Art Dubai essential events

12 essential happenings at this year's celebration of art

Running from March 13-25, Art Week returns with a wide and varied programme. Art Dubai is set to once again occupy Madinat Jumeirah, from March 19-22, and promises to be another unmissable affair, but that’s not all. Design Days Dubai and SIKKA are also back, as is the popular HIPA contest. As ever, visitors can expect a jam-packed season full of art, intellectual conversation, exhibitions and artist interaction. Read on for some of the highlights…

The largest section of Art Dubai, the Contemporary gallery halls will feature over 70 galleries exhibiting new works for sale. As well as many returning galleries, including Jeddah’s Athr and Alexander Gray Associates from New York, there will also be a host of galleries making their debut. Sao Paulo’s Baro Galerie, Seoul’s 313 Art Project and Maria Goodman of New York, London and Paris are just a few of the new kids on the block. Home-grown talent will also be well represented, with local galleries including Carbon 12, Green Art Gallery, Grey Noise, Tashkeel and The Third Line. An international affair with its roots firmly in the Gulf, the exhibition will feature painting, sculpture, installation, photography and video.

New for 2014 and dedicated to Middle Eastern and South Asian modern art from the 20th century, this Mina A’Salam-based exhibition will see each participating gallery present a solo or two-person show from highly influential artists. Artists involved include Lebanese sculptor Michel Basbous, Bahraini artists Nasser Al Yousif and Rashid Al Khalifa, and many more. You can also expect research projects, talks and informative tours. The Modern gallery is curated by Savita Apte, Catherine David, Kristine Khouri and Nada Shabohout.


This year, Marker is hosted with a focus on Central Asia and the Caucasus. Presenting works ranging from mid-20th-century paintings to contemporary drawings and sculptures, Marker will take the form of a chaikhaneh (Eurasian tea house) and will include talks and research projects, an education programme and plenty more besides. Curated by the popular Slavs and Tatars, the works celebrate the complexities of faith, identity and language in the specified regions and their relevance not only to a Muslim audience, but to the world as a whole.

Art Dubai Projects
March 19 by invitation only
March 20-22 open to all

This not-for-profit programme sees a range of artists invited to create installations, performances, video and research projects that will wholly engage audiences at the fair. See home-grown talent Maitha Demitham, Sara Al Haddad and Maryam Al Qassimi as well as a specially selected group of international artists as they work closely with curator Fawz Kabra. The programme invites the artists to intervene in all areas of the fair, from its print material to the on-site terraces.

Abraaj Group Art Prize
March 19-22

This year is the sixth edition of this prestigious award, where works by the five winners will be revealed to the public for the first time. 2014’s winners are Iranian artist Addas Akhaven, Anup Mathew Thomas from India, Moroccan Bouchra Khalili, Kamrooz Aram from Iran and Egyptian Basim Magdy. The artists have been working closely with internationally renowned guest curator Nada Raza on their winning projects.

Artists in Residence
March 15-25

In association with Tashkeel, an independent resource for artists and designers living and working in the UAE, Art Dubai, the Delfina Foundation and Dubai Culture Arts and Authority present A.i.R Dubai, a residency programme that annually offers five artists and a curator the chance to be based in Dubai in the lead up to and throughout the month of March. The three-month residencies culminate in an Open Studios exhibition at SIKKA, as well as commissioned projects at Art Dubai. The project is committed to facilitating art and design practice and creative exchange, and this year features artists Nadia Ayari, Sunoj D, Sara Al Haddad, Maitha Bin Demithan and Maryam Al Qassimi. The 2014 residency is curated by Ipek Ulusoy Akgul.

Global Art Forum
March 19-21

This year’s Global Art Forum is titled Meanwhile… History and reflects on significant decades, years, days, minutes and seconds that shifted the understanding of the world and history. Commissioned by Shumon Basar, with coordinators Omar Berrada and Ala Younis, the forum will feature over 40 speakers and contributors and is a journey through known and unknown histories. After an initial five days at Katara Art Center in Doha, the forum will continue at Art Dubai, Mina A’Salam. With a diverse line-up of participants including artists, curators, musicians, strategists, thinkers and writers, this is one event you don’t want to miss.

Forum Fellows
March 19

With free entry for all, the 2014 Forum Fellows programme has a focus on curating and is led by Tirdad Zolghadr. Having organised the national pavilion of the UAE, Zolghadr is no stranger to the region and is also curatorial advisor to the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. He will share his unique experiences at this insightful event.

Falgoosh Radio
March 19-March 22

London-based producer and presenter Fari Bradley returns to Art Dubai this year with another edition of Falgoosh Radio, an experiment in listening, discussion and broadcast formats. The radio schedule goes behind the scenes with artists, curators and thinkers alike, and showcases the most cutting-edge sound pieces being made in and about the region.

Moving Images
March 18-21 at Art Dubai
March 22 at Sharjah Mirage City Cinema

New for 2014, Moving Images is a partnership between Dubai International Film Festival, Sharjah Art Foundation and Art Dubai, which aims to explore the intersection between art and cinema. The project sets to increase access to and understanding of artists’ films while supporting filmmakers from the Arab world. Having launched last December at the Dubai International Film Festival, Moving Images will host specifically-curated programmes at Art Dubai and the Sharjah Art Foundation in March. The programme will involve case studies, screenings and debates with the aim of encouraging debate on existing and future models for funding and distribution of cinematic works both in the UAE and internationally.

Sheikha Manal Little Artists
March 19-22

Now in its third year, the Sheikha Manal Little Artists programme returns with a whole host of children’s workshops and discovery tours. Held under the patronage and guidance of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, this series of events is open to all children aged three to 14, and aims to help nurture and support talented kids in the UAE while promoting a spirit of fair competition. Expect workshops, discovery tours of the gallery halls and projects featuring sketch books created and designed by UAE artists.

Terrace Talks
March 19-20

Held on the terrace of the Abraaj Group Lounge, these VIP, invitation-only talks focus on two particular art scenes, namely the legacy of Pakistan’s modernist artists and the art of Central Asia and the Caucasus. This year’s Terrace Talks have also partnered with the forthcoming Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, and are hosting a special conversation between the museum’s first director, Henry Kim, and Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, founder of Sharjah’s Barjeel Foundation and one of the UAE’s foremost experts on modern and contemporary Arab art.

March 19-22

This year, Cartier and the Fondation Cartier Pour l’Art Contemporain present ‘Maman Isek Mabo Bendele’ by artist Bodys Isek Kingelez. Created in 2000, this colourful model-like architectural piece takes on a very particular meaning within the world of the L’Odyssee de Cartier-Parcours d’un style collection display at Art Dubai. A captivating and unique imaginary world, the wealth and culture of which is constantly revealed by Cartier, this is a world of creation somewhere between dreams and reality that provides the inspiration for the High Jewellery pieces in this brand new collection.

Ladies Preview
March 19, 1pm-4pm

Art Dubai Ladies Preview is held under the patronage and guidance of Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, president of Dubai’s Women’s Establishment, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs UAE. Free of charge and open to women only, it will feature tours by art experts and prominent curators.
March 19-22. Tickets to Art Dubai can be purchased on site during the fair for Dhs50 (one-day pass), Dhs80 (three-day pass). Free entry for children under 18 and university students with student ID. Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim,
(04 384 2000).

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