Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai officially opened Art Dubai for its fourth edition yesterday. In a special early preview of the fair of which he is Honorary Patron, His Highness toured the works on display and spoke to some of the 72 galleries participating in the four day event.
Now in its fourth year, the Middle East’s best attended contemporary art event saw record numbers of international and regional collectors attending the Jumeirah Patrons’ Preview. Leading international and regional galleries from 31 countries presented over 1500 works of art by nearly 500 artists.
The opening of Art Dubai was enthusiastically received by visitors including collectors, art professionals and institutional curators from around the world who spoke of the exceptional quality and diversity of this year’s exhibition and galleries reporting strong sales from the outset.
“We are delighted with the confident start for this year’s edition and the overwhelming support of the guests attending last night’s opening”, commented Fair Director, John Martin. “Collectors and institutional buyers have come to Art Dubai to discover new artists and meet some of the most innovative galleries from around the world. There was an incredible sense of anticipation before the doors opened on the gallery halls and before the inauguration of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize”.
Monitoring the first night’s glamourous opening, Canvas Daily noted significant sales for most participating galleries, with returning galleries such Grosvenor Vadhera selling an important work by the Pakistani artist Sadaquain for over $200,000 and Zurich-based Galerie Kashya Hildebrand selling a Ran Hwang piece for $55,000. First-time participant Aaran Gallery sold six works by contemporary Iranian artists for a total of $24,800. Attendees also assembled on the evening of Tuesday, 16 March to witness the unveiling of the eagerly anticipated Abraaj Capital Art Prize. The world’s richest art prize celebrates the evolution of artists across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia and this year, for the first time, a People’s Choice gives the public the chance to pick their favourite work from the final three selected pieces over the course of the three days. Winners of the 2010 Abraaj Capital Art Prize are Egyptian artist Hala Elkoussy with curator Jelle Bouwhuis; Lebanese artist Marwan Sahmarani with curator Mahita El Bacha Urieta; and Algerian artist Kader Attia with curator Laurie Ann Farrell. From Thursday to Saturday, Art Dubai will see its broadest-ever range of activities, making the Middle East’s largest annual art event a must-visit destination for anyone with an interest in the visual arts. Art Dubai will be open to the public eye from 4pm to 10pm on Thursday, 18 March, from 12pm to 8pm on Friday, 19 March, and from 12pm to 6pm on Saturday, 20 March.
Art Dubai is a subsidiary of the Dubai International Financial Centre and is held in partnership with Abraaj Capital and sponsored by Van Cleef & Arpels.