Art Dubai: The energetic, diverse fair is back!

Dubai - Covid precautions will be in place for the region’s leading art fair, to be open to the public from April 1-3 at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).


Purva Grover

Published: Wed 31 Mar 2021, 8:57 AM

Touted to be one of the Middle East’s leading art fairs, Art Dubai is staging its 14th edition in a purpose-built venue at the iconic Gate Building, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai, and the public can visit from tomorrow onwards till April 3. With 50 galleries from 31 countries participating in the fair and a focus on artists from the Middle East and the broader Global South, the fair via its new app will allow visitors to book their visiting times, explore exhibiting galleries, artworks and view the full programme.

“Art Dubai’s 14th edition is one of our most diverse and energetic fairs to date, bringing together galleries that represent a large and varied global population, giving them representation in and access to the international art market, and affirming Art Dubai’s importance as a place of discovery and experimentation,” said Pablo del Val, Artistic Director, Art Dubai. He added, “We have also curated a Sculpture Park featuring large-scale installations along the two water paths that surround the DIFC gate, as well as a Film Programme comprising various short films. Screening stations placed alongside Gate Avenue would feature single-channel films produced by 20+ regional and international artists each thematically categorised to curate a specific experience for the viewer.”

In addition, across the UAE, special events and exhibitions will be held by the local art community.

In these testing times, one can’t help but wonder how Art Dubai 2021 would be different from its previous editions?

“Art Dubai 2021 is different in so many ways. First, we have re-configured the format of the fair and relocated to DIFC, creating a purpose-built structure that would allow visitors to view artworks in three Gallery Halls and hence provide a secure and safe environment. We have also developed the app to help manage access to the fair and have re-designed the layout to ensure increased social distancing,” said Benedetta Ghione, Executive Director, Art Dubai.

In keeping with its reputation as a hub for innovation, incubation and knowledge exchange, this edition of Art Dubai too will provide a sustainable platform for artists and meaningful engagement with the rich cultural heritage and contemporary art practices of the region.

Safety first

• The public event will operate at the highest Covid-19 safety protocols alongside standard procedures, including regular testing of participants.

• Art Dubai 2021 has extended opening hours, and added an extra fair day as a further precaution.

• Download the Art Dubai app to purchase tickets. Due to social distancing measures, the venue capacity is restricted, hence it is mandatory for visitors to book their ticket and time slot in advance.

How to attend

Price: Dh25 per ticket. Visitors under 18 years of age and university students can enter free of charge upon booking a child or student ticket.

When: April 1-2 (1pm-9pm), April 3 (11am-7pm)

Where: Gate Building, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai

To know more:

Video Art Programme

A new Film Programme, a curatorial project featuring single-channel films produced by 20+ regional and international artists, including films under categories: Nature, Journeys, Dystopias, Conversations, Performances and Animations. Artists featured include: Ahaad Alamoudi, Jonathas de Andrade, Nikhil Chopra, Laurent Grasso, Cristina Lucas, Berkay Tuncay, and Tsedaye Makonnen. One of the stations will also be dedicated to the ongoing Art Dubai Portraits series, a film series in partnership with BMW Middle East, providing short perspectives into the lives and workspaces of artists that are connected to the fair through its programming or participating galleries.

DIFC Art Nights

Art Week includes the 14th edition of Art Dubai and also the 11th season of the popular biannual DIFC Art Nights. Themed on the sentiments of hope and positivity, this season will showcase creative art installations by eminent artists that are looking to the future and are aimed at creating positive experiences for residents and visitors. Dubai has had some big wins this year, including the Mission to Mars. Art Nights carries on this sentiment allowing inspiring installations such as a set of LED astronauts hung off the facades of the Gate Village buildings, to reflect the same excitement and vision for looking beyond the here and now. On: 1 & 2 April, Gate Village, DIFC

Sculpture Park

A curated park featuring large-scale works by eight artists along the water paths surrounding the Gate Building, DIFC. It features 10 artists including Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, Rachid Koraïchi, Rashed Al Shashai, Goncalo Mabunda, Hussain Sharif, Dia Al-Azzawi, Costas Varotsos, Tarik Currimbhoy, Bernar Venet and Pablo Reinoso (pictured). Amongst DIFC’s public art collection are sculptures from internationally renowned artists. The Centre is home to five large-scale sculptures by celebrated New York-based Spanish artist Manolo Valdés. These include Clio Dorada (2017) and La Mariposa (2015) which were chosen to balance each other. Mariposas (2015) and Butterflies (2013) share the same theme and were positioned in the grass area opposite the Gate building. La Diadema (2015) was installed on a platform, offering the viewers two very different angles and interpretations.

“Ours is A sector that has, like so many others, been significantly impacted by the events of the last 12 months, and we feel a keen responsibility to do everything we possibly can to support our communities in these challenging times. The pandemic has provided us with an opportunity to innovate, to expand our on-and off-site programme, and to evolve our view of what a fair can and should be.”

Pablo del Val, Artistic Director, Art Dubai

“We are supporting participating galleries that are Unable to attend in-person through a remote participation programme, allowing them to send their artworks to Dubai. We will also facilitate logistics and connect them virtually with the visitors. We like to think that this edition of the fair will allow us to innovate and keep pushing the definition of what an art fair can and should be.”

Benedetta Ghione, Executive Director, Art Dubai

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