Everything you need to know about Dubai's Art Month
The month of March is known amongst the Dubai art community as ‘March Madness’ due to the influx of art activity happening in region.
Everything begins with Art Week, March 12 – 18, where you will be able to immerse yourself in a multitude of exhibition openings, artist talks, performances, installations, workshops and pop-ups. Activities are scheduled around the city, from DIFC to D3, Alserkal Avenue and the main anchor event, taking place at Madinat Jumeirah, Art Dubai. The 11th edition of the fair showcases artworks from over 500 artists from 94 international galleries from across the world and this is the most thrilling event of the annual calendar for art enthusiasts.
To ensure you achieve the most out of the flurry of creative action, below are her top 10 recommendations:
The inauguration of Concrete with Syria: Into the Light
Group Exhibition curated by Mouna Attassi
Over 40 artists have come together to illustrate the landscape of Syrian art from 1924 to 2016. Curated by Mouna Atassi, in collaboration with Rasha Salti, the exhibition explores the trajectories and change in the art movement of Syria through it’s socio-cultural histories from the early 20th century to today. The exhibition focuses on the theme of ‘portraits and figures and includes various mediums and techniques, involving film, paint, sculpture and video. Artist Rem Koolhaa will be giving a public lecture outside Concrete at 10am on March 16.
Where: Concrete, Alserkal Avenue
When: Opens to public March 10 – April 3
Artist: Sarah Rahbar
Sara Rahbar’s heavy bronze sculptures amplify the sufferings of humanity and the weight of the world. Entering a time of uncertainty, Sara Rahbar’s fourth solo show is bound to achieve an ever-greater impact on her audiences. A direct connection can be felt from her exhibition to current affairs and worldwide emotions. From Brexit to Donald Trump’s election, her artworks resound emotions of a lack of safety, a fear of state and daily discrimination. The body parts are presented in precarious arrangements, which share a sense of pressure, discomfort and vulnerability.
When: Opens to public March 13 – May 10
Location: Carbon 12, Alserkal Avenue
Artist: Alia Ali
In Alia Ali’s exhibition Borderlands, the artist re-examines demarked zones as territories of exploration. Through the medium of photography, Ali presents figures wrapped in different patterned fabrics. The identities of the figures are concealed. The fabric becomes the borderline between the anonymous subject and the observer. The artist urges you to question, on what side of the fabric do we find ourselves and what are the fabricated barriers in society that inhibit the inclusion of others? There’ll be an artist talk at 5pm on March 14.
When: Opens to public during Galleries Night March 13 – April 22
Where: Gulf Photo Plus, Alserkal Avenue
Alserkal Programming – Commissioned Artists
Artists: Raja’a Khalid, Ammar Al Attar, Karim Sultan and Farah Al Qasimi
Every year Alserkal Programming focuses on a particular issue and connects artists and professionals with ranging artistic backgrounds. This year Alserkal welcomes four locally based commissioned artists, Raja’a Khalid, Ammar Al Attar, Karim Sultan and Farah Al Qasimi. Amidst the industrial walkways of the avenue, you will find the artworks in the warehouses and public spaces. Artworks include Installations, a large mural and series of Cinema Plaza Posters by Ammar Al Attar.
When: March 10 – March 18
Where: Various public spaces at Alserkal Avenue
Join the discussion during Art Week! A line-up of talks will be taking place as well as a diverse programme of workshops, film screenings and book launches that are open to the public. Screenings include Barakah Meets Barakah (2016) and Play it Again Sam (1972), which are part of the screening programme for Plaza Cinema, Ammar Al Attar’s Alserkal. The Programming commission reflects on the cultural impact of one of Dubai’s first movie-houses.
When: 4pm – 6pm, March 12 –18
Where: The Yard, Alserkal Avenue
House of Cards
Artist: Afshin Pirhashemi
This March, Ayyam Gallery in DIFC presents the solo exhibition of Tehran-based painter Afshin Pirhashemi. His latest exhibition studies the ascendance of media in everyday life and how it is shaping worldviews in a progressive bigotry way. Pirhashemi’s latest works continue his exploration of monumental imagery, relying on allegorical and implied theatrics of black and white scenes to encourage the dominance of his underlying messages. You will spot architectural monuments like the White House and the Statue of Liberty, which evoke the current state of international politics in a pair of works. Pirhashemi’s reference to the U.S. election depicts the absurd nature of a world informed by television and celebrity culture.
When: March 13 – May 25
Where: Ayyam Gallery, DIFC
DIFC Art Integration Programme
Artists: Sir Tony Cragg and Oliviero Rainaldi
This march DIFC are launching the DIFC Art Integration Programme and during the latest edition of Art Nights located in Gate Village. To celebrate the launch, the Art Integration Programme will showcase iconic artworks from two distinguished artists, Sir Tony Cragg and Oliviero Rainaldi. Tony Cragg’s is one of the world’s foremost sculptors. His stacked works present a taxonomical understanding of the world and the sculptures offer an understanding of how materials and their forms can affect and create our ideas and emotions.
When: 7pm – 10pm, March 13
Where: Gate Village and the Gate Building, DIFC
Amongst the Gallery Halls of Art Dubai exhibiting works from over 94 international galleries – look out for these four highlights from the Art Fair’s activities...
Abraaj Group Art Prize
The Abraaj Group Art Prize is recognised as the region’s leading art prize. The prize invites artists from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia to submit proposals for a major new commission to be produced through a $100,000 grant, revealed as part of a group exhibition at Art Dubai each year. Curated by Omar Berrada, the 2017 exhibition will showcase winning artist Rana Begum’s new commissioned work alongside three shortlisted artists Doa Aly, Raha Raissnia and Sarah Abu Abdallah.
Every year the fair presents a large-scale interactive installation titled, The Room.
This edition, Beirut-based art collective Atfal Ahdath (Vartan Avakian, Hatem Imam and Raed Yassin) will create The Room: Cooking Liberty, a surrealist visual and gastronomic experience. Taking cues from Salvador Dali’s cookbook, Les Diners de Gala and through exaggeration and repetition, Atfal Ahdath invites guests to experience its live visceral installation.
Art Dubai Special Project: Ghariba Bar
For this year’s edition of the Art Dubai Bar, Moroccan-born, Brooklyn-based artist Meriem Bennani, will create an interactive installation titled Ghariba/Stranger, featuring playful video portraits of Moroccan women. The bar area will feature viewing pods for visitors to watch Meriem’s videos, inspired by public places that encourage social interactions amongst strangers and reminiscent of beauty salons or entertainment parks.
When: March 16 – 18
Where: Madinat Jumeirah