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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.

Art Dubai 2017


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Art Dubai 2017

  • Madinat Jumeirah 2 Al Safooh St Dubai, Dubai United Arab Emirates (map)

Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

 Art Dubai is a leading international art fair, welcoming the global art world to Dubai each year.

This year marked the fair’s first edition under its new Director Myrna Ayad. The fair acts as a gateway to art from around the world and is the preeminent place to discover works from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. Art Dubai 2017 featured 277 artists from over 40 countries, representing more than 60 different nationalities. With 25 galleries attending the fair for the first time and almost three quarters of galleries returning to the fair, Art Dubai 2017 featured 94 galleries from 44 different countries.

Alongside the contemporary gallery halls, guests were able to discover Art Dubai Modern, the only platform dedicated to showcasing museum-quality works by modern masters from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

COMPRESSED - Anila Quayyum Agha, Al Hamra Nights AICON-GALLERY-.jpg

Art Dubai also has the most extensive not for profit programming of its kind which includes Art Dubai’s Projects, focusing for the first time solely on performance art; Global Art Forum 11, the most significant annual arts conference in the Middle East and Asia which this year focused on the trade of goods and ideas that shape–and reshape–the world; The Room a large scale immersive and performative daily gala dinner and the unveiling of the Abraaj Group Art Prize, the most significant art prize in the region which this year was awarded to Rana Begum whose commission was presented alongside works by three shortlisted artists in an exhibition curated by Omar Berrada.

Art Dubai is held in partnership with The Abraaj Group and is sponsored by Julius Baer and Piaget. Madinat Jumeirah is home to the event. The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) is a strategic partner of Art Dubai and supports the fair’s year-round education programme.

Public opening hours

15 March 2017

13:00 – 16:00 (ladies only)

 16 March 2017

16:00 – 21:30 (last entrance at 21:00)

17 March 2017

14:00-21:30 (last entrance at 21:00)

18 March 2017

12:00 - 18:30 (last entrance at 18:00)

Ticket options:

Day ticket (valid one day, either March 16, 17, 18): 50 AED if purchased online, 80 AED if purchased onsite

Permanent ticket (valid all days, March 16-18): 80 AED if purchased online, 120 AED if purchased onsite


Art Dubai Contemporary 2017 featured 75 galleries spread across its two gallery halls; including a selection of 30+ galleries focusing on solo or two-artist exhibitions, showing alongside collective presentations by galleries with multi-artist shows; highlighting the revamped sections within the halls.

With a strong representation of returning galleries as well as several new additions, this year's line-up featured a number of galleries from Europe and North America. Returning galleries included Marianne Boesky Gallery (New York), Galerie Daniel Templon (Paris, Brussels), Carlier | Gebauer (Berlin), Galleria Franco Noero (Torino) Victoria Miro (London) and In Situ-Fabienne Leclerc (Paris), which were joined by first-time participants Marlborough Gallery (New York, London, Barcelona, Madrid) and Waddington Custot (London).

The number of galleries that participated from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia reaffirms Art Dubai's role as a cornerstone of the regional art scene. In addition to 12 galleries participating from the UAE, Art Dubai welcomed back Athr Gallery (Jeddah), Chatterjee & Lal (Mumbai), Dastan’s Basement (Tehran), Experimenter (Kolkata), Selma Feriani Gallery (Tunis), Gypsum Gallery (Cairo) and Zawyeh Gallery (Ramallah) as well as newcomers Al Marhoon Gallery from Algeria and Ab/Anbar and Mohsen Gallery from Tehran.

Reflecting its global reach, Art Dubai 2017 featured its highest ever number of galleries from South America, with galleries from Peru and Uruguay attending for the first time. Exhibiting galleries included Piero Atchugarry Gallery (Pueblo Garzón), Revolver Galeria (Lima), D12 Proyectos de Arte (Santiago) and Vermelho (Sao Paulo).


With the Modern section now in its fourth edition, Art Dubai is the only platform dedicated to showcasing museum-quality works by modern masters from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. In 2017, Art Dubai Modern featured 15 galleries from 12 countries.

This selection of galleries presented leading artists from the Middle East including Agial Art Gallery (Beirut), exhibiting the ‘icon of Arab graphic arts’ Mustafa Al Hallaj (1938-2002), ArtTalks (Cairo) presenting Egyptian modernist Mamdouh Ammar (b. 1926), as well as Gallery One (Ramallah) showing Palestinian-born Sliman Mansour (b. 1947). Shirin Gallery (Tehran, New York) showcased works by Iranian artists Hadi Hazavei (b. 1940) and Houshang Pezeshknia (1917-1972).

Pieces by leading modernists from India and Pakistan were exhibited by Grosvenor Gallery (London), who presented works by recently deceased artist Sayed Haider Raza (1922-2016), a pioneer of Indian Modernism, and Pakistani artists Zahoor ul Akhlaq (1941-1999) and Anwar Jalal Shemza (1928-1985), offered by Jhaveri Contemporary (Mumbai).

Presence from the African continent will include, among others, Nigerian artists Ben Osawe (1931-2007) and Muraina Oyelami (b. 1940), presented by Tafeta (London).

For its 11th edition, and to complement the fair’s Modern hall, Art Dubai introduced the inaugural Art Dubai Modern Symposium–a series of talks and presentations focused on the life, work and cultural impact of 20th century masters from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. Renowned curators, scholars and patrons led the sessions that delved into the styles, influences and practices of artists whose work contributes to the history of art produced in the 20th century.

The Art Dubai Modern Symposium is organised with the support of Alserkal Avenue.

13 March 2017

Location: Modern Lounge, Art Dubai

17:00 – Welcome Address

Myrna Ayad, Art Dubai Fair Director

17:30 –18:30 – WOMEN AND MODERNITY

From challenges to opportunities, this session addresses women in the realm of Modern Middle Eastern art at various points between the 1940s and 1980s.

Panelists included:
HRH Dr. Wijdan Fawaz Al Hashemi, Artist and Founder of the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, Roobina Karode, Director of Kiran Nadar Museum, New Delhi, Salwa Mikdadi, Associate Professor of Art History at NYU Abu Dhabi, Dr. Sam Bardaouil Independent Curator and Academic, Co-founder of Art Reoriented

Moderated by Dr. Nada Shabout, Professor of Art History and Director of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Studies Initiative at the University of North Texas, USA, and member of Art Dubai Modern Advisory Committee

17 March 2017

Location: Modern Lounge, Art Dubai

This discussion focuses on the need to preserve, document, archive and support Modern art in the region through publications, exhibitions and online platforms.

Panelists included: Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, President, Sharjah Art Foundation, Dr. Nada Shabout, Professor of Art History and Director of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Studies Initiative at the University of North Texas, USA, and member of Art Dubai Modern Advisory Committee, Karim Sultan, Curator, Barjeel Foundation, Sharjah. Moderated by Kristine Khouri, Researcher and writer, co-founder of the History of Arab Modernities in the Visual Arts Study Group, and member of Art Dubai Modern Advisory Committee

With presentations by S.H. Raza, Anwar Jalal Shemza and Hadi Hazavei within Art Dubai Modern, this discussion will address the influence of Islamic aesthetics in Modern art from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.
Panelists include: Dr. Clare Davies, Assistant Curator, Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York,. Dr. Venetia Porter, Curator, Islamic and Contemporary Middle East Art, the British Museum, London, Nada Raza, Research Curator, Tate Research Center: Asia. Moderated by Dr. Iftikhar Dadi, Associate Professor at Cornell University’s Department of History of Art, New York, and member of Art Dubai Modern Advisory Committee

19:00 –20:00 – THE HUMAN CONDITION
This session delved into how modernists perceived, addressed and mirrored their times – from conflict and poverty to traditions and spirituality.
Panelists include: Ayo Adeyinka, Founder, TAFETA, London, Laura May Barlow, Curator, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Fatenn Mostafa, Founder, ArtTalks | Egypt, Cairo, Moderated by Catherine David, Deputy Director of the Musée National d’Art Moderne at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and member of Art Dubai Modern Advisory Committee

18 March 2017

Location: Concrete, Alserkal Avenue

 10:00 Welcome Address

Vilma Jurkute, Director of Alserkal Avenue

Saleh Barakat, Founder, Agial Art Gallery and Saleh Barakat Gallery, Beirut

As recognition for regional modernists grows through a greater appreciation amongst collectors, institutional exhibition and acquisitions, estates are being formed and managed. This discussion addresses the processes and intricacies behind estate formation, management and the safeguarding of modernists’ legacies.
Panelists included:
Amrita Jhaveri, Founder, Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai
Conor Macklin, Director, Grosvenor Gallery, London

Shirin Partovi Tavakolian, Founder, Shirin Gallery, Tehran / New York

Moderated by Tairone Bastien, Programming Director, Alserkal Avenue

The Maghreb and South Asia: continents apart, culturally distinctive and spiritually varied and yet, works by modernists from these regions share influences and styles, which have often intersected and found parallels.
Panelists included:
Diana Campbell Betancourt, Artistic Director of the Samdani Art Foundation and Chief Curator of Dhaka Art Summit

Ridha Moumni, Independent Curator and Research Associate at the Institut de Recherche sur le Maghreb Contemporain, Tunis

Dr Iftikhar Dadi, Associate Professor at Cornell University’s Department of History of Art, New York and member of Art Dubai Modern Advisory Committee

12:30 – 13:30 – SYRIA CALLING

A discussion with Syrian artist Elias Zayat about the inspiration, symbolism and mythology behind his iconic work, Deluge: The Gods Abandon Palmyra, and the impact of the Syrian crisis on him and fellow artists.
Panelists included:
Elias Zayat, Artist, Syria
Henry Kim, Director, Aga Khan Museum, Toronto


Through its year-round activity, educational initiatives and artistic programming, Art Dubai redefines what an art fair can be and has been a leading force in the development of the cultural landscape of the Middle East.

The Art Dubai Commissions programme has grown significantly since the fair’s last edition and for 2017 included site-specific works as well as a series of five specially commissioned performances, curated by guest curator Yasmina Reggad, and presented by international artists, Manuel Pelmuş, Lana Fahmi, Eglė Budvytytė and Iván Argote. One of the performances was staged as a tribute to the recently deceased Emirati artist Hassan Sharif.

Art Dubai Film is a programme of video and film by and about artists. Besides artists’ video shown in the gallery booths, the not-for-profit programme includes a cinema space at the fair each March, featuring programmes created by guest curators and collaborators.


The Room is an immersive, large-scale interactive installation that takes place at the Fair each year. The series unfolds in two interconnected rooms in the Mina a’Salam Hotel, and incorporates artist collaborations, gastronomy and performance.

Atfal Ahdath the Beirut based art collective consisting of Vartan Avakian, Hatem Imam and Raed Yassin presented Cooking Liberty, a visual and gastronomic happening.

Taking cues from Dali’s book, and his oeuvre in general and with the use of exaggeration and repetition, Atfal Ahdath presented the guests with edible dreams in an immersive setting reminiscent of a grandiose banquet. Recipes of famous dishes were structurally and molecularly reconstituted to create contradictory gustative sensations where the intensely sensorial experience flirted with familiarity and expectation. The menu included exquisite dishes as well as sonic, olfactory and visual courses.


Highlights of Art Dubai’s educational programming include the fair’s Fellowship Programme, a network of exceptional writers and curators working in the Middle East, coming together for a week-long series of intensive workshops during Art Dubai and after The Fair. Led by writer and curator Tirdad Zolghadr, the 2017 programme addressed the specific issue of artists writing. With the emphasis placed on the relationship between an artist’s written output and their overall artistic practice.

The 2017 Fellowship programme is supported by Julius Baer

Campus Art Dubai (CAD) is a school for artists, curators, writers, architects, designers and cultural producers based in the UAE. Meetings occur over weekends and feature courses, talks, workshops, taught and led by a local and international cast of academics, critics, curators and artists. The course provides a space for critical thinking and the exchange of ideas and skills, with participants encouraged to collaborate, debate and challenge.

CAD Core 5.0 was led by Murtaza ValiUzma Z Rizvi and Lantian Xie, with an invited group of international and local guest tutors, and focused on the theme On Engagement.

Campus Art Dubai is part of Art Dubai’s educational programming and is held in partnership with Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, and is supported by Dubai Design District (d3).

Art Dubai’s not-for-profit programme includes workshops, publications and discovery tours for children and teenagers, created especially for the fair by international and UAE-based artists. Each March, we partner with The Cultural Office to produce the Sheikha Manal Little Artists Program, designed to provide access to skills and ideas for UAE-based children and teenagers aged 5-17 with the long-term aim of encouraging young people to get involved and excel in the arts.


Art Dubai, Tashkeel and the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority are commissioning a series of public artworks. The 2017 programme will support Emirati and UAE-based artists by providing a platform to develop new work that extends the life and influence of the project beyond the fair, while facilitating exchange between artists, local communities and the broader cultural landscape.


2017 marked the 9th edition of the Abraaj Group Art Prize which has been recognised globally as an exceptional platform for artists working in the region. The aim of the prize is to empower potential and give often under-represented contemporary artists the resources to further develop their talent. Following the application and jury process, four artists are shortlisted for the prize and one (of the four) artists awarded the $100,000 commission. The three shortlisted artists receive a cash prize and are represented in a group exhibition at Art Dubai.

Curated by Omar Berrada, an exhibition by winning artist Rana Begum was presented alongside works by shortlisted artists Doa Aly, Sarah Abu Abdallah, Raha Raissnia.

 Homage Without An Homage

Presented by Julius Baer, the exhibition curated by Cristiana de Marchi, featured works by artists from different generations who have been mentored, influenced or inspired by the late Hassan Sharif’s practice and teaching.

Homage Without An Homage was accompanied by video screenings as well as a series of talks. Featuring the core group of UAE conceptual artists Hussein Sharif, Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim, and Mohammed Kazem, the show included artist, writer and filmmaker Nujoom Al Ghanem, Emirati artists Ebtisam AbdulAziz, Layla Juma, Shaikha Al Mazrou and Jumairy, along with international artists and friends Vivek Vilasini, Cristiana de Marchi, Salwa Zeidan, Ramin and Rokni Haerizadeh & Hesam Rahmanian.

Event Information:

15 – 18 March 2017

Location: Art Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah

Guided tours were available at the following times:

15 March 2017 (Ladies preview), 15:30 – 16:00

16 March 2017, 18:00 – 18:30

17 March 2017, 15:30 – 16:00



15-18 March, 2017

Location: Madinat Jumeirah

+971 4 563 1400


Earlier Event: March 14
Design Days Dubai 2017