Art Dubai 2024: First details of programmes, exhibitions and commissions revealed

Three-day fair will be held at Madinat Jumeirah from March 1

Art Dubai, a staple of the city's cultural calendar, will return in March. Pawan Singh / The National
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Specifically commissioned works, premieres by international artists and a roster of robust talks and education programmes are on the bill for this year's Art Dubai.

The first details of the fair, now in its 17th year, have been revealed. Major highlights include the Global Art Forum, a recurring component of the fair and its primary conference, and a scheme designed to reach 15,000 pupils at more than 100 schools.

It will be held at Madinat Jumeirahbetween March 1 and 3, with previews being held on February 28 and 29. The event is running under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

Announcing the initial details, Pablo del Val, the event's artistic director, says art fairs like this have a responsibility to be "far more" than commercial platforms.

He adds: "Art Dubai continues to play an important institutional role in this region’s cultural ecosystem, supporting artists, scholarship, cultural education and thought leadership.

“Our programme this year reflects the increasingly diverse and multicultural communities of our home city, providing more opportunities than ever for artists from across the Global South.

"Dubai is a place of relentless reinvention, possibility and opportunity, and these commercial and institutional partnerships are central to all our activity, supporting our world-class non-commercial programmes.”

This year, Global Art Forum will examine how extreme weather can lead to change across multiple frontiers, from the social and scientific to the cultural. The forum, curated by Shumon Basar and Nadine El Khoury, will take place on February 29 and March 1.

Speakers will include Stephanie Rosenthal, director of Guggenheim Abu Dhabi; Samir Bantal, director of the thinktank AMO at Rotterdam’s Office of Metropolitan Architecture; Anne Holtrop, founder of Bahrain architecture company Studio Anne Holtrop; and artists Monira Al Qadiri and Gabriel Alonso.

The fair's Modern and Collector Talks, presented in collaboration with Dubai Collection, will explore the artistic connections spurned during the Cold War. Aimed at stepping away from western focal points, the conversations will examine how Soviet education initiatives and exhibitions influenced artists from South Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Modern and Collector Talks will also highlight the importance of institutional collecting and support for the arts, as well as philanthropy.

The fair’s education component promises to be its most extensive, as the Arm Holding Children’s Programme expands to more than 100 schools, reaching 15,000 young people.

Every year, the programme selects an artist to develop workshops that, once the fair concludes, expand to private, government and special educational needs schools across the country.

Indian artist Sahil Naik has been selected to spearhead this year's programme. The workshops have been devised to prompt children to imagine what future cities will look like. Naik’s sculptural, architectural and arts education-based artistic approach is expected to influence his workshops, incorporating dioramas and explorations of memory.

Campus Art Dubai, the fair’s professional development and traineeship programme, will offer mentorship opportunities, master classes and hands-on experience across the fair. There will also be curated tours of Dubai’s various cultural institutions, giving participants an insight into how to navigate, and join, the city’s creative fabric.

A series of commissioned works, meanwhile, will be rooted in themes of hope and healing, exploring how art can be a transformative power during difficult times. The series includes performances, films and activations. Participating artists, who hail from across the Global South, will create introspective spaces and highlight communal practices that explore various facets of the healing process.

Canadian-Korean artist Krista Kim will present Heart Space, a digital installation that will prompt visitors to form connections through their heartbeats. Each visitor will see their heartbeat rendered with mesmerising patterns on the installation’s LED canvas.

Watchmakers Piaget is set to host The House of Gold, an exhibition that will explore the various symbolic aspects of gold, from its status as a luxury item to its representation of perfection. The House of Gold will feature a collection of jewellery and high-end watches alongside commissioned artworks, as well as workshops and immersive experiences.

“Art Dubai Group is committed to laying foundations for a thriving cultural and creative ecosystem, inspired by and responding to our home city of Dubai,” says Benedetta Ghione, executive director of Art Dubai.

“The cultural scene here is maturing rapidly and we are proud of the role we play in engaging and inspiring audiences of all ages and backgrounds, and in supporting the next generation of cultural professionals."

Updated: January 09, 2024, 2:15 PM