If these were the medieval times, I would probably begin with a sentence much like, “the great winds of art are sweeping through the Middle East.” Even though, language has changed its nuances with time, my sentiments about Art Dubai remains the same.
The best thing about history in the making, is that the present is always the very best version.
As is the case of Art Dubai. This was the 11th edition of Art Dubai, 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. It has been the biggest, fiercest rendering of itself till date. I mean, look at this checklist.
Key Takeaways from this year’s fair:
o A record 28,000+ visitors throughout the week.
o 98 museums and institutions in attendance from across the world.
o Sales reported to be the strongest to date.
o 94 galleries attending from 43 countries, making Art Dubai 2017 the most international edition since the beginning of the fair.
o The Global Art Forum explored the theme of trade.
o Over 1,200 students visited the fair through the fair’s schools and colleges’ program, and more than 700 children participated in the Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program.
That’s a lot of art exchanging hands and a lot of happy collectors and artists indeed. I met Gallerists, collectors and artists from across the world, local galleries who sold out their booths and installations that made you Instagram like the social media addict you deny you are.
This art fair is Dubai‘s pride and joy.
While we have begun to enjoy community events through the winters, Art Dubai is a chance for Dubai to invite the world and show its evolution into the growing force of reckoning in Middle East Art.
Let’s face it, saturated markets and saturated art is a thing of the past. We want new. We want artists undiscovered, and where else to look for them except in the cradle of a market that’s just waking up.
Millennials may have (reluctantly) destroyed concepts like owning real estate and cars, we are not even close to becoming tomorrow’s collector. But if you have the smallest interest in art, an international fair at your doorsteps is the place to start.
Charles Dickens was right:
We live in uncertain times. I think Charles (makes him sound like a friend I text at 2AM) was right; it’s always going to be the ‘best of times and the worst of times.’ But some things will stand the test of time: those that act as pillars of thought and civilisation. And Art Dubai 2017 was the apt testimony to it. If you live in Dubai, I suggest you visit a gallery soon. Contemporary Art has just about started it’s journey and Art Dubai’s success is its loudest Middle Eastern affidavit.
As I always like to end my stories with a sincere urge: ‘You don’t need to know anything about art. Just go to a gallery and stare at the work. Feel it. Sense it. Think about it. Half the job is done.’