Dubai Art Season – FEBRUARY 2015

By Rachael Brown

Dubai Art Season kicks off next month with a jam-packed schedule of art and design events, and this year it's bigger than ever. CP Art Contributor and Co-Founder of Capsule Arts, Rachael Brown, takes you through a day-by-day diary to help you navigate your way around, so you don't miss a thing.

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Sikka Art Fair is the place to go if you want to see art by upcoming Emirati and locally based artists. Based in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood it's quaint buildings provide a labyrinth of exhibition spaces and artist studios for you to discover.

Home to A.i.R Dubai, Art Dubai's Artist in residence programme the neighbourhood provides the perfect location for the 3 month long residency where 3 local artists work alongside 3 international artists – culminating in an exhibition at both Sikka Art Fair and Art Dubai.

The central courtyard also plays host to a series of film screenings and performances in the evenings – a perfect place to absorb the atmosphere of the event.

Sikka Art Fair runs from 14-24 March 2015, at Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, Bur Dubai. Opening times are 14 March 5pm – 11pm, 15 – 24 March, 2pm onwards. Entry is FREE.

Monday – Gallery Night

Monday night is going to be a marathon with Dubai galleries opening their doors for this one-night event. We suggest heading to Alserkal Avenue for the first installment at 6pm and then rushing over to DIFC Gate Village before 10pm. Good news is all galleries will be open throughout the week at their regular timings so if you happen to miss anything you've got plenty of time to head back.

Alserkal Avenue Galleries Night

Alongside the exhibitions within the galleries the evening is also a chance to get your first glimpse of the avenues' expansion where a site-specific installation by artist Hazem Harb which reflects on the recent development; as well as two site-specific installations by Maria Thereza Alves and Mehreen Murtaza commissioned by Art Dubai Projects in collaboration with Alserkal Avenue. There'll also be live music performances, screenings of artist videos and a pop-up art bookstore in A4 SpaceAlserkal.

Galleries Night is from 6pm – 9pm in Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1.

Art Nights at Gate Village

Always a lively affair, art nights at gate village has a full packed programme of gallery exhibition openings, live art, performances, film screenings, and music.

Art Nights at Gate Village is from 7pm – 10pm at DIFC Gate Village.

Both events are a one-night event, however the galleries will run their exhibitions daily throughout Art Week at their regular opening times.

Tuesday – Design Days Dubai

Design Days Dubai returns in it's 4th year bringing with it the very best in modern and contemporary design. This installment will see an international line-up of 44 renowned exhibitors, from 20 countries.

Highlights this year are the large-scale installations and sculptural works on display, one to mention is artist Andreas von Zadora-Gerlof who will showcase 10 monumental metal sculptures that transform the Dutch master M.C. Escher's 2-dimensional artworks into 3-dimensional forms.

If you're heading down on Tuesday catch Lebanese designer Nada Debs in a discussion about her work over the past 10 years from 7pm – 8pm. You can also see an exhibit of her works that acts as a synopsis of her career and her evolution as a contemporary craft designer.

Design Days Dubai runs from 16 – 20 March 2015 at The Venue, Downtown Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard. Opening Times are 16-19 March 4pm – 10pm, 20 March 1pm – 7pm. Entry is 50AED.

Wednesday – Global Art Forum

Always one to get your brain working, The Global Art Forum offers a platform for debate and critic on an international level. This year‘s theme is technologies and their impact on the world of art and culture under the title ‘Download Update?'. Drawing in a range of speakers from across art, new media, web, design and literature, the Global Art Forum will debate how technologies have transformed not only the way we work, but how we think, interact, learn and create.

Global Art Forum Dubai runs from 18- 20 March at Art Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah. Opening times are 3pm – 7.30pm.

Thursday – Art Dubai

Art Dubai the lynch pin of Art Week opens to the public on Thursday featuring 92 galleries from 40 countries, and exhibiting works by more than 500 artists across halls dedicated to contemporary art and modern art. Many of the galleries exhibiting in this years fair have chosen to present ambitious solo and two-person shows, and a large continent will focus on artworks from Latin America in the Marker section of the fair.

Winner of The Abraaj Group Art Prize Yto Barrada will exhibit new works, alongside previous works by three shortlisted artists—Sarnath Banerjee, Setareh Shahbazi and Mounira Al Solh.

If you're bringing your little ones, then there are artist-led workshops and tours for children and teenagers provided by The Sheikha Manal Little Artist Program.

Art Dubai public days runs from 19 – 21 March at Madinat Jumeirah. Opening times are 19 March 4pm – 9.30pm, 20 March 2pm – 9.30pm, 21 March 12pm – 6.30pm. Entry 50AED.

Friday – Sharjah Biennial 12

It's Friday so there's no better chance to head on over to Sharjah and see Sharjah Biennial 12: The past, the present, the possible (SB12) curated this year by Eungie Joo.

Exhibiting the artworks of more than fifty artists and cultural practitioners from over twenty-five countries, the exhibition explores the artist's ideas of the possible through their work, many of which are new commissions especially for this years biennial.

Located in and around the city of Sharjah, the biennial also offers a weekly film screening each Saturday.

Sharjah Biennial 12 runs from 5 March – 5 June 2015 at Shnarjah Art Foundation in the Heart of Sharjah. Opening times are daily 10am – 9pm. Entry is FREE.

Saturday – RCA Secret Dubai

New to Dubai this year is the RCA Secret exhibition. Over 1,200 original postcard-sized artworks will be on display at Art Dubai from 18 – 21 March by legendary and emerging international and regional artists. You then get to buy them on 21 March for only AED 500 each.

The catch – each postcard is signed only on the reverse, so the identity of the artist remains a SECRET until after the cards are purchased and the signature on the back is revealed.

Previous contributors to the sale have included:
Sir Paul Smith, Sir James Dyson, Stella McCartney, Yoko Ono, Giorgio Armani, David Hockney, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Grayson Perry, Peter Blake, Sam Taylor-Wood, Julian Opie, Paula Rego, and Zaha Hadid, plus artists of the future from the Royal College of Art.

All proceeds from the sale will support talented students at the RCA at formative stages in their careers as well as supporting the RCA in running courses in Dubai.

RCA Postcards will be on display at Art Dubai from 18 to 21 March 2015. Sale day is Saturday 21 March 12pm – 6pm and will be sold on a first come first served basis. Postcards are 500AED. Entry to Art Dubai 50AED.


(Image Credits: Pascale Marthine Tayou, Plastic Tree C 2014, GALLERIA CONTINUA. Marlon de Azambuja, Edicto 2014, courtesy of Sabrina Amrani Gallery. Global Art Forum 8, Art Dubai 2014. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Pulse Index, Syd 2010, courtesy of Carroll Fletcher.)