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Eclectic pieces create shock and awe

/ 23 March 2012

DUBAI — A group of people winds its way through the galleries of Art Dubai, led by an artist offering a tour of Manila. And the exhibits represent landmarks of the Philippine capital.

The tour passes by two snowmen lying on the ground attempting to rebuild the broken pieces of the world. Further on, a photograph of an Iranian woman wearing an abaya and boxing gloves stares down on visitors. A wall of toy soldiers stops people in their tracks while just metres away a metallic tower reaches to the ceiling. And bright neon lights contrast beautifully with traditional pieces.

The art lover are look in to the artist Saint clair cemin's Art peace titled Star at the Art Dubai exhibition at the Madinat Jumairah on 23rd March 2012. Photo : Rahul Gajjar

Art Dubai brings together some of the most striking artwork from around the globe. From displays by local and regional galleries, to pieces by artists from far a field as New York, Beijing and Jakarta — Art Dubai encapsulates contrasting styles and brings them together in an exhibition that seems to flow naturally.

“Art Dubai is cosy. Other art fairs are huge with around 300 galleries — this one only has about 75. So it’s not as overwhelming as other art fairs,” said Filipino performance artist Carlos Celdran, after leading visitors through a tour of Manila, via the medium of Art Dubai.

A visitor takes a picture of a piece of art by Iranian artist Khosrow Hassanzadeh called the ?Dome?, which is a combination of ceramic and media, displayed in the sixth Art Dubai exhibition in Dubai on March 21, 2012. The art fair is the largest exhibition of contemporary art in the Middle East featuring 75 galleries from 32 countries showing paintings, sculptures, installations and videos by more than 500 artists. AFP

Beirut-born artist Marya Kazoun looks over her creation, a display that combines static elements and two performance artists dressed as dystopian snowmen. “This piece is a comment on global warming and how this frozen landscape is breaking up. You have the two snowmen coming out because their habitat has been disrupted. And the two snowmen are living the last minutes of their lives and they’re trying to reconstruct and put back together their world,” said Kazoun. While walking around Art Dubai, the eclectic pieces at times shock while at other times make you think. Nothing can be taken at face value, with the intricacies and hidden messages of the art becoming clear with time.

Celdran, world-renowned performer appearing in the Middle East for the first time, praised Art Dubai for the freedom it gives artists.

“I’m surprised, considering the region, with any preconceived notions one may have – there is a lot more liberal artwork than I would have thought, and for that I give it credit.”

Kazoun, who is also displaying work in the region for the first time, echoed a similar sentiment.

“I think Art Dubai is a great place; it’s a fresh place now. You meet people here who are open to ideas and open to new things. I think it’s the place to be right now.”

Art Dubai ends at Madinat Jumeirah today.


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