The First Major Contemporary International Art Fair launches in the Middle East

Published January 28th, 2007 - 06:51 GMT

Forty of the world’s leading contemporary and modern galleries gather in Dubai in March for the first DIFC Gulf Art Fair.

Under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the fair opens with an exclusive Patrons’ Preview on Wednesday 7th March. This will be followed the next evening with a Charity Opening in aid of START. With its global mix of artists, galleries and a VIP programme organized by Quintessentially and the Jumeirah Group, the DIFC Gulf Art Fair offers international collectors the chance to see the finest contemporary art in the stunning beach-side setting of Madinat Jumeirah.

Amongst the international line up of galleries taking part are Bodhi Art (Singapore), Max Lang (New York), SCAI Bathhouse (Tokyo), Albion (London), White Cube (London), Pekin Fine Arts (Beijing), Ben Brown (London), Forsblom (Helsinki), Krinzinger (Vienna), Hyundai (Seoul), Gallery Chemould (Mumbai) and the Third Line (Dubai). The growing significance of the Asian art market is represented by the participation of galleries such as Continua (San Gimignano/Beijing), Sfeir Semler (Hamburg/Beirut) and Bose Pacia/Nature Morte (New York/New Delhi) who now operate successful galleries from within Asia as well as the West.

“Dubai is set to become a major centre for the global art market. Situated within easy reach of Russia, India and South East Asia, it is ideally placed to become the focal point for some of the most exciting new art markets in the world.  In bringing together the most innovative art in one of the world’s most dynamic countries, the Gulf Art Fair hopes to establish Dubai as Asia’s leading centre for contemporary art.” said Mr. John Martin, Director, and DIFC Gulf Art Fair.

A three-day educational programme sponsored by Sotheby’s will bring international speakers to discuss aspects of contemporary art and collecting.  There will be planned site-specific installations by international artists like Subodh Kerkhar, Patricia Millns, Nadim Karam, Parviz Tanavoli, and Lara Baladi. A complementary fair celebrating contemporary regional art organised by Dubai’s growing number of contemporary galleries will take place along the Creek, coordinated by The Third Line. With the official support of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, and the UAE Minister of Culture, His Excellency Abdul Rahman Al Owais, the DIFC Gulf Art Fair will make a significant contribution to the cultural life of the region.

The proceeds from ticket sales and the charity dinner will help towards establishing a cultural foundation called START to provide funding for children’s art workshops in deprived communities in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.

For press enquiries please contact Katie Taylor at Brunswick Arts Consulting LLP, 16 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3ED, E:, T: +44 (0) 20 7936 1280.

• Biography, John Martin, Gulf Art Fair Director

John Martin opened his gallery in the West End of London in 1992 dealing with contemporary British and Irish art.  He has organised nearly 200 exhibitions both in Britain and the U.S during the last 14 years, published over 100 books and catalogues and produced three films. In 1999 he helped establish ARTLONDON with Ralph Ward-Jackson, and continues to sit on the advisory committee for the event.  Television appearances include ‘Heist’ (Channel 4) and ITN. He is a member of the Society of London Art Dealers and for four years chaired a committee of The Art Fund. He lives on the Suffolk coast with his wife and two sons.

• Opening times: Wednesday 7th March (by invitation only); Thursday 8th March 7-11pm (tickets 200 Dhs); Friday 9th and Saturday 10th March 4-10pm (tickets 80 Dhs)

• Press Preview: Wednesday 7th March 5-7pm.

• Details on START can be found at Contact: Anthony Dawton/ Tel: +44 207 3701966

• For further information on Quintessentially please visit





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