Every now and then in Dubai, you catch a whiff of initiatives that support the city’s budding art collectors. We’re not talking about galleries that sell art at affordable rates – there are plenty of those – but rather an introduction to a game played by the big boys: the auction. At the highest level, auctions can be competitive, adrenaline-fuelled affairs, intent on exposing your vulnerabilities at the drop of a hammer. Equally frustrating is fighting to get your name on the guest list, which can be about as likely as being invited to a royal wedding. But the Young Collectors’ Auction at Ayyam Gallery on January 18 won’t be quite as exclusive. Instead, expect a stripped-back, casual affair to give new collectors an informal setting in which to bid for works. Here we look at what’s on offer.
Mohannad Orabi Materials used? Acrylic on canvas. Price range: Dhs18,366 to Dhs25,713. Background: Syrian artist Mohannad Orabi, 34, has attracted global attention for his tongue-in-cheek self portraits. His work has been displayed at some of the world’s most revered events on the art calendar, including Art Palm Beach and Art Hong Kong. He is known to paint innocent-like figures in contradicting scenarios that comment on society and life in the Arab world.
Elias Izoli Materials used? Acrylic on canvas. Price range: Dhs18,366 to Dhs25,713. Background: Self-taught Syrian artist Elias Izoli was only 17 when he presented his first solo exhibition in Damascus (he’s now 35). Since then, he has gone on to make waves in the region’s art scene with his bold style of portraiture and cutting-edge technique of colour and composition.
Sahand Hesamiyan Materials used? Steel and paint. Price range: Dhs8,815 to Dhs11,019. Background: Contemporary Iranian sculptor Sahand Hesamiyan creates interactive pieces that integrate a sense of Islamic architecture. This three-dimensional welded piece plays tricks on the viewer’s eye and challenges the perceptions of traditional Islamic art.
Shadi Ghadirian Materials used? Colour print. Price range: Dhs18,366 to Dhs25,713. Background: Photographer Shadi Ghadirian is renowned for commenting on the complicated relationship between women and their role within her native Iran. She uses symbolism in her work to depict cultural contradictions and often takes objects referring to bloodshed and war and photographs them next to everyday items, such as bullets in a make-up bag, or veiled figures with kitchen utensils for faces.
Mohamad Badr Materials used? Smooth photographic paper. Price range: Dhs3,673 to Dhs7,347. Background: Lebanese artist Mohamad Badr, 30, is a jack of many trades. After being awarded a degree in business at university, he went on to become an active member of the region’s artistic and cultural scene, and has since gone on to publish poetry and practise as a photographer. He has been at the forefront of developing Lebanon’s emerging art and photography movement and initiated Lebanon’s first photography contest, which brought together 300 local and international artists. He’s currently in the process of publishing his first poetry book.
The lowdown Event: Young Collectors’ Auction, January 17 at 7pm, Ayyam Art Centre, 3rd Interchange, Street 8, Al Quoz 1 (04 323 6242). Artist: Mohannad Orabi, Elias Izoli, Sahand Hesamiyan, Shadi Ghadirian, Mohamad Badr Price range of works: Dhs3,673 to Dhs25,713.