Art Dubai 2015, Fabienne  Verdier, Serie Walking-Painting

Already in it’s ninth year, Art Dubai is one of the cornerstones of the Dubai calendar and is fast becoming one of the most intriguing and representative art fairs in the international circuit. Emirates Woman brings you the guide to this year’s edition running from March 18-21, 2015 at the Madinat Jumeirah.

 You might well say Dubai goes a bit art crazy this time of year – Art Dubai forms part of the larger Dubai Art Week which marks the official start of Art Season. While Art Dubai and Design Days Dubai are the anchoring events of the week, there are also two Art Nights at the downtown art galleries in Gate Village, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the burgeoning industrial chic arts cluster of Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz.

Art Dubai itself is an umbrella of various different and thought provoking events and 2015’s programme includes Art Dubai Contemporary, Art Dubai Modern, Marker, Art Dubai Projects, The Abraaj Group Art Prize, Global Art Forum and various educational programmes and workshops.

While Art Dubai remains the predominant showcase for Arab art and artists worldwide, it is becoming an increasingly attractive event for international galleries who are looking to access new markets and audiences and gives them a truly global setting for meeting and exchanging ideas. As Art Dubai’s Fair Director Antonia Carver explains: “Focusing on diversity and quality has enabled Art Dubai to attract the broadest line-up of influential and dynamic galleries.

Each March, the fair – and the UAE in general – becomes a hub for art professionals and enthusiasts, and all those interested in a vision of the art world that is resolutely global.”

Hossein Valamanesh, art dubai contemporary 2015

Hossein Valamanesh, Snakes and Ladders no. 3, 2014, 210 x 210 x 14.0 cm, Courtesy the artist and GAGPROJECTS

These sentiments are reflected in the diversity of the Art Dubai Contemporary exhibition, which is the largest portion of the fair. This year 72 galleries have been selected to participate via a stringent selection process and represent far flung corners of the world such as Mexico, South Africa and China alongside local Dubai favourites such as Carbon 12, Green Art Gallery, Grey Noise and Lawrie Shabibi.

Athi-Patra Ruga, Art Dubai Contemporary,2015

Athi-Patra Ruga, …Manhostage. Uddermaker, 2014, Courtesy of WHATIFTHEWORLD Gallery, Cape Town.

The relative newcomer Art Dubai Modern, launched last year, is a celebration of influential African, Middle Eastern and South Asian artists of the 20th Century up until the year 2000 but with a special emphasis on the modern period spanning the decades from the 1940s to the 1980s. Both regional and international galleries selected by a notable advisory panel will exhibit the work in one or two person shows, which include one of Lebanon’s most influential modern artists Shafic Abboud by Agial Art Gallery in Beirut and a pioneer of Syrian modern art Mahmoud Hammad presented by Green Art Gallery in Dubai.

Mahmoud Hammad, Art Dubai Modern 2015

Mahmoud Hammad, ‘The Shepherds’,1963, 90 x 75 cm, Courtesy of Green Art Gallery, Dubai

Shafic Abboud, Art Dubai Modern 2015

Shafic Abboud, ‘Season II’,1959,130 x 130 cm, Courtesy of Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris

Marker is an opportunity to discover the art of a world region and its relationship to the Arab world. Marker 2015, curated by Luiza Teixeira de Freitas, examines exuberant Latin America. To try and capture the spirit of the region, for the first time Marker will be a multidisciplinary and sensory experience which will include artists’ books, sound projects, performance and film, as well as drawing, painting and installation. The show will consist of 35 artists which includes performance curated by and featuring Colombian artist Maria Jose Arjona, a film programme curated by Videobrasil, and sound art projects by Maria Quiroga and Marina Buendia. The publishing section is presented by a partnership between Sao Paolo’s Tijuana and the UAE’s The State.

Jorge Macchi, Art Dubai 2015

Jorge Macchi, interval, 2012, 40 x 29.5 cm, Courtesy of gallery Alexander and Bonin

The winner of the 2015 Abraaj Group Art Prize, Yto Barrada, will be exhibiting new work at Art Dubai alongside work of the prize’s shortlisted artists Sarnath Banerjee, Setareh Shahbazi and Mounira Al Solh.

Yto Barrada, Art Dubai 2015

Yto Barrada, Reprendre Casa. Carrières centrale, 2013, 60 x 60 cm, Ed. 5 + 2 A.P., Courtesy of Sfeir-Semle Gallery, Beirut / Hamburg

The Global Art Forum is a five day event running from March 14-20, which comprises of live talks around 2015’s topic ‘Download Update?’ This topic aims to discuss and debate ideas about the role of technology in transforming our lives and the way we work, think and create.

 The Art Dubai Projects encapsulated the residencies and commissions that have taken place in the lead-up to the fair such as the three-month A.i.R (Artists in Residency) programme, Campus Art Dubai which will produced Art Dubai Radio over the week and Art Dubai Commissions which has a focus on mid-career artists.

For more information on the fair visit

Images: Top: Fabienne Verdier, Serie Walking-Painting, Polyptyqu N°03, 2013, 366 x 399 cm (six panels), Courtesy of the artist Galerie Jaeger Bucher, Paris


Art Dubai At a Glance…



Palestinian artist Yazan Khalili has been commissioned to give The Art Bar (Art Dubai’s main watering hole) a sensational makeover. The installation at Madinat Jumeirah’s Fort Island will be aptly renamed The Island. Styled into the shape of a mountain, it’s set to be a festival favourite.



As ever, Art Dubai is split into three exciting categories: Contemporary, Modern and Marker. The Marker category, which changes theme every year, will focus on Latin America’s connection with the Arab World. “It includes performance, sound, books and films, as well as drawing and paintings, and is a very dynamic exhibition,” says Antonia Carver. “This is the first time Latin American art has been presented in the Gulf in this way, so it’s very exciting.”



Embracing the digital age, this year’s Global Art Forum will discuss how technology interacts with art and culture. The impressive line-up of speakers includes artists, curators, musicians and writers, and will begin in Kuwait before coming to Dubai on March 18.



The 2015 not-for-profit programme is extensive. As well as a striking exhibition from the winners of the The Abraaj Group Art Prize, there’s a strong focus on education. The Sheikha Manal Little Artists Programme has a huge line-up of workshops and projects for kids from five years up.



400 students have taken part in the internship scheme

91 galleries

50 speakers at the Global Art Forum

40 countries participating