More than 2,000 pieces from over 20 countries are on display at Dubai World Trade Centre from October 8-10
Dubai’s event season kicks off with art performances on the hour, every hour; the World Art Dubai Awards; and the annual School Competition highlighting grassroots talent
Stringent health and safety measures in place throughout three-day fair
World Art Dubai 2020, the region’s most accessible and affordable art fair has opened at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). Dubai’s first international event restarts the exhibitions season with galleries and artists from more than 20 countries. With precautionary measures in place, World Art Dubai 2020 runs until Saturday, October 10.
The three-day fair features more than 2,000 pieces by 120-plus artists and galleries, with visitors able to access original contemporary artworks in the form of paintings, sculptures, digital art, photography, mixed media pieces and urban art.
An expanded range of features are already proving a highlight of the show, including Urban Art DXB, a dedicated area highlighting established street artists from around the globe; Creativity Unmasked, a space hosting works created during global lockdowns; Wearable Art by Craftology, who are customising visitors’ clothing on-site; and Art For Every Wall, a budget-friendly zone where pieces are priced under Dh 3,000.
International artists and galleries
With a strong contingent of international artists from more than 20 countries displaying work at the event, World Art Dubai embodies the art community’s resilience in the face of adversity. Fair debutants include Farah Malhas, who has been rebuilding her work collection after much of it was destroyed in the Beirut blast; Russian painter Julia Smolenkova, whose ‘Cities’ portraits have made a huge impression on the Dubai art scene; while Japan Promotion returns to the fair with hundreds of artworks sourced from Japanese artists under its project ‘Japan Tide’.
“Despite the challenges in the current global landscape, arriving in Dubai has been a seamless process – from signing up, to arriving at the show today,” said Malhas. “I’m extremely happy to see how World Art Dubai has handled the safety measures, it’s setting a precedent for the Dubai event scene and the world.”
In addition, Casa De Maquinas – a collective of bikers, artists and skaters from Mexico, Ukraine, California, the UK and Japan which draws inspiration from motorcycling, hot rods, and street culture – are exhibiting their custom urban art at World Art Dubai for the first time. Live painting of motorcycle tanks, leather gloves and helmets are taking place throughout the show.
Winners of last year’s Best Gallery Award, Vandalist Art, the world-renowned London based gallery have flown in ten of its key artists making waves in the UK’s street art scene, who are performing live graffiti displays at their stand.
Curated by international experts
World Art Dubai 2020 has been curated by an expert quartet of artists: Batool Jafri, the ‘Emirates Woman of the Year 2018’; Samar Kamel, an Egyptian artist, curator and author; Petra Kaltenbach, a fine artist, videographer and graphic designer; and Louis Lee Wright, the Owner of Vandalist Art.
“The opening of this year’s show was met with a warm welcome from our first visitors. World Art Dubai is setting the standard for all upcoming events in terms of safety measures,” said Batool Jafri, artist and World Art Dubai curator. “There is great excitement across the show with the local and international art community interacting and sharing their passion with visitors and buyers. It was literally minutes before the first pieces were sold.”
Art workshops and talks
For those looking to learn about different art styles, the Workshop Corner is a dedicated programme of educational workshops across a broad range of topics, including Button Mosaics by Valentina Alexeevna, the Russian artist who lives through the eyes and world of a doll; Introduction to Calligraphy by Masooma, the visual artist who utilises organic materials for her work where possible; and New Shabutsu (Japanese ink painting) Mind-Reflection by Eisui, one of the impressive Japanese artists exhibiting at the show.
In addition, a series of engaging talks and panel discussions on how art and design can work together to enhance interior spaces are led by industry professionals including Deepa Bhatia, Co-Founder, Capsule Arts; and Maliha Nishat, Director of Interior Design, Marriott Hotels. Amrita Sethi, the artist who has wowed the Dubai art scene with her voice note art, will also host a talk on the Future of Digital Art, NFT’s and Blockchain.
Live art performances
Live art performances continue to be a key feature of the show, with various artists providing on-stand experiences throughout the weekend. These include Sugar Art by Koyuki Sakamoto from the Japan Pavilion who will demonstrate how to make art from sugar, as well as Draw Performance by Asareh Ebrahimpou, the expressive art creator and art educator who will create an intricate drawing for audiences.
Artists to watch
Emerging artists are also in the spotlight with the return of the World Art Dubai Emerging Visual Artists Prize, in partnership with Rove Hotels, for the second consecutive year. Following a hotly contested competition, ten of the best pieces have been chosen and are displayed at the dedicated stand.
“The partnership between World Art Dubai and Rove continues to strengthen as we enter our second year of collaboration,” said Paul Bridger, Corporate Director at Rove Hotels. “We have similar aims of supporting the local community, whilst encouraging creativity in safe environments.”
In addition, the World Art Dubai Awards takes place on Thursday, October 8, with winners being announced in categories that include Best Emerging Artist, Best Gallery, Best Artist, and the coveted Outstanding Art Award.
Finally, the next generation of homegrown artists are present via World Art Dubai’s annual School Competition, with students from Repton Dubai, Nord Anglia School and Gems Millennium School expressing their artistic flair under the theme of ‘Inclusion’. Group artwork pieces submitted by each school are competing to win a cash prize of up to Dh 3,000 for the school’s art department.
Health and safety
In line with Dubai government guidelines, all DWTC venue entry points are equipped with thermal scanning, along with smart cameras that use heat mapping technology are installed throughout the venue for capacity management, ensuring social distancing protocols are followed. The venue is regularly sanitised, while key onsite safety offerings at DWTC, including trained emergency medical teams and services are available onsite. DWTC has effectively executed a seamless contactless registration process which is being used at World Art Dubai, and hand sanitisers are available throughout the venue, with all visitors required to wear masks.
Family packages are also available, starting at Dh 45 for families of three (two adults and one child), and Dh 55 for families of four (two adults and two kids).
About World Art Dubai: A unique fusion of art, education and entertainment, World Art Dubai is an affordable and accessible, three-day art fair concept designed to unite global artists with Dubai’s international community.
About Dubai World Trade Centre: World Art Dubai is professionally managed by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), which provides more than 40 years’ experience, unmatched expertise and in-depth market knowledge in delivering world-class events featuring local, regional and international exhibitors in the Middle East.
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