It’s been almost fifteen years since Art Dubai came onto the scene, and the fair has been a cultural staple ever since. After being postponed due to the pandemic last year, with a digital edition that followed soon after, the art festival is back and stronger than ever for its 2021 iteration.
Kicking off on March 29, the fair will be taking place physically under the iconic Gate Building at Dubai International Financial Centre and will showcase artworks that reflect the multicultural identity of the Middle Eastern city. The new purpose-built venue will ensure safety and social distancing measures.
Art Dubai is also rolling out its Remote Participation Programme that will enable galleries to virtually present their exhibitions. Even travel restrictions won’t come in the way of the major event, which will welcome 50 galleries from 31 countries.
To celebrate the regional galleries promoting local art, we’ve rounded up our favourites from each of the seven represented Arab countries.
Agial Art Gallery – Beirut
Samir Sayegh, Love, 2019
Since launching in 1990, Agial has been showcasing a large spectrum of regional art, from established artists to emerging ones, as well as hosting a slew of retrospectives. Amongst their exhibiting artists are Anachar Basbous who’s known for space-defying sculptures that create an illusion of movement and Nabil Nahas who works on large-scale acrylic paintings.
The Third Line – Dubai
Hassan Hajjaj, Rabah Legs, 2012
The Dubai-based art gallery represents contemporary Middle Eastern artists regionally and internationally. They also host non-profit, alternative programs to start conversations about art in the region. Marrakesh-based Kitsch-inspired artist Hassan Hajjaj and Um Al Naar’s Emirati artist Farah Al Qasimi are some of the biggest names amongst their represented artists.
Athr Gallery – Jeddah
Sarah Abu Abdallah, Capacity, 2019
Founded by Hamza Serafi and Mohammed Hafiz in 2009, Athr Gallery is one of Saudi Arabia’s leading galleries. They represent international and local contemporary art including calligraphy and Islamic art specialist Nasser Al Salem and light artists Ahmed Mater and Ayman Zedani.
Gallery Misr – Cairo
Essam Marouf, EML 12, 2019
Located in Egypt’s art hub Zamalek, Gallery Misr has been hosting local exhibitions, art fairs and international collaborations with other galleries, museums and art foundations, since 2011. Their artists include painter Essam Marouf who has exhibited everywhere from Rome to Amsterdam. Prominent contemporary artist Ahmad Nawar who’s been in the game for over 40 years is also part of their roster.
Comptoir Des Mines Galerie – Marrakech
Mohamed Arejdal, ARC EN CIEL II, 2019
The Comptoir des Mines Galerie is a contemporary art space born in 2016 in Marrakech inside a historical 1932 building. They feature artistic performer Mohamed Arejdal who explores fleeting adventures from his voyages and award-winning landscape and humanist photographer Khalil Nemmaoui.
Zawyeh Gallery – Ramallah
Yazan Abu Salameh, Tight Space (2020)
Since launching in 2013, Zawyeh Gallery has been promoting emerging and established Palestinian artists through solo and collective exhibitions locally and internationally. Amongst their exhibiting artists are painter Khaled Hourani, the man behind the ‘Picasso in Palestine’ paintings series and artist Sliman Mansour who’s known for using natural materials like mud and henna in his works.
El-Marsa Gallery – Tunis
Aly Ben Salem, Le jardin d’Eden, Circa 1940s
Founded in 1994 in Tunis and expanded to Dubai in 2015, El-Marsa Gallery specializes in both modern and contemporary North African art. The gallery has taken part of Art Dubai since 2007. They represent the likes of Thameur Mejri, late art icon Baya Mahieddine and Aly Ben Salem.
Art Dubai’s 14th edition will run from 29 March to 3 April.
Photos courtesy of artdubai.ae