this year’s Global Art Forum is ‘Trading Places.’ The commissioner for the forum this year, Shumon Basar, talked about how we tend to think of trade as the exchange and movement of goods, but it is also the exchange of ideas. The theme came out of conversations about a secret painting and the history of trade between Sharjah and Iraq. The forum will include interconnected topics about both art and trade, and will be held at the Madinat Jumeirah’s For Island.

The Modern Symposium, as the name would suggest, is a series of talks about the importance of modernist art in the region. Topics range from the role of women in modern art to preservation and modernism in the region. The talks will take place at the Art Dubai Modern Lounge at Mina a’Salam and the recently unveiled Concrete at Alserkal Avenue, designed by the legendary architect Rem Koolhaas.