Art Dubai 2014
Now in its eighth year, Art Dubai is the
region’s premier art fair that puts Dubai
on the world’s art map. With an expected
200,000 visitors over four days, and more
than 80 galleries representing 500 artists,
this year’s edition promises to be a belter
Liz RAmos-pRADo
Colour this pAge
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Wander through these zones
within madinat Jumeirah
Nelson Wilbert
26_What’s On_03.2014
Cinema opera (Cairo Billboards)
Lucien samaha
Yayoi Kusama
Art talk
What are you most excited to
see at Art Dubai this year?
It’s almost impossible to choose
just one thing. We have a few
new developments at the fair
this year, and seeing Art Dubai
Modern come to life will be
particularly exciting. It will
feature 11 solo and two artist
exhibitions of rare masterpieces
from the 1940s to the 1990s, and
is something quite unique.
What else is new this year?
We’ve really stepped up our
public programming this
year. There are talks, tours,
book launches and children’s
workshops happening on the
hour and half hour, all day,
every day.
This giant exhibition hall features galleries from around the world. Come face to face with
an original red-dotted Yayoi Kusama painting at Victoria Miro and admire pop culture
photographs of Cairo billboards by Lucien Samaha at Lombard Freid Gallery. Everything is
for sale here (don’t be afraid to ask for pricing information), although some of the prices may
make you want to lie down.
What advice do you have for
Art Dubai newbies?
There is something for everyone.
Art Dubai is the most diverse
and most accessible of art fairs.
The works for sale range from
under Dhs1,000 to more than
Dhs3 million, while the not-forprofit programme features more
than 12 specially commissioned
artists’ projects. For the latter,
the artists are asked to create
works that are interactive, that
draw in audiences, so they are a
great place to start.
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Title: Untitled
Artist: Nabil Nahas
Art talk
Originally from Iraq, Sama
is associate professor of
photography/video art at The
University of Arizona. Her work
often uses the female body to
ask questions of nationhood
and can be found at the Ayyam
Gallery’s booth at Art Dubai
What work you will show at
Art Dubai this year?
I will be showing four largescale photographic works from
my project Silsila (‘chain’ in
Arabic). It is an on-going project
that incorporates photography,
video/object hybrids, etching on
glass embedded into light boxes,
wood sculptural elements,
sound and sand.
Take a step back in time and visit the Modern zone, a new programme devoted to
Middle Eastern and South Asian modern art from the 20th century. In this section each
gallery presents one or two influential artists. Be sure to check out Dubai-based Lawrie
Shabibi’s booth to spend time with 1970’s work by Lebanese powerhouse Nabil Nahas. It’s
extraordinary how current his geometric abstracts still feel today.
DAtes foR YoUR DiARY
March 19 to 22
March 19
March 21
Art Dubai, Madinat
Jumeirah, Al Sufouh Road,
Dubai, Dhs50.
opening night (invitation
4pm to 9.30pm
Art Dubai programme
and gallery halls
2pm to 9.30pm
March 19
March 20
March 22
Art Dubai ladies preview
1pm to 4pm
Art Dubai programme
and gallery halls
4pm to 9.30pm
Art Dubai programme
and gallery halls
Noon to 6.30pm
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silsila features images of the
desert and the oasis. What
does that mean in your work?
Not much grows in the desert.
It is a space that recycles upon
itself, reforming itself, and
repeating itself. It is very easy to
lose one’s way. To survive in the
desert, respect and mindfulness
is paramount. That is the
backdrop of much of my work.
Art talk
Winner of the
2014 Abraaj
Group Art
Prize, the
Iranian painter
is represented by
Dubai’s Green Art
Did winning the Abraaj
group Art prize give you the
freedom to take risks?
I like to think that I take a risk
with each new project, otherwise
the studio would be a very dull
place, only concerned with
production and not discovery.
That said, I did try things that I
would not have been able to on
my own budget. The results are
very exciting for me.
What’s the vibe at art events
in Dubai?
In my experience with openings
in Dubai, they tend to be a little
more chilled out than New York.
People actually want to talk to
you about the work and they ask
a lot of questions.
What’s it like seeing your
work at Art Dubai?
I don’t like to be around my
work, especially when someone
is talking about it. I prefer to
have conversations about my
work directly with the viewer,
not overhear them at a fair.
gAllery on Wheels
No car? No problem. Hop on the
ArtBus and travel between Art Dubai,
DIFC, Al Fahidi and Al Quoz. The
exterior of the bus, run by Art In The
City, is designed by UAE artists Afra
Bin Dhaher, Mark Ganzon (known as
Cloud88) and Hala Makhlouf, who
have left special mementoes inside
the bus for passengers to discover.
Dhs50. Tel: (04) 3417303.
Yeni Aqavanin Dogulmasi (the Birth of the Artichoke)
tahir salahov
A Woman With A pie
Hsar Gassiev
Each year at Art Dubai, Marker focuses on a distinct geographical area or theme. This
year pays homage to Central Asia and the Caucuses and is curated by Slavs And Taters, a
collective of artists who call home anywhere east of the former Berlin Wall and west of the
Great Wall of China. They’re admired for their unexpected, playful and clever take on the
world. The space will present a variety of works from sculpture to drawing and will also host
an education programme.
hoW to be fluent in Art speAk
has it been a while since you last set foot in an art gallery?
take a quick refresher course to learn the lingo
Commissioned Modern:
If you walk into a
Contemporary is
Don’t mix this up
single light bulb
dangling from the
ceiling, the chances
are the artist was
This arts movement
prioritises the
artist’s inner
process over
produced. There
was actually a lot of
thought that went
into that light bulb’s
This is a piece of
art produced by
an artist at the
request of a patron
or institution.
work is often an
artist’s dream
because it means
they are getting
paid to create what
they love.
with contemporary.
Modern technically
refers to art
produced between
the 1860s and
1970s, although
this is sometimes
debated in the art
world. In Middle
Eastern art, modern
usually describes
work produced
from the 1940s
the new modern.
This category
pertains to art
produced recently
that is current and
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Art talk
Ramin Salsali
has collected
art since the
age of 21. His
space, the
Salsali Private
Museum, is
the region’s first
private museum and brings
his extensive collection and
commissioned works to the
Whose work and which
galleries are you most
looking forward to seeing at
Art Dubai this year?
In the Art Dubai exhibition
spaces: Gazan artist Hazem
Harb at the Athr Gallery’s booth
and Gil Hector and Sara Rahbar
at Dubai-based Carbon 12.
Abraaj prize
Untitled (Angelus Novus) by Abraaj Art prize Winner Kamrooz Aram.
Arguably the most prestigious art honour in the Middle East, the Abraaj Group Art Prize is
awarded annually to five artists who submit proposals to create unprecedented works of art
to be unveiled at Art Dubai. Nada Raza curates this year’s exhibition.
out AnD About
there’s plenty of art elsewhere in Dubai during the fair
March 17
Alserkal Avenue
March 17
March 15 to 25
Follow the cool kids to
this open day at Dubai’s
arts district set in industrial
warehouses in Al Quoz.
Most galleries will have
exhibition openings and
you can gallery hop
between from 11am and
The galleries at Gate Village
stay open late for this
special evening of art at the
heart of the city’s corporate
hub. Find unexpected art
and intriguing conversation
from 7pm to 10pm.
A homegrown art fair
showcasing local talent,
Sikka is set in the peaceful
Al Fahidi Historical
Neighbourhood beside the
creek. Hop on the ArtBus
and come to Sikka for a
poetry performance or to
wander around the studios
of local artists.
What are you doing at your
own space?
We’re presenting a solo show
by Iranian artist Amir Hossein
Zanjani, which will include a
commissioned installation made
up of 700 pieces depicting the
individual faces of soldiers from
around the world.
have you ever been
intimidated by the art world?
No one should ever feel any
hesitation when it comes to art.
All questions are allowed and
any comment is welcome.
What does the Dubai art
community need to do in
order to get more people
interested in the scene?
I believe art galleries in Dubai
must unify forces to bring art to
the people rather than expecting
the people to come to them.
The collectors need to take on
the responsibility of guiding the
public to the galleries and wider
art scene.
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