Art Dubai 2019: Highlights from the Region’s Biggest Art Fair in its 13th Edition

Lindsay Judge   |   03 - 04 - 2019

The 13th edition of Art Dubai 2019 presented 922 galleries from 42 countries featuring artworks from over 500 artists, and here are just some of the highlights.


The atmosphere at this year’s Art Dubai was electric and exciting, as thousands flocked to experience the coming together of local and international artists, galleries and exhibitions.


This year’s exhibition was split into four sections Art Dubai Contemporary, Art Dubai Modern, Bawwaba and Residents. As well as the new addition of UAE NOW which highlighted local and homegrown subcultures, profiling the UAE’s evolving and diverse cultural landscape. The event was a space for professionals to learn and explore art from throughout the world, as well as a chance for members of the public to discover new artists and artworks and have the opportunity to meet members of the art world from all around the globe.



This year Art Dubai Contemporary featured stands of 59 galleries from 34 countries spread across its two gallery halls, presenting work by some of the most notable contemporary artists working today. While Art Dubai Modern is the only platform in the world dedicated to museum-quality works by 20th Century Modern masters from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.


The Bawwaba gallery section showcased art from or about the Global South including Latin America, The Middle East, Africa and Central and East Asia. Bawwaba (meaning gateway in Arabic), hosted presentations from ten artists who are based in or have projects focused on these areas. Bawwaba was curated by Élise Atangana with the aim of highlighting the artistic interrogations of the region and informing visitors of the current artistic developments that are happening.


The works within Bawwaba were created specifically for the fair. Highlights including Shezad Dawood’s painting from his Encroachments series which studies the politics of space in Pakistan’s two largest cities, as well as works from Istanbul artist Gözde Ilkin who creates artworks out of repurposed fabrics such as tablecloths, curtains and bed duvets and Addis Ababa-based Wanja Kimani whose worked evolve from her experiences of migration and a longing for familiarity.



The UAE NOW section was held at Art Dubai for the first time. Created by Abu Dhabi-based curator Munira Al Sayegh the area explored the UAE’s emerging and independent platforms run by local artists, as well as putting the spotlight on youth and home-grown talent. The section featured five platforms that showcased their initiatives with a daily programme of talks, workshops, and performances.


The platforms included Bait 15, an artist-run studio and exhibition space in Abu Dhabi, Banat Collective, a creative online community which discusses womanhood in the Middle East and Daftar Asfar, a ‘travelling sketchbook’ which invited artists to create a collection of artworks within its pages.



Returning for the second time was the Residents section. The unique programme invited selected residents from Brazil, Uruguay, Argentine, Cuba and Colombia to spend eight weeks in the UAE and create works of art inspired by the surroundings. These works were displayed for the first time at Art Dubai. This year’s chosen artists included Alexandre da Cunha from Sao Paulo, Luciana Lamothe from Beunos Aires and Luis Enrique López-Chávez from Havana.


As well as exhibitions and galleries the event also saw talks and presentations from leading artists and curators on key subjects. Some of the highlights included the talk on Modern Art in Lahore by Dr Iftikhar, and a talk on the art world in Beirut.



Watch and jewellery Maison Piaget returned to Art Dubai for the third time to present its ‘L’Art de L’Or’ (Art of Gold) exhibition. The sparkling dedicated area celebrated the work of gold and the craftsmanship of the Maison. Piaget collaborated with French Maître d’Art Pierre Bonnefille, who created artworks and installations inspired by the gold and the details of the craftsmanship in Piaget’s creations. A true celebration of the Maison’s most celebrated creations the installations complimented a selection of Piaget’s high jewellery and watches.



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