Art Dubai 2021: What make's this year's fair special


Purva Grover

Published: Thu 1 Apr 2021, 7:06 PM

A lot can happen over not just coffee, but art, as one can learn at the 14th edition of Art Dubai’s exciting line-up of events. A weekend dedicated to art sounds promising, especially in times of a pandemic when our reliance on art has increased, and when we’re also exhausted from staying at home. “We understand culture as a priority and a necessity, even more so after this long pandemic. Our ability to understand the world and connect with it without the filters of a computer screen is more imperative than ever. This edition of Art Dubai invites us to do precisely that, to recover our senses and reactivate them through art,” says Pablo del Val, artistic director, Art Dubai. What’s interesting to note is that this year’s edition is home to 50 leading contemporary and modern galleries from 31 countries, which means that visitors can safely discover a diverse selection of artworks, artists and practices, from all across the globe. The event is a leading international art fair and unique platform for art across the Global South and would be following strict health and safety requirements.

Their move to welcome several galleries from the Middle East and beyond to the 2021 edition has been received with warmth and relief. Isabelle van den Eynde, founder, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde (Dubai), says, “I have always believed in the energy of Art Dubai and, despite everything, this year is no exception. Art Dubai has remained faithful to its vision. They have persevered. This year’s edition, in its new format, will make the scene dynamic yet again.” Just a few of the exhibiting galleries include Aicon Art, New York; Akka Project, Venice/Dubai; Galería Albarrán Bourdais, Madrid; Gallery ArtBeat, Tbilisi; Athr Gallery, Jeddah; Agial & Saleh Barakat Gallery, Beirut; and Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi/London. Kristin Hjellegjerde, founder, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery (London, Berlin, Nevlunghavn), shares, “In these times, we have to find alternative ways to keep growing. Art Dubai’s innovative approach and commitment to make the fair happen works very well for us. Having taken part in many previous editions of the fair, we trust the team to make this a great success, whether circumstances mean we can be there in person or not.”

The galleries have been provided on-site support, alongside remote participation support to connect with visitors, virtually. Nathalie Obadia, founder, Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris, Brussels), adds, “The city of Dubai has strengthened its position as a strategic crossroads, thanks to ambitious fine art projects in the Middle East. As Art Dubai has become an essential fair in the region and one of the few to be held this spring, it was vital to the promotion of our artists to be at this rendezvous.” In addition to exploring the works of the exhibiting galleries, other highlights include a Film Programme comprising short films and a curated sculpture park with installations.

On today, 1pm-9pm and tomorrow 11am-7pm at Gate Building, DIFC, Dubai

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