World Art Dubai 2017 in the frame
Artists from five continents are attending the third edition of World Art Dubai from 12 to 15 April. With over 150 international galleries being invited to showcase their collections, the exhibition symbolizes the booming Middle East contemporary art scene today.
Created to cater to Dubai’s insatiable demand for all forms of art, as personal luxury spending grows to be almost $3.3 billion and art sales reach an annual turnover of $4 million, the slogan explains all – ‘Live it. Love it. Buy it. Finally, cool art you can afford’.
As part of Dubai’s Official Art Season, with more than 3,000 paintings, prints, sculptures, photographs and more on sale from 30+ countries, finding cool art suitable for every budget from $100–$20,000 has never been so easier.
The Art Season aims to highlight the emirate’s growing creative landscape internationally, starting with the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, followed by Art Week, the Middle East Film & Comic Con and World Art Dubai. The season concludes with the Dubai International Arabic Calligraphy Exhibition.
For the first time this year, World Art Dubai will include an exclusive ‘Exhibition Islam’ that is dedicated exclusively to contemporary works inspired by the Middle East cultural traditions. Visitors will be able to explore the history, cultures, and art of the Middle East from the past, present, and future.
Ancient Middle Eastern and Islamic art had spread its wings across the globe but declined in the modern ages. But now, with the Middle East re-emerging as a meeting point at the crossroads between the East and the West, artists and art consciousness are receiving recognition like never before. And it is not just ancient art forms – modern, contemporary, visual, graphic and graffiti and other new forms are grabbing center-stage in the region.
The raw and emerging GCC markets are very conducive to new developments in art and design, making it much easier for artists and designers to grow rapidly as opposed to the Western market.
The development of the UAE’s art scene is a case in point. It is a chance for residents and visitors to experience and understand the culture of the UAE, Gulf and the wider region. For instance, there are now numerous art exhibitions, programs and events for existing and emerging GCC artists and the work of leading Emirati artists is receiving attention the world over.
The launch of Art Dubai in 2007, the establishment of the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha in 2010, Arab pavilions at the Venice Biennale, and the opening of the Louvre and the Guggenheim on Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, has provided a major boost as well. The Dubai Design & Fashion Council (DDFC) forecasts that UAE’s design industry will be worth $36 billion by 2019, up from $27.6 billion in 2014.
There is more to World Art Dubai than simply buying great art, with a range of exciting visitor activities from inspiring art talks and hands on workshops to interactive art installations.
The ‘Art for every Wall’ section is the perfect place to start art ownership with each piece valued no more than AED3,000. Anyone, regardless of their art buying experience, can come and take home an original work of art the very same day. Creative learning workshops will help unleash creative spirits and promises to immerse visitors in a unique creative experience. Dubai Art Talks will become an invaluable addition to every art lovers’ education. These talks will unravel the world of contemporary art and involve a range of art industry experts and collectors.
Live Painting areas will also open up a series of spaces where artists will perform live painting sessions, incredible 7-minute speed painting demonstrations and ongoing sculpture sessions. Back by popular demand, the Ripe Craft Market will feature a selection of hand-crafted items while the Ripe Organic Stand will offer fresh, local and organic fruit and vegetables.
World Art Dubai is also once again partnering with Repton School to create an exclusive showcase based around the theme of “Water is a source of life” and celebrating the passion, enthusiasm and creativity of the most creative ‘up-and-coming’ young artists.
The regional art scene is also evolving very fast and the appreciation and awareness towards art has grown tremendously over a few years. While art appreciation and creativity have always flourished in certain cities like Cairo and Beirut , whether cinema, theater or art, experts point out that today it is modern metropolises in the Gulf, i.e., Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Doha and Jeddah, that are pushing the arts. Artists in Bahrain also receive support at several levels as it has always been a fertile ground for arts and creativity.
Experts attribute this evolving urban art scene to political developments in traditional hubs together with economic growth in modern Middle Eastern cities, which they feel has been the catalyst for this shift.