Discussants at World Art Dubai.
Hala Badri, Director General of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, formally opened World Art Dubai on March 16 at Dubai World Trade Centre, touring the venue with a high-profile delegation of dignitaries. With more than 4,000 artworks from 300+ artists and galleries, the eighth instalment of the region’s largest affordable art fair is its biggest yet. It is scheduled to run till March 19. On display are offerings from a cross-section of art disciplines, ranging from mixed media, fashion, music and dance, to sustainability, digital art, photography, graffiti, sculptures, and more. Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are making their debut, with a total of eight exhibitors presenting 60 NFT artworks. “We’re showcasing a replica of the Global Gate at this year’s World Art Dubai, with the original made out of 37 sea freight containers and standing at 21 metres high.
“The installation is made by young artist Leon Lowentraut and selected to travel around the world to represent the 17 SDGs by UNESCO,” said Marcus Schaffer, Managing Partner – Global Gate. “I started Camelson because I felt the market needed specially designed sculptures targeted at expats that embody Dubai’s culture, while being completely unique. “Camelson is a character that incorporates the magic of the city with each of my pieces having a story behind them,” said Hani Naji, artist at Dubai based Camelson. Trixie LohMirmand, Executive Vice President, Dubai World Trade Centre, said: “The variety of artists in World Art Dubai is second to none. The show is not only accessible for all, but a place where serious art collectors can find both gems from artists who embody local culture and international artists who bring with them a regional flavour.
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“We’ve seen an increase of 90 per cent of artists exhibiting with us compared to last year, as well as a 60 per cent increase in galleries.” World Art Dubai – supported by Dubai Culture – welcomes a wide spectrum of exhibitors, from emerging artists using the platform to propel their careers, to established international artists, keen to benefit from reaching a global audience.
Samishka Jawale, Dubai-based Indian artist from Creative Cubes, welcomed the inaugural day sales in just 30 minutes of show opening with their ‘Her Freedom 3’ piece. “We have been participating in World Art Dubai since 2017,” said Jawale. “The piece I sold was all about freedom for women - an important topic which fascinated our buyer.”
Artists giving traction to their stands include MSS Arts & Design, who are displaying their art pieces complete with Swarovski crystals. “While we do international showcases as well, our concept is so well received in Dubai as we have a really strong, receptive audience. Hence we always try to exhibit at World Art Dubai,” said Sarah Moravvej, Artist and Founder – MSS Arts & Design.
Hala Badri, Director General of Dubai Culture.
International galleries include New York-based Tresorie Gallery and Italian heavyweight TV2 Gallery. “We’re exhibiting at World Art Dubai for the first time, bringing with us experience from many international art fairs around the world,” said Heba Elbanna, Gallerist – Tresorie Gallery.
“This is our second year participating with World Art Dubai, giving eight Italian artists the chance to come and exhibit in Dubai for the first time,” said Sanuj Nair, Deputy Director – TV2. “World Art Dubai is one of the greatest platforms for artists in the Middle East because it’s affordable and really focused on helping both emerging and established artists sell their products, to create their own space in the market.” Debut artist grabbing public attention is Dubai-based photographer Jalal Abuthina, who achieved the highest sales on day one.
“This is my first time exhibiting at World Art Dubai and it’s been pleasantly surprising because I ended up selling nine prints, within three hours of show opening of the series I’m exhibiting,” said Abuthina.
“The main reason I wanted to exhibit is because it’s more accessible than many other art fairs in the city and the art which is on sale is more diverse and is priced better for the general population.” “Dubai is one of the upcoming hubs for NFTs, so we’re really excited to be here at World Art Dubai for the first time,” said Liz Carvalho, Art Director – Saphira & Ventura Gallery. We’ve brought a collection of 19 artists from different parts of the world, and we’re pleased to see lots of curious people keen to hear more about NFTs.”
The Urban Art DXB area has also been wowing visitors with visual displays and competitions. Led for the first time by Ahmed Al Rashid, Kuwaiti street artist, the area has expanded beyond the graffiti focus of previous editions, and now incorporates make up faceoffs and vogue dance battles. “As a person who grew up in the 80s and 90s, I wanted to expand people’s understanding of what urban culture really is – I aimed to bring something new and fresh,” said Al Rashid. “Urban Art DXB in 2022 is a total mash up of street style – dance, vogue, skating, hip hop, make up and more. Every day we also have four graffiti artists, which we consider to be the main genre of the space, creating artworks across eight hours at the show. “Fashion is also a huge part of street art and another element we have brought with us is a battle on white mannequins, where our artists aim to design the most creative looks.”
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