Dubai, your art adventure is here
World Art Dubai 2023: The ongoing ninth edition of the region's largest contemporary retail art fair is a fantastic fusion of arts, education and entertainment
If you were to ask me what’s my favourite season in the UAE, I’d not choose between summer, spring, autumn, and winter — rather, my vote would go in for the art season, the one that we’re in the midst of right now. Art Dubai 2023 and SIKKA Art & Design Festival 2023 just got over and were well-received and we thoroughly enjoyed attending both. Yes, during the winter months, all roads lead to art-centric events, and now we’re headed to Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) where the ninth edition of the region's largest contemporary retail art fair, World Art Dubai 2023 (opened this Thursday and is on until March 12, 2023) is running. As always, it's living up to being larger, more innovative and more exciting than the previous editions.
“Not only are we delighted to return for our ninth year with over 300 exhibitors, but we are also passionate about keeping up with the latest trends across the industry, showcasing the latest insights and experiences for our visitors, ” said Asma Al Sharif, Assistant Vice President at Exhibitions, Dubai World Trade Centre. Uniting more than 300 local and international exhibitors from more than 60 countries, the four-day art fair is showcasing diverse, accessible and original art all under one roof, from emerging artists to established talent. Visitors can browse more than 4,000 artworks; and art lovers and creatives of all ages have the chance to immerse themselves in a non-stop schedule of experiential art activations and engaging live art performances, as well as curated art talks and workshops.
“I pride myself in being one of the curators for the region’s biggest international affordable art fair, and I was an exhibitor in World Art Dubai before even becoming a curator. I have observed the fair’s goal is to make art reachable to art lovers by assigning professional curators and through many other ways. One of World Art Dubai’s main initiatives is to support emerging artists and young talents, and we go about this through many endeavours,” said Samar Kamel, an Egyptian artist. Her work is part of the permanent collection of the Bursa Museum of Immigration History, Turkey. Samar is one of the World Art Dubai curators, along with Batool Jafri, Petra Kaltenbach, and Ahmad Al Rashid. Petra, an artist and graphic designer, added, “Over the years, we've looked at getting more participation from local artists and worked to give the local art scene a better flow." Petra is a multi-awarded fine + video and NFT artist.
We've worked on as many challenges as possible to ensure that this edition of World Art Dubai sees the best of talent with programmes like artist-in-residence and more.
Petra Kaltenbach, curator, World Art Dubai
A few highlights to look forward to in the edition include the participation of galleries from across the globe, and hence exposure to the arts from various parts of the world. Nikolskaya Gallery from Russia works with young and well-known artists, whose works reflect the main trends of modern Western and Eastern art perspectives. A studio, Clay Gold Gallery from Italy, works across art projects through different kinds of expression, from craftsmanship to AI, cinema to web3, plugging different backgrounds into quixotic workflows. If you're into realism and impressionism, Taheri Art Gallery from Iran will be a must-see for its collection of a distinctive palette of warm, dark and earthy tones that will appeal to any collector. Spain's Atelier Art Gallery's presence will be elevated as they participate with recognised and award-winning artists, who are also open to any unique and personal ideas that a collector would like to create for their spaces.
Following the work that World Art Dubai has done in the last few editions, I have taken a bold move on our coming edition, which is collaborating with a young calligrapher to introduce his work on my paintings, and it will be exhibited during the show. And I am hoping other emerging artists can be highlighted one way or the other as well.
Samar Kamel, curator, World Art Dubai
The eclectic range of works at the fair includes that of Sanuj Birla, a self-taught pop-art artist that creates compositions of his works in the shape of dreamy visions and large figurative paintings that are a collage of pop art, realism and surrealism. Communicating tranquillity, limpidity and softness through watercolour-based mediums, Vera discovers the possibilities of scenic landmarks with a dual emphasis on nature.
Another highlight of the event, the one whose results always leave one surprised with the talent in the country and beyond is the WAD Emerging Artists Prize. In partnership with Rove Hotels, the 5th edition is an initiative to recognise innovative work in the digital art scene. And from the shortlist of ten winners, one will take home the prize of a complimentary space exhibit at WAD 2024, amongst other things.
WAD Around the World programme, with South Korea as its Country of Honour
The fair’s popular Around the World series shines a spotlight on South Korea’s exciting art scene and allows guests to immerse themselves in the South Korean culture and art scene that is accelerating the country's global art presence. H.E. Moon Byung Jun, Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Dubai commented, “We are excited about this collaboration, as for the first time Korea is the guest of honour represented by a wide array of unique artists that will represent Korea with 100 paintings in this year’s edition of WAD to showcase the Korean Art scene through different art forms like Korean Traditional Hanbok fashion show, painting, tea tasting ceremony and a variety of cultural performances.”
Visit the fair on the weekend, and get familiar with emerging artists, pop-art icons, fashion art disruptors, experimental expressionists, fine art and photography practitioners, and more.
This piece was first published in Khaleej Times