10 reasons to love Bastakiya Art Fair

Last year’s Creek Art Fair proved to be one of <em>Time Out</em>’s festival highlights. We pick some of this year's best efforts

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Diesel Art Space
Is it wrong for us to get excited about the prospect of graffiti in this town? Perhaps, but Dubai’s normally pristine walls make us yearn for a bit of artistic anarchy. We’re thrilled at the prospect of one getting a billboard-style makeover when the winner of the Diesel Art Space competition is let loose on the walls.

BAF Art School
No, not finger-painting for the kids. Rather these two-hour, weekday sessions offer a chance for artists, critics, students, collectors and members of the public to engage in a daily art debate.

March 16-20, 10am-12 noon, XVA gallery Courtyard

TheJam Jar
Not content with bussing art lovers around the emirate, this wonderful Al Quoz stalwart will be taking over four or five rooms of one of Bastakiya’s historic houses to showcase, in collaboration with Lahore’s Grey Noise Gallery, the work of emerging artists from Pakistan.

Nation Building
In 2009 the UAE is going to be present at the prestigious Venice Biennale for the first time. Berlin-based artist Hannah Hurtzig will film conversations with three UAE-based art practitioners. Audience interaction is positively encouraged. Be there to witness art in the making.

Saturday March 21, 2-8pm, XVA gallery courtyard

Piano Poetry
The Goethe Institut introduces a stunning collaboration of East and West. The bittersweet lines of late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish’s famous work, ‘We Love Life’, melds into a Schubert waltz in what promises to be an unforgettable evening of poetry and piano music.

Saturday March 21, 8.15pm, central square Bastakiya

Saatchi online
Middle Eastern art is big news on the world stage. To tie in with the Saatchi Gallery’s current London show, Unveiled: Art From The Middle East, this electronic exhibition promises to feature the best of contemporary art from the region.

Halem Al Karem
Iraqi-born Al Karem was one of the high- lights of last year’s fringe fair. In 2009 he will be bringing a selection of new works to BAF, but we’ve been assured to expect more of his trademark blurred photography and its accompanying eerie sense of quiet displacement. Certainly not to be missed.

Mizmah
Taking their name from an Arabic container into which ideas are poured, this collective of female graduates from Abu Dhabi promises to be a highlight of BAF. It will feature six artists working across a variety of forms and media – from interior design to graphics.

Tashkeel
Local art collective-cum-studio-cum-gallery, Tashkeel, has done much to raise the profile of UAE-based artists since its inception a little over a year ago. This is a chance for visitors to get a heads-up on one of the most exciting scenes in the city.

And even if you don’t get art, you’ll get this…

Bastakiya Art Fair Vernissage You may not know much about art, but our bet is you do know how to party. This, the opening gala of the week-long fringe event, offers visitors the chance to get a first glimpse into this year’s exhibitions. Dubai’s historic quarter only throws open its doors once a year and this evening do – illuminated by candlelight and accompanied with live music and song – is a magical way to experience it.

Sunday March 15, 7pm-11pm. Valet parking available

Read Best Art in the UAE click here
Read 10 Reasons to love Art Dubai click here
Read 10 Reasons to love Sharjah Biennial click here

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