Whatever your local tastes, the modern and contemporary section of the fair is dominated by galleries from India, Africa and the Middle East, with 24 galleries in Dubai alone. Many European galleries confirmed their local focus by showcasing works by artists from these regions. One of his highlights in the modern section was his DAG solo exhibition by Natvar Bhavsar (born 1934), an Indian artist who came to prominence in the United States in the wake of the Abstract Expressionist movement.
Bhavsar’s experience is typical of artists from non-Western countries in that he had to emigrate to America in order to find success. Other artists featured in this section had similar stories. Monir Shahraudi Furmanfarmian (1922-2019) moved back and forth between the United States and his native Iran, exhibiting at The Third Line (Dubai) and his Ota Fine Arts (Japan). The expressionist painter Marwan (1934-2016), exhibiting at the German gallery Sfeir-Semler, was born in Syria but made his career in Berlin.
In the Bowwaba section, Philippine Silver Lens presented a series of striking moth paintings in translucent capiz shells by Gregory Hariri, alluding to the fragility of ecosystems around the world. The French gallery next door, His Parliament, hosted an impressive exhibition by his Achraf Touloub from Morocco. His semi-abstract images explore the atomization of modern society. Indonesia’s Mariant, together with Singapore’s gallery Yeo Workshop, have stood up to the palm oil industry’s accusations with a series of strong graphic works.
Contemporary galleries have seen many newcomers, such as Efie Gallery, which is based in Dubai but dedicated to African artists. Kristin Hjellegjerde is a European gallery with a fully global approach, with branches in the UK, Germany, Norway and the USA. Art Her gallery stall in Dubai included artists from Pakistan, Egypt, Syria, Italy, South Africa and Iraq.
when art digital dubai, I have never seen such a wide selection of new media art. Although the NFT craze has had its boom and bust moments, there are still plenty of dealers out there hoping to make big bucks with this medium. Add in new areas like AI and the Metaverse, and it’s easy to see why so many believe this is the future of art.
The main attraction was Refik Anadol, a monumental AI work that occupied the central foyer of the National Gallery of Victoria at the 2020 NGV Triennale. Currently based in California, Anadol has an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His colorful swirls of AI-generated condensed images were being displayed by his PILEVNELI from his hometown of Istanbul.
Galleria Continua in Italy featured the work of Loris Cecchini, where algorithms spun organic patterns from single modular shapes. You can buy the video on the screen and the original metal modules that are housed in wooden boxes like rare jewellery. British artist Brendan Dawes at Gazell.io (Baku/London) showed an elaborate series of algorithmically generated images based on the Iranian epic. Shahnamadeveloped in collaboration with the choreographer.
A UEA NFT financial backer took the time to explain the investments he has made in the Metaverse, the marketing strategies he uses, and why he thinks it will be a multi-million dollar proposition within the next few years. He gave it to me.
It works like a club, you pay an admission fee and you can build a fictional environment off-the-shelf or with your own designs. Then you can sell your designs and ideas to other club members. This is a field of invention with endless possibilities, where players create their own Heaven or Hell for themselves. It is both a community and a world of oneself. I understand the commercial appeal, but I fear the social repercussions of the millions of people who are preoccupied with self-made worlds. It’s an idea.
The United Arab Emirates’ broader cultural aspirations are represented in very different ways by Art Dubai’s commercial festival and galleries clustered in a development called Alserkar Avenue. Spectacular Louvre Abu Dhabi. Privately funded Art Jameel with branches in Dubai and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. and the Sharjah Biennale. Combined with new museums and cultural undertakings in Qatar and elsewhere, it will be the most extravagant and ambitious investment in arts and culture found anywhere in the world today.
While the Louvre Abu Dhabi is a 21st century universal museum in partnership with the Louvre Museum in Paris, the 15th Sharjah Biennale is an all-too-contemporary exhibition with an interest in cutting-edge issues that dominate contemporary art. It’s an event.
This year’s exhibition includes notable Aboriginal artists Emily Kame Kwalee, Queenie Mackenzie, Youvena Nampidgin, Destiny Deacon, Tracy Moffat, and Asian-Australian artists Sangeeta Sandrasegar and Hodor Afshar. Works included. Each artist is equivalent to a solo exhibition. This very generous grouping is thanks to curator Seekahor Al for her Qashmi’s longstanding interest in Australia.
Many of the biennale’s other themed works: current historical thinking, which covered topics such as racism, police violence, the legacy of colonialism, and confiscation. It is a dubious human rights record common to. It suggests that contemporary art shines in the dark, or that it has little to do with the way power and policy are exercised. There are plenty of other countries that don’t, so I tend to be lenient and go for option 1. The United Arab Emirates has discovered that tolerance isn’t just about good PR. It’s good for business and karma. It’s ironic that I can travel to Sharjah to accept all these issues that are banned in Florida schools.
The Sharjah Biennale 15 runs until June 11th.
John McDonald was a guest at Art Dubai