Art Dubai to donate 25 per cent of ticket sales to Ukrainian refugees

Fair organisers said the donations will be given through Unicef

Visitors observe artistic installations during the preview of Art Dubai 2022. Getty Images
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Organisers of Art Dubai will donate 25 per cent of ticket sales from its 2022 event to Ukrainian refugees.

The 15th art fair opens on Friday and will run until Sunday. More than 100 galleries from around 40 countries are participating across three sections, one of the annual event's biggest showing yet.

The donation initiative was first reported in The Art Newspaper. During a VIP preview ahead of the opening, Tbilisi's Gallery Artbeat draped the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag on its booth table to show solidarity with the country. A representative for the fair responded to this gesture, saying it believes in the rights of participants to express support for the country and added that a portion of the ticket sales would go towards “help[ing] the plight of Ukrainian refugees”.

Art Dubai confirmed to The National that the donations would go through Unicef.

“Over the years, the Art Dubai Group has helped a number of charitable initiatives and the appeal for funds for the refugee situation unfolding today is something we feel we should support,“ a representative said.

Scroll through the gallery below for more pictures from Art Dubai 2022:

Prior to this year, there have been no publicly known donations from Art Dubai to other causes or conflicts, including humanitarian crises within the region. When asked by The National regarding previous initiatives, the fair representative said: “We would like to keep our focus on this year’s donation.“

As of March 9, more than two million people have left Ukraine to neighbouring countries such as Poland, Hungary and Slovakia following Russia’s invasion of the country. Poland has the highest number of refugees registered at 1.4 million. Ukrainians are also fleeing to Russia, Romania, Moldova and Belarus.

The crisis is expected to continue, with the UN estimating that more than four million will eventually be displaced owing to the war.

Art Dubai is being held at its original home of Madinat Jumeirah this year. AFP

Currently, Ukrainians can stay in the UAE for 30 days with no prior need to apply for a visa. The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation also announced it would donate Dh18 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

In recent weeks, the US and UK have placed bans on Russian oil as part of economic sanctions aimed at quelling Russian aggression. The EU has not yet announced a total ban, though the European Commission has stated it would speed up its move to alternative supplies in order to end dependence on Russian energy.

When it comes to arts and culture, a number of institutions around the world have made gestures in support of Ukraine. This week, Vladimir Potanin, a Russian business oligarch and a benefactor of the Guggenheim in New York, has stepped down from his role as a museum trustee.

Auction house Phillips, initially a British business that was purchased by Russian luxury retail conglomerate Mercury Group in 2008, recently condemned the Russian action in Ukraine. On March 3, Phillips stated that it would donate proceeds from a recent auction in London to the Ukraine Red Cross, a total amount of $7.7 million, according to Artnet News.

Russia’s Ministry of Culture has asked Italian museums to return loaned artworks after Italy imposed sanctions on Russia this week.

Elsewhere, a number of Russian writers, composers, artists and filmmakers have been subjected to various boycotts and dismissals. Critics have pointed out that such cultural boycotts can encourage further division and do little to help the Ukrainian people.

Art Dubai will take place from 2pm to 9pm on March 11 and 12, and noon to 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, 1:49 PM