Under the patronage of UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the fifth edition of Art Dubai has seen robust interest ahead of its official opening to the public on Thursday, 17 March, as a stream of royal patrons and visitors as well as international and regional museum heads, collectors, curators and artists have taken part in the Jumeirah Patron’s Preview, launch of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize, day one of the Global Art Forum_5 in Doha, and the official ladies’ day held under the Patronage of Her Royal Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Women Establishment, Wife of HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, UAE.
“As some of the leading figures from the regional and international art world have descended on the Emirates to take part in Art Dubai, we look forward to welcoming the members of the public who have supported the fair since 2006, as well as the thousands of keen newcomers, families, and students who we anticipate enjoying all that Art Dubai has to offer over the next three days,” said Antonia Carver, fair director of Art Dubai. “From artist talks and tours to book launches to the artworks from 81 galleries which have already attracted significant interest, there is a tremendous amount to see, do, learn and enjoy at the fifth edition of Art Dubai this weekend.”
Tuesday, 15 March saw a promising opener for the region’s key contemporary art fair, with visits from its royal patron, HH Sheikh Mohammed, as well as Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Collectors and art enthusiasts keenly anticipated their first-ever look at the 2011 Abraaj Capital Art Prize winners, including specially-created pieces by Hamra Abbas, Jananne Al-Ani, Shezad Dawood, Nadia Kaabi-Linke and Timo Nasseri with guest curator Sharmini Perreira. Interest also ran high among guests at the glittering Jumeirah Patron’s Preview for the Van Cleef & Arpels exhibition Les Voyages Extraordinaires, inspired by four stories by the French writer Jules Verne.
Galleries participating in Art Dubai 2011 reported solid interest in a number of works, with Nja Mahdaoui’s drums from the Tunisian Galerie El-Marsa going to a private collector from Saudi Arabia as well as local gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde selling works from Iranian brothers, Romni and Rokni Haerizadeh.
Wednesday, 16 March sees a bustling schedule at Art Dubai; in addition to the royally-sponsored ladies’ day at the fair, the Global Art Forum_5 returns to the Emirates with a focus on the convergence of art and fashion, Iraqi artist Dia Al-Azaawi will launch a retrospective of his colourful masterpieces in book form. To cap off the evening, Art Dubai’s partner START hosts a charity dinner in aid of art education for disadvantaged children in the region, while in the subterranean Art Park, Going Over: The Social Dimensions of Men’s Hair-styling in Kuwait and Beyond is a lecture presented by Fatima Al Qadiri and Khalid Al Gharaballi, commissioned by DIS magazine and Bidoun Projects.
From Thursday, 17 March, Art Dubai 2011 welcomes the public to a diverse range of compelling presentations, events and exhibitions. Must-see activities include artist tours by Malak Helmy, whose Chorus on Fair Dust is set to include a unique auditory experience at Art Dubai, as well as Abhishek Hazra’s : Cantordust Touring Machine, a ‘look’ at the fair by someone whose vision is impeded.
Art Dubai is open on Friday and Saturday from 12noon, with fair officials underscoring the event’s appeal to the widest possible audience. “Whether it’s ‘big ideas’ presented by some of the most innovative minds in the UAE to design souvenirs at the DXB Store under AED 200 to candid discussion on audiences, media and fashion at the Global Art Forum_5, Art Dubai broadens the perspectives of everyone who attends, from students to the most experienced collector,” added fair director Antonia Carver.
Tickets to Art Dubai are available at the door for AED 50 each and entry for children 12 and under is free.