The stage is set for Art Dubai 2014, the 8th edition of the world's most talked about juncture of art, knowledge and industrial glamour – the essential elements that colour today's ensemble of events staged from within the matrix of what has come to be known as 'art fair', a site where all transmissions aspire to elicit global response. The Dubai fair has reputedly aided the cause of transregional contemporary art in the last seven years by linking the exponents responsible for a glut of the cultural capital with the liquid capital.
Conceived as a confluence of contemporary global cultural currents with especial focus on the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, together known as MENASA, Art Dubai has shown a growing awareness about the changing tides in the arts and boasts all the right apparatuses to frame a nurturing environment for the new talents given to multidisciplinary praxis. Raising the bar with every edition, this platform has gone through a charismatic renewal under the directorship of Antonia Carver and has proved to be the most effective springboard for the regional artists seeking global attention as well as being a threshold for tracing global trends .
Dubai, the host city, injected as it is with the postindustrial-era fluid capital, is known for its flamboyance and frills – a reflection of the mega development schema and its outsize ego shot through with an ambition to reach ever greater heights. Seventh of the eight Emirates, Dubai embodies the quintessence of the modern Arab city.
A heaven for the super rich, with pervasive investment that went into construction and financial industries, that have braved the global downturn without losing the steam for growth, it is no surprise that the city state has now become a global hub for the arts. 'But it's not just a superficial dabble in the shallow end of art, as might be expected in a country hell bent on building its own Taj Mahal – only bigger than the original,' as observed by a tourist from 'down under' writing in one of his native local dailies. With the Fair and other ancillary institutions progressively playing a catalytic role in the growth of the arts, Dubai seems to be the most likely place for the cutting edge art flowing in to several different directions – installations, new media and public art, which are apparently the fads of our age. And artists responsible for such art are getting their fair share of attention alongside funding for future sustenance.
Nowhere does it sum up the true spirit of not-for-profit enterprises that facilitate exchange of knowledge and expertise as in Dubai that has been responsible for staging and marketing of art with special emphasis on assisting new talents through commissions, thereby leveraging its growth across the regions.
Art Dubai includes an extensive not-for-profit programme of curated projects, including artists' and curators' residencies; commissioned site-specific and performative works; a pop-up radio network; a space for film and video; the Global Art Forum; and The Sheikha Manal Little Artists Programme, an expanded programme of workshops and tours for children. Each year, the fair also hosts the exhibition of new works by the winners of the annual Abraaj Group Art Prize.
Form March 19 to 22, the plush ballrooms of Madinat Jumeirah hotel will accommodate three Gallery Programmes – Contemporary, Modern and Marker; the winners of The Abraaj Group Art Prize; artists' and curators' residencies; site specific commissions and projects; the critically acclaimed Global Art Forum; live radio; film and many more.
Art Dubai is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE, who is also the ruler of Dubai.