Art Dubai

Credit: Art Dubai

One of the biggest art fairs in the Middle East, Art Dubai, concluded its 16th Edition on 5th
March. The event, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai took place in Madinat Jumeirah Dubai.

Art Dubai 2023 featured over 130 presentations from more than 40 countries divided across four sections: Contemporary, Modern, Bawwaba (featuring exclusively new work) and Art Dubai Digital. The fair focused on the art of the MENASA region (Middle East, North Africa & South Asia) in particular, broadening conversations about art beyond traditional westernled narratives.

Art Dubai’s Executive Director Benedetta Ghione commented: “Art Dubai has always tried to reframe what an art fair can be, and this year’s expanded programme fully reflects our role as a meeting point for the region’s creative industries, both commercial and not-for-profit. As an innovative public-private partnership, we have been an incubator of talent, a catalyst for the creative economy here in Dubai, a convener of great minds, and an entry point to this vibrant ecosystem for the wider cultural sector.”

Credit: Salih Seref/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Many commented on the unique atmosphere of the 2023 Art Dubai. The event confidently highlighted commercial aspects of the fair setting, a notion punctuated by the Guerlain installation premiering new iterations of the Bee Bottle featuring Matisse and Yves Klein, confidently categorising the art displayed as pieces of luxury first and foremost. At the same time, the absence of the big Western artists who usually and predictably ‘headline’ in fairs of this calibre served as a breath of fresh air. The type of diversity of exposure that the traditional Western fairs strive for comes far more organically to Art Dubai. The mood among gallerists was generally buoyant and optimistic, with several veteran galleries reporting sales and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi becoming more visible as an institutional player ahead of its 2025 opening.

Yunchul Kim, La Poussière de Soleils (The Dust of Suns) II, 2022.
Photo : Courtesy the artists and Barakat Contemporary

While Art Dubai 2023 has come to an end, the neighbouring emirate of Sharjah offers an opportunity to continue exploring the Middle Eastern art scene with its 15th Biennial. To find out more about one of the 19 impressive venues, The Kalba Ice Factory, go here.