International line up of galleries and artists at DIFC Gulf Art Fair

UNDER THE patronage of Princess Haya bint Al-Hussein, the much awaited DIFC Gulf Art Fair was officially opened at the Madinat arena in Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai with an estimated Dh360 million worth of original artworks from

By Lubna Al-midfa (Staff Reporter)

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Published: Fri 9 Mar 2007, 12:06 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:24 AM

around the world for exhibition and sale.Present at the opening were Dr. Omar bin Sulaiman, Governor of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and John Martin, director of the Gulf Art Fair and an established name in art circles in London. Mr. Martin is a member of the society of London art dealers and helped establish ARTLONDON with Ralph Ward Jackson — he continues to sit on the advisory committee for the event.

Amongst the international line up of galleries and artists taking part are Patrizio Travagli from Madonna Fust gallery, Bern (Italy), White Cube (London), Sfeir Semler (Hamburg/Beirut), SCAI Bathhouse (Tokyo), just to name a few.

On what sets the DIFC Art Fair apart from others, John Martin says, 'This is a great opportunity to see 40 of the world’s best galleries and probably 200 of the best artists in the world all in one afternoon. Everything is for sale, there is work worth many millions of dollars and works of a few thousand dollars by emerging artists.'

When asked whether the UAE society is ready for such contemporary art work such as installations, John Martin, in view of growing society of art lovers in Dubai who always show interest in such events, says, 'I look at the skyline in Dubai and I think every time that the people who commission some of the most exciting architecture in the world are ready for contemporary art, of course they are ready for contemporary art. You will see this growing really quickly in Dubai.' He continues to define contemporary art: 'Artists now are working right across the world. They often don’t see themselves as regional anymore, they see themselves as part of the big international group. And they want to perform on an international stage so that’s why it’s really important for a major event here in Dubai to be internationally focused. You will get artists from New York living in Mumbai and artists from Mumbai living in Paris. If we can get the essential art commerce going then I think we will get many artists gathering here in Dubai.'

The DIFC Gulf Art Fair also includes a three-day global art forum, and an education programme from Sotheby’s Institute of Art to foster debate and increase awareness about trends in collecting art. A number of the world's leading artists, curators, art professionals, and collectors are confirmed to take part.

Public access to the DIFC Gulf Art Fair is on Friday and Saturday, March 9 and 10, with proceeds from the ticket sales going to the Al-Madad foundation for Start, a project to fund children’s art workshops in deprived communities.

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