At the climax of Art Month’s 13th instalment, talent, galleries and artists from near and far congregate at Madinat Jumeirah, providing the evidence that art really does transcend borders. This year’s programme boasts big players on regional and international levels, hosting 59 galleries from 34 countries in the Contemporary category alone. This year sees the inaugural Bawwaba section, spotlighting art from the Global South, and a Residents section that gives a special focus to Latin American artists. Dubai’s very own will also be in attendance, with nine participating galleries fresh off Alserkal Avenue.
With all these creative spaces assembled in one place, be sure to seek out the following displays, showcasing a diverse range of art from across the globe…
Agial Art Gallery, Booth C6
A major player in Beirut’s thriving art scene and the contemporary art scene of the whole Arab region, the Lebanese gallery typically shines a light on the work of Levantine and other regional artists, established and emerging alike, as well as holding retrospectives and housing an enviable permanent collection that acts almost as an archive of Middle Eastern modern art, from the pioneers to present day. The gallery plays a leading role in promoting Arab art, with this year’s display comprising Palestinian artist Abdul Rahman Katanani’s evocative barbed wire sculptures, Iraqi native Serwan Baran’s paintings laden with the hugely symbolic dog motif, and Lebanese painter Ayman Baalbaki’s captivating expressionist paintings rooted in the history of his homeland.
VOICE Gallery, Booth D1
The notion behind VOICE Gallery is to create a space for socially engaged art and, by extension, socially engaged discussion. It holds the principle of uniting local and international talent, with a focus on the Maghreb region, close to its heart, equally working to dispel Western stereotypes and show the nuances of African art. The Marrakesh-based gallery showcases five different artists, who are from varied backgrounds, but whose work is heavily inspired by and rooted in the culture of Morocco and the North Africa region: Belgian Eric van Hove, Egyptian Hamdi Attia, Italians Michele Ciacciofera and Salvatore Emblema, and Moroccan M’Barek Bouhchichi, who displays a wooden sculpture inspired by Berber tradition and adorned with poetry in Berber script.
M'Barek Bouhchichi, 'Moroccan Pattern #3', 2018, Acrylic on rubber, 115 x 200cm. Courtesy of the artist and VOICE Gallery
Galerie Krinzinger, Booth F1
The Vienna-based space has traditionally supported young Austrian talent, but founder Dr Ursula Krinzinger recently added a variety of Asian and Middle Eastern names to the roster, including Kader Attia, Waqas Khan, Maha Malluh, Sudarshan Shetty and Zhang Ding. A whole host of artists will be on show at the art fair, from Belgian Hans Op de Beeck with his powerful monochrome sculpture of tabletop objects, to Dubai-based Iranian trio Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian and their vibrant, eclectic collages, to Austria’s own Brigitte Kowanz’s striking light installations, to Lebanese Alfred Tarazi’s nostalgic newspaper-collage-like digital prints.
Dastan’s Basement, Booth C2
Leading the way on Tehran’s buzzing experimental art scene, Dastan’s Basement provides its characteristically immersive experience, which it often does back home, beyond the walls of its Fereshteh-Street gallery. The gallery has on its roster some of the most influential names in Iranian contemporary art, no least pioneer Fereydoun Ave, modernist Farshid Maleki and the late illustrator Ardeshir Mohasses. Supporting, as always, young, up-and-coming Iranian talent, this year’s line-up includes: Sepand Danesh, whose signature illusive paintings depict corners in domestic spaces, furnished with shelves and vibrant wallpaper; Sam Samiee, whose striking paintings play with dimensions; Mohammad Hossein Gholamzadeh, whose giant myth-inspired sculpture is the space's centrepiece and will surely live on in the online sphere.
Sepand Danesh, 'Stonehendge', 2016, Acrylic and Spray Paint on Canvas, 135 x 110cm. Courtesy of Sepand Danesh and Dastan's Basement
Zilberman Gallery, Booth B12
The forward-thinking space, housed in Istanbul and Berlin, represents the top tier of Turkish talent, but has equally forged close ties with a number of international creatives. This week, the gallery brings great variety with displays ranging from Egyptian trailblazer Heba Amin’s activist oeuvres, to Guido Casaretto’s powerful, earthy sculptures, to Eşref Yıldırım’s colourful, expressionist-style multimedia portraits.
Victoria Miro, Booth B9
Consistently at the fore of London’s cutting-edge contemporary art landscape, the gallery prides itself on a roster of top international artists – the likes of Celia Paul, Grayson Perry, Chantal Joffe, William Eggleston and Elmgreen & Dragset. The artists exhibiting in the upcoming days are the following: Yayoi Kusama, a recent sell-out at the gallery’s North London space; Alex Hartley, who conceived a custom garden for the London space; Idris Khan, designer of the UAE’s Memorial Park; British sculptor Conrad Shawcross; sculptor Do Ho Suh with his signature brightly coloured, translucent architectural structures; Canadian installation artist Stan Douglas, deconstructing the idea of utopia; the prolific Doug Aitken’s mirror-inspired oeuvres.
Idris Khan, 'Silence 2', 2017, Blue ink stamped glass on metal panel, Courtesy of Victoria Miro
Addis Fine Art, Booth C15
The Addis Ababa-based gallery has built a name for itself as a leading African art gallery since its inception in 2013. It recently opened a space in London, acting as a bridge between local and international art markets and staying true to its essence of providing a platform for talent from the Horn of Africa and its diaspora, promoting it on the global stage. A space that was the first of its kind Ethiopia, it exhibits work by Ethiopian master modernist painter Tadesse Mesfin, whose compelling paintings of figures in columnar arrangements celebrate the women and colours of eastern Ethiopian cities, as well as work by Mesfin’s former student Addis Gezehagn, whose compositions depict deconstructed cityscapes and architectural structures.
OTA Fine Arts, Booth E1
The gallery’s first location was in Tokyo, but the pioneering space now also has a strong presence in both Singapore and Shanghai. Subsequent to its expansion, it has added acclaimed artists to its roster, including Yayoi Kusama and Rina Banerjee. With a focus on Japanese artists but representing art that spans the whole of the Asian continent, the gallery seeks common ties between artists across the whole region and encourages collaboration between artists from around Asia. Kusama has multiple paintings on display this week as well as her signature flower sculptures, and Chinese artist Chen Wei exhibits ethereal photographs of empty nightclub scenes.
Detail from 'LET'S WALK THIS LIFE', Yayoi Kusama, 2016, Acrylic on canvas, 194 x 194 cm. Courtesy of Yayoi Kusama and Ota Fine Arts, Singapore/Shanghai/Tokyo
Art Dubai runs from 20-23 March at Madinat Jumeirah.
Press play for the highlights of Abu Dhabi Art 2018...