Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Art Dubai today launched its most ambitious edition ever. The leading global platform for art and artists from the Middle East and Global South is being held at Madinat Jumeirah Dubai from 3 to 5 March, with VIP previews on 1 and 2 March.
Art Dubai’s 16th edition features over 130 galleries from more than 40 countries, across four main sections: Contemporary, Modern, Bawwaba, and Art Dubai Digital. The platform’s partner and non-profit programme, which includes newly commissioned works by renowned artists, is equally ambitious. Moreover, an expanded education and thought leadership program makes this the largest and most comprehensive edition of the fair yet.
Art Dubai’s Executive Director Benedetta Ghione said: “Art Dubai has always tried to reframe what an art fair can be, and this year’s expanded programme fully reflects our role as a meeting point for the region’s creative industries, across the commercial and not-for-profit sectors. As an independent organisation, we pride ourselves on being more than an art fair – we are an incubator of talent, a catalyst for Dubai’s creative economy, a convener of great minds, and an entry point to this vibrant ecosystem for the wider cultural sector.”
Art Dubai’s Artistic Director Pablo del Val said: “For nearly two decades, Art Dubai has been a place to discover and celebrate new trends, creating and facilitating conversations, and celebrating the strength of creative output across the Global South. Art Dubai is a truly global art fair, and this is reflected in both the quality and geographic spread of the galleries participating this year. That so much of the programme is once again drawn from the Global South highlights the increased interest in and appetite for collecting non-Western art, the strengthening of the gallery scene beyond the traditional centres of the art world, and the role Art Dubai plays as a platform for regions that are under-represented in international collections.”
Art Dubai is held in partnership with A.R.M. Holding. The fair is sponsored by Swiss Wealth Management Group Julius Baer. Culturally rich developer HUNA is a partner of Art Dubai. The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) is the fair’s strategic partner. Madinat Jumeirah is the home of Art Dubai. Art Dubai is part of Dubai Art Season that runs from 1 February to 20 March.
The 2023 fair includes over 30 first-time participants and more than 60% of the gallery programme is drawn from the Global South, reaffirming Art Dubai’s position as the leading marketplace for art from this rapidly developing region.
Art Dubai Contemporary showcases the very best in cutting-edge contemporary art from 76 galleries in 34 countries, with an emphasis on art and artists from the Global South. The 16th edition welcomes 14 debut exhibitors and 12 galleries returning to Art Dubai after a hiatus. Additionally, the fair will feature 24 Dubai-based galleries, the largest number to date, reflecting Dubai’s thriving artistic ecosystem and its growing significance as a global hub for creativity and culture.
Art Dubai 2023 will once again feature Art Dubai Digital, which debuted to critical and commercial acclaim at the 2022 edition. This physical section of the fair offers an annual 360-degree snapshot of the digital art landscape, bridging the gap between the worlds of art and technology, and exploring how artists are utilising immersive technologies to push the boundaries of traditional art. The selection is curated from six continents, reinforcing Art Dubai’s commitment to presenting global perspectives and diversity, inviting audiences to look beyond traditional art centres, and mapping out the key agents and platforms leading the way. The expanded 2023 edition, curated by Singapore-based educator and arts writer Clara Che Wei Peh, will highlight the artists, galleries and institutions driving this fast-developing field.
The 2023 edition of Art Dubai’s Bawwaba section is curated by Bangkok-based Vipash Purichanont. Meaning ‘gateway’ in Arabic, Bawwaba is dedicated to artworks created in the past year or specifically for Art Dubai and features solo presentations by 11 artists from the Global South. Through various mediums, including painting, tapestry, filmmaking and performance, this section explores how contemporary artists from the Global South bring forth concerns within their worlds, from socio-cultural issues such as the tension between rapid urban development and traditional values, the legacy of colonisation on the environment, human relationships in the age of hyperconnectivity, or personal concerns around the meaning of language and void.
The 2023 edition of Art Dubai Modern is curated by Paris-based critic and curator Mouna Mekouar and Italian art historian Lorenzo Giusti (director, GAMeC, Bergamo). It features solo presentations by the region’s Modern masters, reinforcing Art Dubai’s commitment to curatorial scholarship and art historical research. The selection focuses on the pioneers of contemporary art in the MENASA area, whose works are retrospectively playing a key role in today's art and, by extension, a key role in art history and reflecting the cultural richness and diversity of the region.
Art Dubai Commissions
Chaupal: A Journey through South Asia is a series of site-specific performances and activations by ten leading artists from South Asia that explore the power of food, ritual, and gathering as community builders. Inspired by the chaupal, a public space that encourages community building in rural areas, where people gather to discuss their problems, celebrate their pleasures, and share their pains, it is the hub of community life in villages around South Asia. The programme is produced in partnership with Art Dubai’s galleries and several leading South Asian cultural organisations and comprises a diverse lineup of daily live performances and food-based experiences by artists whose work explores themes of community, celebration, hope, and connection. The programme is presented in partnership with several of South Asia’s leading galleries and cultural institutions.
Conferences and Talks Programme
Art Dubai’s artistic programme is complemented by the fair’s largest-ever thought-leadership programme, convening a broad cross-section of the brightest cultural and creative minds. Continuing the fair’s long-standing commitments to dialogue, diverse voices and the development of Dubai’s cultural infrastructure, the 2023 programme will feature more than 50 sessions in an ambitious daily conference, talks and education programme. Highlights include the 16th edition of Art Dubai’s flagship Global Art Forum, the first Middle East edition of Christie’s Art+Tech summit, a series of Modern and Collector talks developed in partnership with Dubai Collection, and a new event in partnership with the Art Business Conference.
Partner Programme Highlights
A.R.M. Holding has renewed its support of Art Dubai for a further five years, demonstrating the organisation’s commitment to enabling talent and enriching the communities within which they operate. The third edition of the A.R.M Holding Children’s Programme has been developed by Swedish artist Jacob Dahlgren. The immersive workshop programme, titled The Flag Project, is suitable for children of all ages. Starting at Art Dubai, the workshops will then expand to over 90 schools and reach 8,000 children in two months, making it the UAE’s largest cultural education programme. The children will be encouraged to think creatively about their surroundings using everyday materials and scrap fabrics, collaging designs that will be sewn and transformed into flags as an extension of Dahlgren’s ongoing project Signs of Abstraction.
The leading Swiss wealth management group Julius Baer has also renewed its long-standing partnership with Art Dubai for a further five years, until 2027, and will this year premiere a major new commission by Refik Anadol, the internationally acclaimed new media artist, director and pioneer in the aesthetics of data and machine intelligence. Glacier Dreams is inspired by the beauty and fragility of the world’s glaciers and will be unveiled as a series of multisensory artworks over multiple chapters. The work will debut in the Julius Baer lounge at Art Dubai and is the first activation of Julius Baer’s new NEXT initiative, which is designed to foster collaboration between forward-thinking artists and institutions committed to new forms of cultural production.
In its second year of collaboration with the fair, 421, Abu Dhabi’s independent platform supporting emerging artists, will present a group exhibition curated by UAE-based artist and researcher Dania Al Tamimi. Featuring artworks that pose the question, does time move through you, or do you move through time?, the exhibition will explore time as the binding element of the biography of objects, the active archive of lives, and the solidifying catalyst of experiences.
View the full list of galleries participating in Art Dubai 2023 here