AO On site – Dubai: Art Dubai Sales Exceed Expectations

March 24th, 2010

View of Art Dubai in the Medinat Jumeirah – All photos by Art Observed unless otherwise noted

On March 17th his Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai officially opened Art Dubai for its fourth edition.  The Middle East’s best attended contemporary art fair, this year record number of international and regional collectors attended the Jumeirah Patron’s Preview.  This year’s fair exhibited 1500 works from 72 leading International and regional galleries presented 1500 made by around 500 artists.

Visitors at Art Dubai, via Capital D Studio

More text and related links after the jump….

There was a great sense of diversity at this year’s Art Dubai as major collectors and art enthusiasts from around the world came to discover new artists and explore some of the most innovative galleries. “The UAE’s wise leadership has been aware of the fact that the sustainability of economic development entails equivalent social and cultural development. The event succeeded as a key platform for human and artistic creativity and as a forum bringing together artists, fans and collectors to interact and further enhance the relation between artists and the public,” said Shaikha Manal.

Art Dubai Visitors look at Athr Gallery, via Capital D Studios

Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde at Art Dubai, via Capital D Studios

In addition, this year’s fair hosted the strongest addition of collateral events including the Global Art Forum, special projects curated by Bidoun Projects, the Poetry of Time exhibition featuring a gorgeous collection of limited and special edition watches and jewelry made by Van Cleef and Arpels.

Sales were strong from the outset. Returning galleries such as Grosvenor Vadhera sold an important work by the Pakistani artist Sadaquain for over $200,000 and Zurich-based Galerie Kashya Hildebrand sold a Ran Hwang piece for $55,000.  Aaran Gallery, participating for the first time at the fair, sold six works by contemporary Iranian artists for a total of $24,800.

In the World But Don’t Know the World
(2009) by El Anatsui

On Tuesday, March 16th, the Abraaj Capital, the world’s richest art prize celebrating artists across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, was unveiled amidst a great crowd of attendees.  This year’s winners were Egyptian artist Hala Elkoussy with curator Jelle Bouwhuis; Lebanese artist Marwan Sahmarani with curator Mahita El Bacha Urieta; and Algerian artist Kader Attia with curator Laurie Ann Farrell.

Art Dubai is a subsidiary of the Dubai International Financial Center and is held in partnership with Abraaj Capital and sponsored by Van Cleef and Arpels.

A Space Exodus- Palestinauts
by Larissa Sansour

Related Links:

Art Dubai
Art Dubai: Blending Creativity with Interaction [Gulf News]
Art Dubai 2010 highlights diversity [Gulf News]
Art Dubai 2010 Presents its Strongest Programme to Date [Ameinfo]
Got Art? [Arabnews]
Art Dubai Closes after nearly 1800 Visitors [Artinfo]