Urban Art DXB with a spray can.
Mohammad Yusuf, Feature Writer
World Art Dubai, one of the region’s most diverse and affordable contemporary art fairs, will see over 300 artists from over 50 countries showcasing over 4,000 pieces during its 2022 edition (March 16-19 , Dubai World Trade Centre).
Held under the theme ‘Unplug Yourself’, which aims to encourage inspired thinking, the show brings together the artistic community, including a roster of established and emerging talented local and international artists. It could also be the perfect place for collectors and buyers, both corporate and first-timers.
Embassy of Mexico welcomes art icon Manuel Felguerez Trajectories
Sheikha Latifa inaugurates the 15th edition of Art Dubai
Mythical Metaverse and Colors of Life set to shine at ARTIANA
A comprehensive list of features includes the return of Urban Art DXB and the launch of the NFT platform, WAD NEXT. The retail art fair doubles as a platform for urban culture influencers, digital art fans as well as families. “World Art Dubai embodies local culture and spirit through its features and provides a vital platform for the development of international and regional talent,” say the organizers. “The event acts as an important platform for emerging artists attending their first fair, urban artists looking for a space to unleash their creativity, and established international artists who come specifically to exhibit at the diverse audience in the region.”
The event brings together a wide range of disciplines under one roof, including mixed media, fashion, music, dance, sustainability, digital art, photography, graffiti, sculpture, and more. It is supported by Dubai Culture. “World Art Dubai is now in its eighth edition and each year grows exponentially while adapting to global interests and trends, provoking inspired reflection and exploration of feelings, allowing visitors to engage into mind-opening experiences that only art can catalyze,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Executive Vice President, Dubai World Trade Centre.
Early features include NFTs, which will make their presence felt with a dedicated digital art section. The area will see talks from MENAtech, the largest Arab tech website in the Middle East and Crypto Sheikhs, the podcast dedicated to blockchain education, letting visitors learn all about the increasingly popular digital assets. . It’s a place for enthusiasts and experts alike to learn more and make purchases, whether adding to a collection or their very first NFT.
Early installations include Leon Löwentraut’s UNESCO World Gate, where visitors can take a selfie with a replica of the world’s largest moving work of art. The walkway forms the entrance to the fair and consists of 17 motifs, representing UNESCO’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Further aligning with World Art Dubai’s ‘Unplug’ theme, the gate is also part of the #Art4GlobalGoals campaign, which encourages connection and transformation. A brand new display by creative duo, Sister Octopi, will see transparent hanging pieces as well as projects, where visitors can add their personal contributions, using wood and string.
The show has named Japan as its newest partner in the Around the World series. The partnership honors a Japanese presence that will include the Japan Pavilion, a space with 68 artists, a range of live aesthetic performances, workshops on calligraphy, cherry blossom stamp, as well as a Kimono fashion show. Among the artists exhibiting for the first time at World Art Dubai are photographer Jalal Abuthina, whose work is exhibited in area hotels; Ahsen Küçükçalık, Turkish artist presenting his “ALCHEMY” collection on the theme of personal transformation; and Cedric Dub, a contemporary artist specializing in abstract fluid art, whose work has thrived during the pandemic.
Local artists include Hend Rashid, who will present his “Ocean Secrets” collection inspired by the tales of One Thousand and One Nights; Atiqa Kayed, whose works focus on UAE culture and heritage; and Raud Al Shamsi, scientist and artist, whose work focuses on classicism, symbolism and abstract expressionism.
Participating galleries include Atelier Art Gallery, which represents five Spanish artists; ArtSmiley, the UAE-based online gallery whose works depict local culture, pop art and sculptures, among others; and Nile Art Gallery, which exhibits Egyptian modern abstract paintings for the first time in Dubai.
Urban Art DXB will present new performances and competitions including break dancing and freestyle, a Voguing Dancefloor where dancers can enter in groups or solo; an extravagant makeup contest encourages budding cosmetic artists to show off their creative talents; Kuwaiti street artist and art director Ahmed Al Rashid and his team offer artwork for purchase, plus live graffiti performances with spray can masters competing on a range of canvases , including for the first time a battle on real life-size mannequins; and visitors can get involved in the public’s choice vote, receiving paddles ranging from 1 to 10, which they can use to award points for their favorite performances. Robotic art is making a comeback after a successful launch in 2021 with AI Norn, a robot created by Russian data scientists Anna Mischenko and Nikolay Gavrilin, which interprets visitors’ personal images to create new works of art. Workshops for all ages, including a live drawing workshop, clothing sewing and a photography workshop by Nikon, where all materials are provided to participants and everything created can be taken home, are other highlights of the fair. The Powerhouse quartet, Batool Jafri, Samar Kamel, Petra Kaltenbach and Ahmed al Rashid, organize the show. They will also exhibit their own work, including art about the human mind and soul by Jafri, circus-themed works by Kamel and NFTs by Kaltenbach.