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Why Filipino Art Just Might be the Biggest Draw at Art Dubai

Hasti Masti (Large) 2 by Hossein Valamanesh

Hasti Masti (Large) 2 by Hossein Valamanesh

The Dubai Art Season is in full swing and on March 16th, its star attraction will be unveiled—Art Dubai. Marking its 10th edition this year, Art Dubai will feature its largest gallery lineup to date, further consolidating its status as the region’s biggest art fair. The fair’s director, Antonia Carver, believes that the 10-year milestone offers an opportunity to reflect on the growth of art markets in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia over the past decade. Speaking to, Carver explained, “Art Dubai acts as a catalyst and focal point, locally, and for the wider region.”

More than 500 artists from 40 countries, represented by 94 esteemed galleries and independent art spaces, make up the diverse showcase. Several countries are being represented for the first time, including Oman, Palestine, Georgia, Ghana, Lithuania, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka.

To help you navigate through the art fair, which will showcase works across all media forms—from the 1920s through to the present day—we’ve broken down the main highlights of the program. All that’s left for you to do is pick a date and head to the Madinat Jumeirah.

Click here for ticket/timing information.

Contemporary Artwork

The Drifter by Diana Al-Hadid

The Drifter by Diana Al-Hadid

This year’s special project—Atassi Foundation for Art and Culture—is located in the Contemporary halls. The specially commissioned mixed-media exhibition, curated by renowned film director Hala Alabdalla, pays tribute to Syrian artists.

Art Dubai Contemporary features the world’s most influential galleries as well as dynamic young art spaces and covers all artistic media, painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, video, photography, and performance art. An increasing number of galleries from India—including Experimenter (Kolkota) and Project 88 (Mumbai)—are part of this year’s lineup. The diverse selection of galleries includes returning names from Istanbul (Rampa, X-ist, and Galerie Zilberman) and Tehran (Dastan’s Basement), as well as newcomers from Manama (Albareh Art Gallery).

To view the names of all 76 galleries, click here.

A Modern Outlook

Mughal Lady by Abdur Rahman Chughtai

Mughal Lady by Abdur Rahman Chughtai

The curated program, now in its third year, features modern art from the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia, presented by regional and international galleries. Each exhibitor will present a solo or two-person show, featuring rare works by modern masters from the 1930s onwards. Expect to see exceptional works of Yahia Turki (Turkey); Abdur Rahman Chughtai and Syed Sadequain (Pakistan); Ali Akbar Sadeghi (Iran); Hussein Madi and Alfred Basbous (Lebanon); and Adam Henein (Egypt) at this year’s fair.

For the complete list of galleries, click here.

Art From the Philippines


The themed gallery program, Marker, focuses on the Philippines, marking the first time Filipino art is exhibited on such a large scale at an international art fair. Curated by Ringo Bunoan, an artist and researcher based in Manila, the exhibition will showcase photographs, videos, paintings, soft sculptures, works on paper, textiles, artist books, monographs, and zines by a new generation of Filipino artists. Marker 2016 will include a major installation by Roberto Chabet (1937-2013), a pioneering Filipino conceptual artist, teacher, and curator, who played an active role in several artist-run spaces throughout his lifetime.

The Abraaj Prize Showcase


Palestinian artists Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, who won the coveted Abraaj Group Art Prize, will showcase their newly commissioned installation, alongside works by the shortlisted artists—Dina Danish, Mahmoud Khaled, and Basir Mahmood. Expect a range of sound, text, image, installation, and performance practices by the winning duo that is known to touch upon themes of amnesia, déjà vu, and what is and what could be.

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