10 artworks you must see at Art Dubai 2024

From Emirati artists to digital works and renowned icons of the art world, here are our favourite pieces from this year's fair

Art Dubai 2024 features works from 120 galleries including Mother and Child by Chandraguptha Thenuwara. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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Art Dubai 2024's diverse offering this year ranges in style, medium and geography.

Now in its 17th year and held at Madinat Jumeirah from Friday to Sunday, the fair features 120 galleries from more than 40 countries, where art enthusiasts can wander and get their fix of every kind of artwork imaginable.

From the abstract to the figurative and the digital and the modern, there’s plenty of incredible work to check out. Not sure where to start? The National has curated a list of our favourite art pieces that you must see.

Charm Anklet by Summer Wheat – Contemporary Section

Summer Wheat’s vibrant work is certainly eye-catching.

At first glance, the US artist's large-scale works – Charm Anklet and Claws at the Zidoun-Bossuyt Gallery booth – instantly attract the viewer to her expressive forms and colour combination.

The works initially appear to be colossal embroidered pieces, when in fact Wheat uses a particular technique to create this tactile effect.

She applies acrylic paint at the back of the painting, which she pushes through the grooves of the canvas, slowly and precisely, with the paint taking the form of its surface.

Mirror of the Mind series by Krista Kim – Digital Section

The work of acclaimed digital artist Krista Kim is mesmerising and harks back to her desire to create experiential, meditative moments for the viewer.

Displayed in the digital section of the festival, the series entitled Mirror of the Mind v.3, v.7 and v.8 shows jewelled globes on screens, combining Kim’s technical skill with her interest in light and colour.

She is one of the few artists who present digital work in a way that doesn’t feel as though it's on the screen, but connects with the viewer through its colour and composition as a traditional artwork would.

Bon Appetit III by Carlos Aires – Contemporary Section

Bon Appetit III by Carlos Aires (2021) consists of porcelain glazed plates, forex and magnets. Displayed in Zilberman Gallery from Istanbul, the work is beautifully presented and comments on several familial, historical and domestic themes.

The piece also showcases an innovative combination of traditional representations of print and drawing on coveted material such as porcelain in a contemporary way.

Man & Mountain No. 3 by Hassan Sharif – Dubai Collection

Man & Mountain No. 3 by the renowned Emirati artist and writer Hassan Sharif is part of the Encounters exhibition presented by Dubai Collection. This year, it displays diverse work from UAE artists across several generations, genres and styles.

This work is a striking example of his command over large-scale canvasses, masterfully creating atmosphere through composition, colour schemes and gesture.

Sharif was one of the few Arab artists who rejected calligraphic abstraction, being more interested in a contemporary and experimental approach.

Thickets XXI by Sandra Strele – Contemporary Section

This unconventionally shaped painting by Sandra Strele is made with acrylic, water-based paint and pigments on canvas.

Thickets XXI is from her series entitled Exhibitions That Never Happened, which suggests the concepts of pieces that were either never meant to exist or an exhibition that never took place.

Strele’s style is interesting in that she references many other artistic practices and influences such as the work of David Hockney, while adding her own distinct voice.

Mother and Child II by Chandraguptha Thenuwara – Modern Section

Renowned Sri Lankan artist Chandraguptha Thenuwara’s Mother and Child is an emotive portrait of a traditional theme, executed in his own distinct style.

Displayed by Saskia Fernando Gallery in the Modern section of the fair, the painting draws on a number of symbolic motifs like barrels, barricades, lotuses, guns, soldiers and conceptual figures that are camouflaged in the background, commenting on the state of Sri Lanka’s history and society.

Sculptures by Alia Hussain Lootah – Contemporary Section

Emirati artist Alia Hussain Lootah’s delicate but substantial sculptures are a must-see.

Playing with a number of contrasting concepts, from the soft and hard, to the industrial and organic, along with weight and materiality, Lootah's sculptures are considered and wonderfully presented to the viewer.

Untitled by Marcos Grigorian – Modern Section

This is an incredibly powerful work by Iranian-Armenian artist Marcos Grigorian.

Like much of his work, Untitled uses organic materials such as hay, straw, sand, soil and clay to create harmonious geometric compositions.

Grigorian is known for his exploration of themes such as the Holocaust, land art, and the human condition.

Ur-schrift ovvero Avant-testo by Irma Blank – Contemporary Section

Based on a printed text that she transcribed in ink, Ur-schrift ovvero Avant-testo by Irma Blank is an intimate work that showcases her meticulous and masterful craft as an artist.

She has always aimed to create work that is universal and, in essence, draws language without using words while connecting with the viewer on some level.

Don't Pull My Hair by Afra Al Dhaheri – Dubai Collection

Emirati conceptual artist Afra Al Dhaheri's sculpture invites people to have a moment of stillness as they observe the materiality and her composition.

Entitled, Don’t Pull My Hair, the sculpture – and a large body of Al Dhaheri’s work – are influenced by the concept and symbolism of hair from a personal, regional and universal perspective.

Andachtsbild #716 by Christian Eckart – Contemporary Section

Christian Eckart’s Andachtsbild #716 painting is part of a series that explored Andachtsbilder – a German term used to describe Christian devotional images used as aids for prayer.

However, they were often commissioned by the merchant class in the 18th century and are seen as the roots of what we now refer to as the concept of capitalism.

Eckart takes these themes that intersect between art, commerce and religion and reframes them in a contemporary context while still referencing the 18th-century art movement through the use of gold and framing.

Art Dubai 2024 will take place at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, from Friday to Sunday. More information is available at www.artdubai.ae

Updated: March 01, 2024, 11:22 AM