The tenth edition of Art Dubai, the leading art fair in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, opens tomorrow, from March 16-19 2016. Taking place at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai, this year is the largest and most diverse fair line-up to date, with new galleries exhibiting in the Contemporary and Modern halls; the first ever exhibition of its kind on the Philippines’ art scene in Marker; ambitious new commissions and projects; the largest not-for-profit educational programming of any international art fair worldwide; and the return of the highly anticipated Global Art Forum, uniting some of the world’s greatest thinkers at Art Dubai 2016.


Art Dubai is held under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Ruler of Dubai. Art Dubai is held in partnership with The Abraaj Group and is sponsored by Julius Baer and Piaget. The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) is a strategic partner of Art Dubai and, along with Dubai Design District (d3), supports the fair’s year-round education programme.


‘Art Dubai has come a long way over the past 10 years,’ says Fair Director Antonia Carver, ‘and we’re all excited to see the developments over the next decade. Our programme is unlike any other, worldwide: we represent an artworld that is truly global, has huge potential, and our programme foregrounds artistic discovery , ideas­ generation and cultural exchange.’


Art Dubai 2016 presents an extensive line-up of international and local galleries across the Contemporary and Modern gallery halls, with new galleries participating for the first time alongside those who have exhibited at Art Dubai annually throughout the past decade, since the fair’s first edition. Art Dubai Contempora ry includes 76 galleries from 35 countries; while Art Dubai Modern includes 13 galleries from 9 countries. As the most global and diverse of art fairs, Art Dubai 2016 welcomes 500 artists representing 70 nationalities; 45% of which are women.


This year sees more participation from UAE galleries than ever before, offering the opportunity to reflect on the significant growth of the local art scene. Supporting this, an independent study by Repucom has revealed the significant economic impact that Art Dubai has on the local economy, bringing in US $35 million across seven days in 2015.


Galleries will present work by the most notable contemporary artists working today in the Contemporary halls, alongside rare works by Middle Eastern, African and


South Asian modern masters in Art Dubai Modern, the only gallery programme of its kind in the world. Art Dubai Modem’s exclusive partner is Mashreq Private Banking.


Consolidating its role as the site for artistic discovery, Marker, Art Dubai’s gallery programme that focuses each year on a particular geography or theme, focuses on the dynamic independent artist-run spaces of Manila, the Philippines. Curated by Ringo Bunoan, Marker 2016 is the first showcase of contemporary art from the Philippines at any major international fair, and the first exhibition of its kind in the MENASA region. Marker features the work of twenty Filipino artists, from Modern master Roberto Chabet to a new generation of radical contemporary artists, all of whom who are in their 20s and 30s.


Art Dubai Projects, part of Art Dubai’s extensive not-for-profit programme, includes new works and performances that explore the theatrical nature of the fair. This year, Art Dubai Projects features eight new site-specific projects developed through Artists-in-Residence  

Another highlight of Art Dubai Projects 2016 will be The Wedding Project, presented by Art Dubai in partnership with Delfina Foundation: a new immersive project featuring performances and an eleven-course menu created entirely by artists, taking place across two rooms in Mina A’Salam.


Art Dubai’s tenth edition also includes the reveal of The Abraaj Group Art Prize (AGAP) exhibition. Curated by AGAP 2016 Guest Curator Nav Haq, the group exhibition presents the new $100,000 commission by the winning artist duo Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, alongside the work of the three shortlisted artists: Dina Danish, Mahmoud Khaled, and Basir Mahmood.


Exploring the theme, ‘The Future Was’, the tenth edition of the Global Art Forum 2016, Art Dubai’s renowned talks conference and Asia’s largest annual art conference, will run from March 16-18 on Fort Island, Madinat Jumeirah. Commissioned by writer Shumon Basar, with Amal Khalaf (artist, researcher and curator) and Uzma Z. Rizvi (Associate Professor of Anthropology and Urban Studies at the Pratt Institute of Art and Design, Brooklyn) as co-directors, the programme includes a series of 32 live talks, panels and performances, inviting over 50 international and regional leading world thinkers to discuss how the future has been imagined and shaped.


Welcoming curators, directors, artists and writers, Global Art Forum 2016 contributors vary from Glenn D. Lowry (Director, the Museum of Modern Art, New York), Hans Ulrich Obrist (Co-Director, the Serpentine Gallery, London) Germano Celant (Artistic Director, Prada Foundation, Milan), to artists el Seed, Sophia Al Maria, and Emirati science fiction writers Noura Al Noman and Mohammad A l Hammadi. The Global A rt Forum is presented by the Dubai Cult ure and Arts


Authority (Dubai Culture) and supported by Dubai Design District (d3). The British Council has kindly supported the appearance of UK-based speakers at the 2016 Forum.


Art Dubai’s 2016 programme also includes new exhibitions by key partners of the fair. Piaget, the Swiss luxury watchmakers and jewellers, presents a specially curated collection of extraordinary pieces from both its patrimony and new creations, including key pieces from the 1960s and 1970s from private collections from the Middle East and North Africa. Julius Baer, the leading Swiss private banking group, is showcasing work by the internationally renowned international artist Shirana Shahbazi from the Julius Baer Art Collection at its lounge. Julius Baer will also be sponsoring Art Dubai’s ongoing Forum Fellows programme for mid-career art practitioners, featuring discussions and workshops that focus this year on arts criticism in Arabic.


The full list of galleries for Art Dubai Contemporary can be found here. The full list of galleries for Art Dubai Modern can be found here. The full list of galleries participating in Marker can be found here. Read more about the Economic Survey by Repucom here: