Had enough art yet? Thought not. Running for two weeks – and as a satellite event to Art Dubai – the XVA Gallery has curated the Creek Art Fair, which aims to showcase the rest of Dubai’s creative talents while also hosting a plethora of art and culture related events. The gallery’s managing director, Mitra Khoubrou, talks to Andy Buchan about what they’ve got planned.
How connected to Art Dubai is the Creek Art Fair?
The Art Bus will bring participants of Art Dubai to the CAF. We also have a series of planned visits by Art Dubai participants, gallerists and collectors. Finally most of the galleries participating in the CAF are also participating in Art Dubai. They are interested in the double impact of being present in a fringe initiative and a more established art platform at the same time. The CAF is an independent platform but before anything else, it’s a collective effort and commitment by galleries and institutions to work together to advance Dubai’s cultural agenda.
Why does Dubai need two large scale art fairs at the same time – are you not dividing attention by doing so?
The two initiatives complement each other rather than compete with one another. We actually built our talks program in full collaboration with the Global Art Forum in an effort to add value to Dubai’s art agenda at that time of the year. Our goals are the same: position Dubai as an art and cultural capital. The CAF has to be perceived as a fringe event that reinforces the positioning of Dubai as a cultural hub. The most important art fairs around the world have a series of satellite fairs taking place at the same time.
You’re expanding upon last year’s model – what lessons have you learnt from being one year older?
That the CAF is now a necessity for Dubai and for art lovers in general. We unfortunately had to decline many applications this year. Artists are looking for independent and original art platforms to express themselves. The CAF is unique in the sense that it combines a particular mix of exhibitions, installations, concerts, performances, talks and initiatives in one of the most beautiful places in Dubai.
Why should readers come down to the Creek Art Fair?
To see Bastakiya through new lenses. We are bringing life to over 20 houses in Bastakiya thanks to the participation of some of the most important galleries and cultural institutions in town and in the regions. The experience is unique as they will not only be able to visit very innovative and forward-looking exhibitions, also attend talks, concerts and watch movies.
Ones to watch
UK rising star Jonathan Gent will use the Creek Art Fair to present works that will once again reflect his perceptions and feelings on the environment and culture he is surrounded by.
Halim Al Karim
Iraqi artist Halim Al Karim presents some of his latest pieces, currently on show at XVA as part of the Coma In Paradise exhibition.
Open Shutters Iraq
Open Shutters Iraq exhibition (a collaboration between XVA and B21 Gallery). The Open Shutters Iraq project brought Iraqi women with no photographic experience together with a photo journalist to document their lives through their own work in a visually affecting exhibition.
The Flying House Gallery has brought together a number of well-established UAE artists, including Alia Al Shamsi, Ebtissam Abdul Aziz, Nuha Asad, Jassim Al Awadhi, Alijood Lootah, Hassan Sharif and Mohammad Kazem. The CAF will have a strong focus on the UAE and its potential in art.
Former Time Out writer Arsalan Mohammad is curating a film series to run parallel to the CAF. He explains what he’s aiming to achieve.
‘The CAF wanted to run a fortnight of films that in some way represented efforts by directors from all over the place, at all points in cinema history, to bust the mould, to break the boundaries, in subtle, shaded ways or through full-on sensory and textual assault. It’s not a list of the best films ever made, neither are they the films that have influenced us, or we feel you must watch, or any of that malarkey. Rather, they’re examples of perfectly-formed and seductively sensational movies that have, in their own ways, done something naughty with convention, form or narrative. Some have disrupted all of those things.’
For more information, log onto www.creekartfair.com.