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Dubai, Dubai
United Arab Emirates

Art Week brings together Dubai’s thriving creative industries into a week-long celebration of arts and culture.

Global Art Forum 11


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Global Art Forum 11

  • Art Dubai Mina a'Salam. Jumeirah Beach Rd Dubai, Dubai United Arab Emirates (map)

Global Art Forum 11

The fair’s critically acclaimed Global Art Forum is the largest talks programme in the Middle East and Asia and recognised as a leading international platform for engaging cultural debate. It was launched by Art Dubai at its inaugural fair in 2007.

In 2017, it is presented by the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and supported by Dubai Design District under the theme Trading Places and focuses on the trade of goods and ideas that shape – and reshape – the world.

Featuring a diverse line-up of more than 30 speakers, the talks are conceived by Shumon Basar as Commissioner, with Antonia Carver and Oscar Guardiola-Rivera as Co-directors. The five days of live talks and performances launched in Dubai at Dubai Design District (d3) and Sharjah in January 2017 before continuing at Art Dubai in March.

Event Information:

16 March: 14:30 – 19:00

17 March: 14:30 – 19:30

18 March: 14:30 – 17:30

Location: Fort Island, Art Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai

Free and open to all, this year’s Global Art Forum is simultaneously translated into Arabic and English.

Trade is at the heart of humankind. Trade connects people to one another in a myriad of ways, seen and unseen. Trade can fuel civilizations and empires. It can dictate time itself. The end of trade turns somewhere suddenly into nowhere.   

-          Shumon Basar

 Trading Places will explore the relationship between the economy of goods and ideas that constantly shape who and where we are. From ancient ports to the “New Silk Road” to algorithmic financial markets, the infrastructure of trade is also a geography of imagination and invention. It is also the foundation upon which Dubai and sibling Gulf cities have forged their pasts and their futures, from pearls to airports.


Shumon Basar has overseen the creative direction of the Global Art Forum since 2011, becoming Commissioner in 2013. He is a writer, whose last book was The Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to the Extreme Present, co-authored with Douglas Coupland and Hans Ulrich Obrist. He holds editorial positions at Bidoun and Tank magazines; directs the FORMAT programme at the Architectural Association, London; and is ­a founding member of ­Fondazione Prada’s Thought Council@shumonbasar


Based in the UAE since 2001, Antonia Carver is Director of Art Jameel and oversees the development of the foundation’s work in heritage, education and the arts. She was previously Director of Art Dubai (2010-2016), spearheading the development of both the commercial and not-for-profit sectors of the fair. Carver has written extensively—and often on Middle Eastern art and film—as a correspondent for The Art Newspaper and Screen International, among other publications, and edited books and journals. She joined Bidoun as an editor in 2004 and later became the director of the Middle Eastern arts organisation’s projects division. Before moving to Dubai in 2001, Carver was based in London and worked as an editor at Phaidon; in development and projects at the Institute of International Visual Arts (Iniva); and in publishing at G+B Arts International. @antcarver

Oscar Guardiola-Rivera is a London-based Colombian writer, art critic and philosopher. He is the author of the award-winning What If Latin America Ruled the World? (Bloomsbury, 2010) and the Top-Ten Guardian best-selling Story of a Death Foretold (Bloomsbury, 2013) also shortlisted for the Bread & Roses Award in 2014. Both were included on the Books of the Year list in 2010 and 2013, respectively, by the Financial Times and the Observer, having received critical acclaim by reviewers in the Washington Post, the Nation, the Observer, Kirkus, Guardian, Booklist, and star-reviews in Publisher’s Weekly. Guardiola-Rivera is a regular in the literary festival circuit, with appearances in London, Hay, Bath, Edinburgh and Jaipur Literary festivals, among others. He has widespread media presence, writing as a columnist for the Guardian and El Espectador, Monocle, Kindle Magazine India and teleSUR English. He lectures on Philosophy and Law at Birkbeck College, University of London.


15 MARCH, 14:30 – 19:00


By Global Art Forum Commissioner Shumon Basar with Co-directors Antonia Carver and Oscar Guardiola-Rivera.

 ACC€L€RAT€!, 14:45

Writer Stephanie Bailey, curator Mohammad Salemy and artist Oscar Murillo in a discussion hosted by Oscar Guardiola-Rivera.

$OLD! PACK! $€ND!, 15:45

NationalMuseum of Modern Art deputy director Catherine David

DE$€RT!, 16:00

Dar al-Ma’mûn  founder Omar Berrada.

GOLD! : Mumbai to Dubai, 16:45

Barjeel Art Foundation founder Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi with professors Dr N Janardhan, James Onley and Neha Vora.

SHIP!, 17:45

Researcher Laleh Khalili.

$OLD! PACK! $€ND!, 18:15 

Professor and Director of Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Initiative Dr Nada Shabout.

 TAK€ OFF! : Music for Airports, 18:30

Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths in conversation with Antonia Carver.

 THURSDAY MARCH 16, 14:30 – 19:30


By Global Art Forum Commissioner Shumon Basar with Co-directors Antonia Carver and Oscar Guardiola-Rivera.

 RAID! : The East Indian Company, 14:45

World-renowned historian and Jaipur Festival Director William Dalrymple.

 ROUTE! : Invisible Infrastructures, 15:15

Artists Slavs and Tatars and Trevor Paglen, joined by William Dalrymple and Shumon Basar for discussion.

 $OLD! PACK! $€ND!, 16:15  

Artist and scholar Iftikhar Dadi.

BR€AK!, 17:45

Political theorist Jane Anna Gordon.

 $OLD! PACK! $€ND!, 18:15  

Researcher Kristine Khouri.

FUNK!, 18:30

Indian poetess Tishani Doshi and Oscar Guardiola-Rivera.

FRIDAY MARCH 17, 14:30 – 19:00

MONUM€NTAL, 14:30-16:30

Environmental artist Christo




Sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders. These are some of the places visited by Samsara (2011), a hypnotic non-verbal, non-narrative feature film which took director Ron Fricke nearly five years to film, in twenty-five countries over five continents. Cinema Akil presents Fricke’s mesmerizing follow-up to his acclaimed Baraka (1992). Another sensory experience by Ron Fricke, Samsara is a vast, silently meditative exploration of the beauty and horrors traded in the minds and markets of the modern world.



Dragon Mart, located in Dubai and shaped like a dragon, is the largest trading hub for Chinese products outside mainland China. For over a decade, it has been a gateway to Middle East and North African markets. Farah Al Qasimi has produced a specially commissioned photographic study of this special cultural and economic zone, whose slogan is, ‘Where you can find one in a million or a million of one.’ Surely, today’s version of Jorge Luis Borges’ famous Chinese encyclopaedia would look like Dragon Mart.

Earlier Event: March 16
RiseDCH: The Future of Living
Later Event: March 16
The Courtyard Playhouse