Art Dubai 2024 considers community and belonging

What to see at Art Dubai 2024 this weekend, an oasis of art, design and ideas

Art Dubai 2024 exhibition
(Image credit: Art Dubai 2024. Installation view. Credit_ Spark Media)

In the midst of global and regional tensions, Art Dubai 2024 pulls focus towards creative exchange and harmonious healing. Offering an oasis of art, design and ideas, this year’s programme does not disappoint. The world’s most globally diverse art fair and showcase for art from the MENA and South Asia serves up a moveable feast of delicious offerings. But where to start?

Art Dubai 2024 highlights

artwork on gallery wall during Art Dubai 2024

(Image credit: Art Dubai 2024. Installation view. Credit_ Spark Media)

Art Dubai 2024 features 120 presentations drawn from more than 60 cities and over 40 countries across four sections: Contemporary, Bawwaba, Art Dubai Modern and Art Dubai Digital. Programme highlights include major new commissions and premières by internationally renowned artists, among them the premiere of ‘Heart Space’ by digital artist Krista Kim, presented by Julius Baer as part of its global NEXT initiative. According to the organisers, this year’s edition offers ‘the most extensive education, talks and thought-leadership programme of any international art fair’. A flagship summit, the Global Art Forum, examining the relationship between extreme weather and extreme change, will be organised by commissioner Shumon Basar and curator Nadine El-Khoury.

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the fair is held in partnership with ARM Holding, sponsored by Swiss wealth management group Julius Baer and collaborates with a plethora of international galleries. This year’s participating galleries in the Contemporary programme range from Leila Heller in New York to Meem in Dubai, Gallery One in Ramallah, and O Gallery in Tehran.

animal sculpture, and artworks on gallery wall

(Image credit: Art Dubai 2024. Installation view. Credit_ Spark Media)

Bawaba, meaning ‘gateway’ in Arabic, is curated by Emiliano Valdés, chief curator of the Museum of Modern Art, Medellin, and associate curator for the 10th Gwangju Biennale. The overall vision for the ten solo presentations by artists from the Global South this year is one that imagines art as ‘a place of reckoning and healing, confronting social and political issues, engaging in critical dialogue, and creating a sense of community and belonging’.

In the words of Valdés the work will ‘explore healing on a personal and spiritual level but also a social historical and political level to examine the ways in which these varying scales of the healing process relate’.

Across many mediums, artists from Guatemala to Mozambique to Palestine will explore art as a ‘catalyst for change, transformation, and healing’, and the section will investigate how these processes change across regions.

Art Dubai Modern as curated this year by Dr Christianna Bonin, assistant professor of Art History at the American University of Sharjah, will examine how the post-Second World War geopolitical landscape in the Global South played out for artists who studied in Soviet metropoles through Cold War-era exchanges.

Art Dubai 2024 art installation

(Image credit: Cedric Ribeiro for Getty Images)

Of particular note is the Meem Gallery’s presentation on outstanding Iraqi modernists, including  Mahmoud Sabri, who studied at the Surikov Institute of Art in Moscow from 1963, combining socialism and expressionism, tradition and modernity; the bronze sculptures of renowned Iraqi artist Dia Al-Azzawi and pioneer of modern Arab art who once made banners in support of Soviet-leaning Abd al-Karim Qasim, will also be included; and work by Kadhim Hayder and Jewad Selim, who were both exhibited in major museums in the Soviet Union and were featured in Soviet-era publications about Iraqi art, will also be presented. 

Meanwhile, visitors can contemplate a brave new world as Art Dubai Digital explores the intersection of new media art and technologies ‘in order to expand our understanding of contemporary culture’.

Curated by Auronda Scalera and Alfredo Cramerotti, co-directors of IAM-Infinity Art Museum in the metaverse and Multiplicity-XXnft curatorial and publishing platform, they will continue their investigation of new tendencies in digital arts, AI, AR, and VR ‘through the lens of advanced technologies and offer possible approaches for the future of art and its perception’.

The 17th edition of Art Dubai takea place at Madinat Jumeirah from 1 to 3 March 2024