DUBAI: After a scaled-down version in 2021, Art Dubai has returned to its original home in the Madinat Jumeirah, with 100 exhibitors from 44 countries, including Pakistan, seeking to deliver on its promise to grow the art ecosystem and to promote digital art at the same time.
The three-day event, which ends today (Sunday), opened to the public on Friday and welcomed collectors, galleries and institutions. A quick presentation showed how the room was filled with excitement, with everyone expressing the common feeling that it was “good to go back to the good old days”, as the world emerges from its worst crisis in a century. Benedetta Ghione, executive director of Art Dubai, said it was one of their “biggest programs to date”.
In conversation with company registrarBenedetta expressed how great it is to see Art Dubai return to a larger format after Covid-19, given the “essential role it plays in developing the art ecosystem”.
Art Dubai 2022 will open tomorrow
In 2022, the introduction of a new format remained evident, with galleries divided into 4 sections – Modern, Bawwaba (meaning “Door” in Arabic), Contemporary and Digital.
During the preview, established international names such as Perrotin and Galleria Continua alongside local galleries such as Leila Heller, The Third Line and the Green Art Gallery could be noticed.
But what was also interesting was the addition of a new digital section, featuring 17 galleries, showcasing a variety of NFTs (Non Fungible Tokens).
The popularity of the art form was evident, as the preview night saw plenty of crowds of young collectors and those looking to learn about NFTs and Blockchain.
Benedetta highlighted how Dubai is growing as a crypto hub and Art Dubai is in a unique position to showcase the role technology is increasingly playing in the art market.
The digital section sought to provide education on NFTs and how they were not born in a vacuum; rather, they are an evolution of digital practices that have existed in the traditional art space for many years. She also added that “technology can be a bridge between the traditional art world and what comes next.”
This insight is complemented by the Global Art Forum’s four-day program ‘This is the Picture’, which focuses on the growing role of technology and Campus Art Dubai’s 9.0 ‘Blockchain Edition’.
South Asian presence and Pakistani participation:
The South Asian presence was also incredibly strong this year, with several galleries from the subcontinent exhibiting, as well as South Asian artists represented by international galleries. Jhaveri Contemporary (Hall 2, D-1) presented 3 artists: Lubna Chowdhary, Rana Begum and Amina Ahmed. Other exciting gallery names were Experimenter, Nature Morte, Eye for Art and Canvas Gallery.
Pakistani artists exhibit at Art Dubai 2022
As part of Art Dubai’s South Asian contingent, Canvas Gallery (Hall 3, G-6), located in the Bawaaba section, presented a solo exhibition by Wardha Shabbir.
This was the start of this particular round of work and the high level of interest was evident by heavy footfall in the booth on preview night. The beautiful canvases covered in bright colors combined with the intricacy of the architecturally inspired scenes were truly striking.
company registrar spoke with Wardha at the preview, before she was interviewed by CNBC, about her initial training in the academic discipline of miniature at the prestigious National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan.
She explained that although she can practice miniature, the development of her practice allows her to transcend the traditional canon. Her work is moving in that each piece encourages the exploration of an individual’s spiritual path and therefore impacts the evolution of Wardha’s. Her practice also draws attention to the female perspective and the role women play in wider Pakistani society.
Design and culture take center stage as Art Week Dubai kicks off next month
Dubai-based gallery Lawrie Shabibi (Hall 1, C-3) also exhibited Hamra Abbas’s portraits of Lahore’s transgender community. The Vienna-based Krinzinger Gallery (Hall 2, F-1) exhibited a striking black ink work by Waqas Khan, which also garnered a lot of attention.
During the preview, the intricacy and detail of the artwork saw many viewers first skim through and then return for a second look. The Kristin Hjellegjerde gallery, based in London and Berlin (Hall 1, B-5), also presented a fine series of works by Rabia Farooqui, based in Karachi.
Within the Modern section, the Grosvenor Gallery (No 2, E-10) presented 3 artists, including 2 Pakistani. There is a more recent work by Rasheed Araeen complemented by resin works by Zarah Hussein. It was impressive to see the range of established Pakistani artists who are represented and the interest they generate from the wider artistic community.
This year, Art Dubai also provided a platform for several MENA galleries as well as the wider Asian diaspora. Additionally, the continued presence of various forms of abstract art has always been a key feature of Art Dubai. However, this year there was an increased presence of figurative and digital works.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022