Top 12 booths to see at Art Dubai as it returns home to Madinat Jumeirah for 2022

Dubai's pre-eminent art fair is back to its original location with more than 100 participating galleries

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After a scaled-down event last year, Art Dubai returns to its home in Madinat Jumeirah with its most extensive list of participating galleries in its 15-year history.

Open to the public from Friday, March 11, the three-day art fair includes more than 100 contemporary, modern and digital galleries from more than 40 countries. More than half of this list is made up of names from the Global South, as Art Dubai furthers its aim of becoming the go-to for art outside of the typical western circuit.

Big-name galleries will still be present, from Perrotin — which has recently announced the opening of a 100-square-metre space in the Dubai International Financial Centre — to Galleria Continua, Templon and Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery. Dubai's Meem Gallery, Green Art Gallery, The Third Line, Lawrie Shabibi, Ayyam Gallery and Leila Heller Gallery are also taking part.

Scroll through the gallery above for pictures from Art Dubai 2022.

Among the highlights of the fair is the modern section curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, who opted for muted gray walls instead of the usual bright white, allowing the colours of the works to take centre stage.

In addition, the Bawwaba section curated by cultural theorist Nancy Adajania brings together works by artists from Angola, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru and Nigeria to create a varied display.

Here are 12 booths you should not miss at Art Dubai this year:

Canvas Gallery

Wardha Shabbir's paintings at the Canvas Gallery booth at this year's Art Dubai. Photo: Antonie Robertson / The National

Canvas Gallery from Karachi is showcasing vivid works by miniaturist Wardha Shabbir. Despite their flatness, Shabbir’s paintings have an architectural aspect with their renderings of pathways, courtyards and unique spaces covered in verdant flora.

Booth G6, Bawwaba section

Rele Gallery

Tonia Nneji’s paintings at the Rele Gallery booth. Photo: Antonie Robertson / The National

The women in Tonia Nneji’s paintings are hard to miss or forget. Posing in bold colours or next to dramatic drapery, the figures, cast in blue-black hues, express the artist’s struggles with chronic illness. In creating these works, Nneji seeks to represent communities that have suffered in silence.

Her work is showcased by Rele Gallery from Lagos, which is joining Art Dubai for the first time this year.

Booth G2, Bawwaba section

Gallery Artbeat

Having started as a project space in Tbilisi in 2014, Gallery Artbeat has grown to extend its network internationally through fairs such as Nada Miami, Artissima, Art Cologne and Art Dubai.

For its participation this year, the gallery has a playful presentation by Maia Naveriani, John Riepenhoff and Keti Kapanadze. Particularly eye-catching are Naveriani’s coloured pencil drawings Back to Monkeys and Kapanadze’s retro-looking assemblages titled Inch.

Booth B15, Contemporary section

Nature Morte

Showing at Art Dubai for the first time, Nature Morte from New Delhi brings works by abstract artist Mona Rai, who has produced a series of nine works on paper specifically for the fair.

Made with various materials, the collage-like works continue Rai’s interest in Minimalism and Expressionism, as well as the artist’s mapping of her own perceptions and psychology.

Booth G4, Bawwaba section

Dastan’s Basement / 2+ Gallery / Parallel Circuit

Dastan’s Basement / 2+ Gallery / Parallel Circuit's booth at Art Dubai. Photo: Antonie Robertson / The National

Populating one booth, these three galleries from Tehran bring together artists who have shown with them in the past: Fereydoun Ave, Nasser Bakhshi, Maryam Eivazi, Hoda Kashiha and Meghdad Lorpour, among others.

Standout pieces include Bakhshi’s boxes and suitcases containing images of slightly unsettling bits of anatomy – dark shadowy snippets of eyes, heads and hands. Based on his own recollections, these painted scenes are placed by the artist inside boxes found across his home city of Tabriz, folding in memories into his assemblages.

Booth C1, Contemporary section

X-ist Istanbul

Murat Palta’s works at the X-ist Istanbul booth. Photo: Antonie Robertson / The National

Pokemon characters Squirtle, Jigglypuff and Charmander are given the miniature painting treatment in Murat Palta’s works, while the intricate works on paper by Serkan Yuksel open up to symbolic readings of politics and society through collage and stencil techniques at X-ist Istanbul's booth.

The gallery has been around since 2013, showcasing young artists from Turkey’s contemporary arts scene. In recent years, it has also begun representing international artists and has collaborated with institutions around the world.

Booth E7, Contemporary section

Volte Art Projects

A new work by Nalini Malani at the Volte Art Projects booth. Photo: Antonie Robertson / The National

A new work by Nalini Malani is one of the highlights of Volte Art Projects’ booth, which also has a 12-panel painting by the artist along with a towering metal sculpture by Wim Delvoye and works by Anish Kapoor, Sujata Bajaj, Studio Drift and Shahzia Sikander.

The gallery from Mumbai opened its Dubai space in September last year and has pulled out all the stops for Art Dubai 2022, with three presentations, including a solo of Raghava KK’s digital works at the fair’s digital section and a screening of Martha Fiennes’ generative AI film Yugen.

Booth F9, Contemporary section

Tabari Artspace

Maitha Abdalla's paintings and sculpture at the Tabari Artspace booth. Photo: Antonie Robertson / The National

Tabari Artspace’s beautifully designed booth houses the works of Maitha Abdalla, whose excavates childhood memories and Emirati folklore through unusual assemblages, sculptures and paintings.

The Dubai gallery is presenting new paintings by Abdalla at Art Dubai this year, as well as the large-scale sculpture The Wild In (2022) of wrestling hybrid animals, one half-bird and half-man, the other half-man, half-pig.

Tabari’s second booth is showing luminous and delicate works by Hazem Harb.

Booth F10, Contemporary section

Agial Art Gallery

Works by Bibi Zogbe at Agial Art Gallery booth. Photo: Antonie Robertson / The National

In this tribute to the late Lebanese artist Bibi Zogbe, Agial Art Gallery from Lebanon is presenting her works made from 1930 to 1975. Zogbe is known for her paintings of flowers, reflecting her interest in planting her own garden and growing flowers that reminded her of her homeland.

Booth M9, Modern section

Aicon Gallery

Solo presentation of KS Kulkarni at Aicon Gallery's booth. Photo: Antonie Robertson / The National

Born in 1916, KS Kulkarni was known for his pictorial style that combined techniques of classical Indian painting and modernist elements. Studying at the JJ School of Art in 1940, he worked in textile design and went on to become a member of the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society.

In this solo booth of the artist’s work at Aicon Gallery from New York, we see a range of works, from the artist’s semi-abstract portraits, made with bold and dark strokes, to more abstract and bright pieces.

Booth M6, Modern section

Postmasters

Gracelee Lawrence's 3D printed sculptures at the Postmasters booth. Photo: Antonie Robertson / The National

The gallery's booth within the fair’s digital art section abounds with 3D-printed plastic fruit. Postmasters, which opened in New York in the 1990s, has worked with digital art, including net.art, for decades.

Currently, the booth features works by Gracelee Lawrence, who is behind the fruit works and their corresponding NFTs, as well as Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, whose Quantum Leap is a 2021 generative work that builds on the latter’s 2014 work Quantum, dubbed as the first artwork tokenized on the blockchain.

There’s also artist duo LoVid’s psychedelic Hugs on Tape animations; Olive Allen’s Sheeple Punk and renders by fakeshamus.

Postmasters, Booth X1, Digital art section

AI film screening

Moving-image artwork 'Yugen' by Martha Fiennes is on view in Art Dubai's inaugural digital art section

A female figure in white travels through bizarre scenes, including barren landscapes and opulent halls. Played by Salma Hayek, the character exists in the world of the subconscious, moving through hallucinatory scenes. In Yugen (2018), Martha Fiennes uses generative computer coding technology that creates a continuous display built on layers of pre-recorded sequences and scenes. The digital backgrounds are perpetually in-flux, so the film does not have a clear beginning or ending.

The moving-image artwork has been brought to the fair through Volte Art Projects.

On view at the Art Dubai Digital Art section

Art Dubai will take place from 2pm-9pm on March 11 and 12, and noon-6pm on March 13 at Madinat Jumeirah. Tickets cost Dh60 for one-day entry, and Dh100 for a three-day entry, and are available at artdubai.ae

Updated: March 11, 2022, 6:27 AM