Art Dubai 2009 Sees Increased Attendance and Strong Sales

Published March 26th, 2009 - 08:24 GMT

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, Art Dubai 2009 has ended with record attendance figures and strong buying reported from both regional and international private collectors and museums.
Held at the Madinat Jumeirah over five days, Art Dubai saw approximately 14,000 visitors including 4000 overseas participants. With widespread critical praise from the world’s press, Art Dubai has confirmed its role as the premier contemporary art fair in the Middle East and a significant new platform for galleries and artists across Asia, Europe and North America. Art Dubai, this year, featured the unveiling of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize, the third Global Art Forum, special programmes of video and performance art, the opening of the Van Cleef & Arpel’s exhibition The Art of Magical Jewels and the launch of the DEYAAR Visual Arts Internship programme, which is seeing the participation of over 60 students from across the UAE.
“The success of Art Dubai, in terms of the quality and breadth of attendance and the scope of complementary activities, will enhance both Dubai’s development as a cultural hub and the growth of art in the Gulf region,” said His Excellency Dr. Omar bin Sulaiman, Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre and Chairman of Art Dubai.
“With two-thirds of participating galleries coming from abroad, Art Dubai 2009 has stamped its mark as a leading international fair. The event attracted several major museum directors and facilitated significant new collaborations with regional art centres such as Doha, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi.  At the same time, we’ve seen art being celebrated across Dubai this week, from the heritage area of Bastakiya to DIFC and the Madinat Jumeirah,” added HE Dr. Omar bin Sulaiman.
“The galleries responded to the challenges of the world economy with well considered exhibitions of exceptional quality confirming the resilience and adaptability of the contemporary art market both internationally as well as in the Middle East,” said John Martin, Director and Co-Founder of Art Dubai. “Discovery was a crucial theme of this year’s fair – galleries brought a wide range of new artists into the market and collectors reacted extremely positively to this mix of new names and new works.”

Art Dubai 2009 saw considered buying from both established and new collectors, while making new contacts and building relationships with buyers in the UAE and abroad.
“One of the more intriguing sides of this global world comes into play as western galleries bring works by Middle Eastern artists who are then discovered by their compatriots here at Art Dubai,” said the Director of Galerie Kashya Hildebrand, Zurich. “This is the first time we participated at Art Dubai and it has enlarged our list of contacts and as well as our vision profoundly. We are very pleased with the result of this fair.”
Elementa from Dubai participated for the first time ever in an art fair. “We are impressed by the fact that so many international collectors bought from us, we could have done with a few more sales but considering the current climate, the result was good. We made wonderful contacts at this perfectly run art fair.”
“It could always be better, it could always be worse,” knows Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin from Paris. “We are very happy by the way we have been treated by the organizers, this fair has a great level of galleries and stands.” The gallery also mentions the incredible quality of local collectors who came to the fair and especially pointed out also the huge number of museum groups that traveled to Art Dubai from all over the world.
Sale highlights from the fair included:
- New York-based gallery Goff + Rosenthal’s stand, featuring pieces by Iraqi-born artist Ahmed Alsoudani, sold out
- Athr Gallery from Jeddah sold the majority of their works on their debut at Art Dubai
- Sfeir-Semler gallery, with branches in Lebanon and Germany, sold pieces to both American museums and European collectors
- Beirut-based Agial gallery, which sold more than 80% of its pieces
“The conclusion which can be drawn from Art Dubai 2009 is that there remains a robust appreciation in the market for artwork of the highest quality, with art fairs such as ours enabling galleries to introduce new artists and foster the development of new collections.  Attracting some of the world’s most important museum heads alongside schoolchildren with artistic aspirations, Art Dubai demonstrated that the cultural landscape of Dubai has exceptional depth and vibrancy,” said John Martin, co-founder and director of Art Dubai.

For further information about the Art Dubai, participating galleries, art projects, events and the education programme please visit

Art Dubai is a subsidiary of the Dubai International Financial Centre and is held in partnership with Abraaj Capital. Madinat Jumeirah is the exclusive hotel partner for the event.

Art Dubai will also feature ‘The Art of Magical Jewels’, a museum quality exhibition, curated by Van Cleef & Arpels.

As the education partner of Art Dubai, DEYAAR enables more than 60 interns and university students to play an integral role in the fair.

Contemparabia is a joint initiative of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH); Art Dubai; the Sharjah Biennial; and the Qatar Museums Authority.  

START is the official CSR programme of Art Dubai. For more information, visit

For regional press enquiries, please contact Courtney Stuart, The Portsmouth Group,
E-mail:, Phone: +971 4 369 3571
For international press enquiries, please contact Laura Piscaer, at Brunswick Arts Consulting LLP, E-mail:, Phone: +44 (20) 7396 5324

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