World Art Dubai 2020: Creativity, diversity and responsibility, and it's a wrap
(L-R): Draw performance by Asareh Ebrahimpour; Masooma Rizvi, artist; one of Rizvi's artworks
Dubai - Artist Mouza Al Mansoori shared she sold 17 pieces, and looked forward to buying a few herself.
Creativity, diversity and responsibility were the three aspects of World Art Dubai 2020, the three-day event, which concluded yesterday, that shone all through. The socially-distanced queue at the wrapping station on Saturday, the last day of the region's most accessible and affordable art fair, was an indicator of the fact that not only did the event recognise the local artists and galleries, but also ensured high sales of the works.
"World Art Dubai fought its way through this pandemic. It's been a tough year for all of us. The best thing that the fair did was to attract maximum traffic, responsibly, so that artists could get the benefit of maximum sales," said Masooma Rizvi, an artist. Artist Mouza Al Mansoori shared she sold 17 pieces, and looked forward to buying a few herself. Julia Smolenkova, an artist from Russia, said, "This is my third time at the event. I sold 15 pieces so far to new collectors, which I'm extremely pleased about."
Other than happy artists, customers and investors, the event delighted amateur artists and hobbyists too, with workshops conducted by experts teaching origami, Japanese ink painting, etc. "During these unusually upsetting times, people are looking for options to divert their attention and the workshops served as the food for thought for all," said Rizvi, who conducted a calligraphy workshop.
Graffiti since time immemorial has been used as a medium of visual communication, and 10 artists from the Vandalist Art Gallery, painted live graffiti at the show, capturing the mood and hues of the times. Reflecting the true spirit of "the show must go on." was the works of artist Farah Malhas, whose art studio was destroyed during the Beirut explosion. Despite the tragedy, Farah picked up her utensils and created new works for the fair. Also, noteworthy was the draw performance by Asareh Ebrahimpour.
For many, it's a dream to exhibit at the event and ROVE Hotels, official hotel partner for the fair, made it possible for a few with the Emerging Artist Prize & Exhibition 2.0. The competition received over 500 entries, and the top ten entries selected by the jury and public voting were on display at the ROVE booth. The Grand Prize went to Shrutika Gosavi. Shrutika's art is intuitive, inspired by the human body, nature, spirituality, identity and perception matters. She won herself complimentary space to exhibit her artworks at World Art Dubai 2021.
What would the next edition of the fair bring in? It's tough to predict, but this year's edition lured one and all, with over 2,000 diverse artworks on display, 120 + solo artists, from across 20 countries. The event lived up to its theme of Free Your Mind, liberating the mind, providing a route to escapism, as well a window to the reality of the current times. Until 2021, then.
"Alongside, the people from the adult mature market, we wanted to get the younger crowd coming in, which is where features like street art, graffiti, Instagram-photo booth corner, helped. We did aspire to offer something for everyone, after all the hard work and dedication," said Batool Jafri, World Art Dubai curator and Emirates Woman of the Year 2018. Batool along with co-curator Samar Kamal body-painted (dressed in white) a model, who then made the way to the extremely popular, Be Part of the Art, Instagrammer friendly spot.
And the World Art Dubai Awards went to
>Best Emerging Artist Award: Victoria Heath
>Best Gallery: The Arts' Hub
>Best Artist: Noor Bahjat
>Outstanding Art Award: Rozan Takeuchi
>Annual school Competition: Nord Anglia International School
UAE's one, large family
A picture with this paper cut art installation in the background popped up on most Instagram feeds. A few even walked through the installation, as suggested by the artist, who spent a month to create the beautifully hand-drawn, hand-painted, and hand-cut art installation, titled Conversions.
The work was themed on how the UAE is home to individuals from different cultures, nationalities and backgrounds. "I have depicted the large UAE community family not only living together in co-existence here but also progressing as one," said the artist, Masarratfatima Sulaimani.
300 GSM thick paper of archival quality was used to create the installation, "It is not non-tearable, but thick enough to last even if you walk through," she added. Figures of 24 adults and three kids made up the piece. Interestingly, the artist added a few of her family members, in the frame. "As an artist, you always want to put an element that is close and special to you in the work." Sulaimani has been living in Dubai for 10 years now and started dabbling in paper cut art four years ago. "During Covid-19, we've all been deprived of the option of clicking a picture with others, but with this installation, you can relive the moments of being surrounded by people." Other than her installation, visitors admired her works at her booth at the fair as well.
A space of reflections, learnings and blessings
Creativity Unmasked, was the stark, real window to the pandemic. In the absence of physical human connection and with movement drastically limited, the artists all over the world turned inwards for inspiration and created original artworks reflecting their personal experience during the testing times. Few such gorgeous, hard-hitting pieces were on display at the space - from a woman's face behind a cage to a silhouette of a lady in mask and gloves - each piece imaging the current times. 'Without Features' by Mohammed Hussein from ArtSmiley's oil on canvas painting expressed the state of the world taking precautionary measures, because of that the disappearance of features and personal identity behind masks. Madness by Tres Ases, oil and acrylic on canvas, suggested that madness is relative it depends on who has who locked in which cage. The titles of the pieces, Quarantine, Madness, Floating, to name a few, too reflect the same emotion.