The Emirates is emerging as a regional arts hub with new art galleries and programmes being launched recently
The UAE’s position in the Middle Eastern art scene is growing through the artistic appreciation of the government, exemplified in the willingness to invest,
endorse, and support artistic enterprise. From Fujairah’s International Arts Festival to the Sharjah Biennale, Art Dubai to Abu Dhabi Art Fair, the art season, running from November to March annually, means visitors and residents are spoilt for choice when it comes to attending exhibitions and being part of cultural art scene. We explore your not-to-be-missed art events this season.
Abu Dhabi Art
There was an opportunity to enjoy works by artists from all over the world during Abu Dhabi Art which took place on 16-19 November 2016. Organised annually by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority it offers a diverse arts programme with a series of performances, panel discussions, presentations, workshops and installations.
The event in 2015 featured top names in the art world as well as installations from showcased exceptional works from emerging artists alongside celebrated and
iconic pieces by the world’s foremost artists. It also featured Durub Al Tawaya, curated by Tarek Abou El Fetouh, which celebrated art with live performances
and mobile installations. Top names making an appearance included Richard
Armstrong, of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; Neil MacGregor, of the British Museum; the philosopher Peter Sloterdijk.
Abu Dhabi Art takes place at the Manarat Al Saadiyat in the Saadiyat Cultural District and is a not to be missed event for art lovers in the country.
Art in the Community
Hot on the heels of Abu Dhabi Art comes the first of its kind event in the UAE–Quoz Arts Festival. This is the UAE’s first free community arts festival and includes live art, murals, workshops, film screenings, gallery openings and musical performance created by local talent. It takes place in Alserkal Avenue in the Al Quoz area, known as an arts hub, with numerous galleries and home-grown cultural initiatives.
The event literally takes over the arts district of Al Quoz, and features more than 40 community-driven shows catering to families, art enthusiasts, film and music lovers. The festival supports home-grown talent and runs from 10am to 10pm on January 22-23 2017; be there or be sad.
Fujairah’s First Art Festival
In February 2016 the first ever Fujairah International Arts Festival was launched by the Fujairah Culture and Media Authority (FCMA). It is an artistic platform for artists from all over the globe and aimed to introduce the Arab Emirati culture to the world through a range of art disciplines.
Art troupes from 55 countries took part and covered music, performing arts, theatre, traditional art and street carnivals. The festival is held in various locations around the Emirate including the Fujairah Corniche, the Fujairah Fort, Dibba Heritage Village, Masafi, Tuwayyain and Bidiyah. Lovers of art and cultural events that are suitable for all family need to ensure they don’t miss this.
The following month sees the well celebrated Sharjah Biennial, one of the most important artistic events in the region, established in 1993 under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah and organised by the Sharjah Art Foundation.
Previous Sharjah Biennial’s have featured the works of more than 50 artists and cultural practitioners from 25 countries.
It has become a platform for regional and international artists and has produced large-scale public installations and perfor- mances. Catch it from March at various locations.
No self-respecting Art aficionado would miss Art Dubai held at the Madinat Jumeirah and the Dubai Design District. Art Dubai has been held for the last 10 years every March and celebrates global artistic diversity. Last season it attracted 27,516 visitors including visitors from 95 museums, curators and institutions including Centre Pompidou, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim, LACMA, British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago as well as several private muse- ums. This season visitors can expect an impressive line up of experts including artists, curators, musicians, strategists, thinkers and writers at the event taking place between March 5-18, 2017.
If, by now, you are not totally ‘arted-out’, a visit to the Sikka Art Fair may be called for. This is the Middle East’s first entirely commissioned visual and performing art programme and is held in the alleyways (sikkas in Arabic, hence the name of the event) of the historical Al Fahidi area and includes exhibitions, live performances and film screenings.
Established in 2010, the 11-day programme is organised by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and also takes place in March.Visitors who want to try their hand at artistic expression get the opportunity to select from a wide range of workshops that range from Arabic Typography, portrait drawing or puppet-making.