Bastakiya Art Fair

Art Dubai’s slightly younger (and slightly quirkier) sibling kicks off this week

Vernissage party for BAF 2010 at the Central Plaza in Bastakiya
Vernissage party for BAF 2010 at the Central Plaza in Bastakiya
Beirut’s Running Horse Gallery
Beirut’s Running Horse Gallery
Work by Mohamed El Baz
Work by Mohamed El Baz
Emirati art with exhibitions at XVA Gallery, the Emirati House.
Emirati art with exhibitions at XVA Gallery, the Emirati House.
Work by Nadine Kanso
Work by Nadine Kanso
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1 Don’t miss the vernissage party for BAF 2010 at the Central Plaza in Bastakiya on Monday 15 at 6pm. You’ll get to see one of Dubai’s picturesque spots at its most magical, illuminated by hundreds of lights.

2 Catch the brunch talks at XVA Gallery chaired by curator Rose Issa, starting at 10.30am on March 18, 19 and 20. Eminent figures from the art world, including Hans Ulrich Obrist (the director of London’s Serpentine Gallery) and Dr Venetia Porter (curator at the British Museum), will be speaking.

3 On Thursday 18, drop in to XVA at 7pm to hear Pakistani author Mohammed Hanif reading his novel A Case of Exploding Mangoes, alongside a derived performance by his wife, Nimra Bucha.

4 As you wander the fair, look out for the internationally curated shows of Middle Eastern art from Arthur Guéret and Brahim Alaoui in house 108 (including work by Mohamed El Baz, pictured), plus Janet Rady Fine Art in house 58, and curators from Saatchi Online Gallery in house 109.

5 During the event, witness the best of emerging Emirati art with exhibitions at XVA Gallery, the Emirati House (in house 32, curated by Colleen Quigley of Sheikh Zayed University), and Al Maraya Al Qasba Gallery from Sharjah (house 98).

6 At 6pm on Friday 19, XVA will host a film screening and discussion about Our Feelings Took the Pictures: Open Shutters in Iraq, a film that documents the photography project of a group of Iraqi women learning to tell stories using a camera.

7 At midday on Monday 15, Algerian artist Sadek Rahim will perform in Bastakiya’s Creek Plaza. His work will involve 500 metres of fabric being spread around the area, so be careful not to get caught up in knots…

8 Check out Beirut’s Running Horse Gallery (house 79), which is making its international fair debut. Love Lebanese art? Don’t miss Laudi Abilama (central plaza) and William Gerges (house 98), two Lebanese artists showing at the fair.

9 Parking in the area can be difficult, so why not come via the Art Bus? Email info@artinthecity.com for details.

10 Finally, bring a hat and water – Bastakiya can be steaming hot in March.

Bastakiya Art Fair takes place on March 15-21. For info, call 04 353 5383 or see www.bastakiyaartfair.com.


Must-see artworks

Gallery Isabel Van Den Eynde (formerly B21) presents a work by Nadine Kanso that uses the outline of the Burj Dubai (modelled to exactly her height), filled with a collage of Dubai featuring images of her friends and surroundings. She says everyone has something to say about this city, so decided to present a perspective that cannot be turned into cliché or criticism. Find it at house 15C.

Ethiopian artist Wosene Worke Kosrof will show for the first time in the UAE at The Majlis Gallery. He’s a master of colour and the first painter to take Ethiopian language symbols and combine them with contemporary abstract art.

Fashion boutique S*uce is injecting fun into the fair with an exhibit entitled ‘Let There be Glitter’. It’s a collection of collage-sculpture hybrids by artist Polly Becker that pay homage to the dressing-up box. See the show at house 58.

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