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Life & Style

Art Dubai 2023 opens with focus on the 'Global South'

Published March 2, 2023
Installation view, Art Dubai 2023, Madinat Jumeirah. Photo: Art Dubai
Installation view, Art Dubai 2023, Madinat Jumeirah. Photo: Art Dubai

Art Dubai is back and opened for previews on Wednesday, March 1. It will open to the public on Friday, March 3, and will run till March 5 at the Madinat Jumeirah. Art Dubai’s focus this year is on the Global South, symbolising Dubai’s role as a meeting and cultural hub.

The galleries this year are divided into four sections comprising Contemporary, Modern, Bawaaba (‘Gateway’ in Arabic) and Digital. The 16th edition of the fair is more extensive as compared to 2022 with over 130 galleries from 36 countries as well as a larger and more diverse programme.

The Patrons preview on Wednesday was buzzing with collectors, art professionals and enthusiasts, and Pakistan’s role within the Global South was reflected in the amount of Pakistani artists represented at the fair.

Adeela Suleman, 'Orpheus Descending.' Handmade applique work on pure silk jamawar with resham (silk) banarsi zari, adorned with ornamental hand and machine embroidery. Photo: Art Dubai.
Adeela Suleman, 'Orpheus Descending.' Handmade applique work on pure silk jamawar with resham (silk) banarsi zari, adorned with ornamental hand and machine embroidery. Photo: Art Dubai.

Pakistan's Canvas Gallery to showcase at 16th edition of Art Dubai

At the opening press conference, Pablo Val, the Artistic Director of Art Dubai, commented: "For nearly two decades, Art Dubai has been a place to discover and celebrate new trends, creating and facilitating conversations and celebrating the strength of creative output across the Global South.

“A very, very large percentage of the content is coming from Africa, Middle East, Latin America, South Asia and Central Asia, so it’s truly fantastic that you are going to see amazing examples coming from these parts of the world.

“We are really happy to be a window to these geographies, and being able to bring to Dubai precisely the best from these regions.”

Among Pakistani art, Waqas Khan’s work titled ‘Detonate’, an ink on paper work, was presented by Galerie Krinzinger. Khan’s works were popular at the fair, with many walking through the booth to view the intricate work. He is also represented by Sabrina Amrani, a Madrid-based gallery that had displayed a large black archival ink work of Khan titled ‘You, Me, Everyone’.

Amrani’s booth also highlighted two other Pakistani artists. Ayesha Jatoi’s black graphite on paper works and Ali Gillani’s wasli (handmade paper used in miniature painting) works. Clearly evident through these works and the galleries was the important role the Global South plays in the art sphere and how Art Dubai is facilitating exposure within the region.

Adeela Suleman 'Armageddon.' Repousse and Chasing on Copper and Brass Sheet. Photo: Art Dubai.
Adeela Suleman 'Armageddon.' Repousse and Chasing on Copper and Brass Sheet. Photo: Art Dubai.

With focus on digital, ‘Art Dubai 2022’ concludes

Canvas Gallery, the only Pakistani gallery exhibiting at Art Dubai, exhibited a solo presentation of Adeela Suleman’s work.

Speaking exclusively with Business Recorder, Suleman noted that her work refers to “notions of memory and the struggle of living in a turbulent ecosystem”, and that in taking inspiration from Miniature manuscripts and Ottoman figures, she is “interpreting the idea of then and now.”

The booth displayed the different mediums she works in, including metal works, ceramic plate works and tapestries.

“The exposure that Art Dubai provides to collectors, institutions and museums as a lot of people don’t have access to Pakistan and that Dubai has become a haven for these interactions,” she concluded. The booth was popular with important figures such as artist Rasheed Araeen stopping by to view the works.

Rasheed Araeen 'Guftugu 1A.' Photo: Art Dubai.
Rasheed Araeen 'Guftugu 1A.' Photo: Art Dubai.

Other Pakistani artists also represented at the fair include Hamra Abbas at Lawrie Shabibi while Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery is presenting works by Maha Ahmed, a Pakistani artist based in Dubai.

London-based Grosvenor Gallery has taken an interesting direction this year with a booth centered around the colour red. The artists were encouraged to use the medium of red in their works and there were new works by Mohammed Ali Talpur, Muzzumil Ruheel and Ghulam Mohammed.

Muzzumil Ruheel 'Navigating Through.' Photo: Art Dubai.
Muzzumil Ruheel 'Navigating Through.' Photo: Art Dubai.

Design and culture take centre stage as Art Week Dubai kicks off next month

Art Dubai is important in highlighting the cross-border interactions that are taking place between Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and the wider South Asian Region. Jhaveri Contemporary as well as Seoul-based Barakat Contemporary have presented works by Shehzad Dawood, a multidisciplinary artist based in London.

Wardha Shabbir, who presented an incredibly successful solo booth with Canvas Gallery at Art Dubai in 2022, is represented at Art Dubai this year by Delhi-based Latitude 28.

Latitude 28 has also brought works by Khadim Ali -- a large red tapestry that is the focal point of the booth. Risham Syed, who currently has a solo show running at the Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai, is presented by Mumbai-based Project 88.

The Art Dubai Commission this year is titled ‘Chaupal: A Journey Through South Asia’ and includes live performance works by 10 leading South Asian artists. The purpose-built space reflects the gathering spaces in villages where community discussion traditionally occurred.

Daastanagoi, a Pakistani gallery, presented a live performance work for the very first time at Art Dubai. The performance took place by Pakistani artist Faraz Ali that discussed the importance of the Pak Tea House in Lahore as a cultural space that encouraged conversations and community gathering. While discussing his piece, Ali commented on “the parallels between Pak Tea House and Art Dubai and its role in encouraging dialogue and interaction.”

The work also included the recitation of poetry by Faiz Ahmed Faiz highlighting his pivotal role within the cultural sphere of Pakistan.

Pakistan artists set to showcase at Art Dubai 2022

The continuation of the Digital Section highlighting NFTs signals that its here to stay and in conjunction with the Christies Art + Tech Summit, encourages artists and galleries to use technology as a new medium not just to create but also present work. The Digital section proved popular with many young collectors exploring the space. The Upside Space presented an NFT of Muhammed Atif Khan’s work titled, ‘Joy of Freedom.’

Also evident were galleries that feature in the international roster such as Continua and Perrotin, alongside plenty Dubai-based galleries. Art Dubai’s 2023 edition is showcasing the largest presence of home-grown galleries and notable names such as Meem Gallery, Third Line, and first time exhibitor, Efie Gallery.

The fair will also see the return of the Global Art Forum, the debut of Christie’s Art + Tech Summit in the region, the addition of the new programme called Art Business Conference and the South Asia-focused, Art Dubai Commission programme.

A busy preview day highlighted the importance Art Dubai plays in the art ecosystem, while the theme focusing on the Global South allows for the art world to see the representation of countries such as Pakistan among the wider South Asian diaspora and the proliferation of art within the region.

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