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The National | Art Dubai 2022: What to Expect at the UAE's biggest art fair

Alexandra Chaves

The UAE art season is in full swing, with new exhibitions at Jameel Arts Centre and Sharjah Art Foundation opening earlier this week and Alserkal Art Week hosting talks and activities, with shows extending throughout the next few months.

One of the big events on the calendar is undoubtedly Art Dubai, with the 15th event taking place from Friday, March 11 to Sunday, March 13 at Madinat Jumeirah. This year, the art fair is gearing up for its biggest programme thus far with more than 100 contemporary and modern galleries participating.

Artworks are on display across three sections: contemporary, modern and Bawwaba, with commissioned works spread out across the venue. In addition, Art Dubai will have its first digital art section titled Art Dubai Digital, complemented by the theme of the 15th Global Art Forum — This is the Picture.

Here’s what to expect at the main sections of Art Dubai this year:

Art Dubai Contemporary

A total of 77 galleries will be showcasing works for the contemporary section, out of which 15 are new to the fair.

From Dubai, Carbon 12 will present works by Sarah Almehairi, Andre Butzer, Anthony Akinbola, Anahita Razmi and Amba Sayal-Bennett, while Green Art Gallery will showcase works by Michael Rakowitz and Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde will have Manal Al Dowayan’s most recent textile pieces.

Other Dubai galleries participating include Ayyam Gallery, Custot Gallery, Leila Heller Gallery, Lawrie Shabibi, Meem Gallery, Tabari Artspace, The Third Line, Volte Art Projects and Zawyeh.

Participating galleries from the Middle East include Athr from Jeddah, Hafez Gallery and Mono Gallery from Riyadh, Wadi Finan Art Gallery from Amman, Mark Hachem from Beirut, Gallery One from Ramallah. There’s also +2 Gallery, Mohsen Gallery, Dastan’s Basement and Parallel Circuit from Tehran; Sanatorium, Dirimart, x-ist, Anna Laudel and Zilberman Gallery from Istanbul.

Art Dubai Modern

Curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, the modern section will feature solo booths on 20th-century masters from the Middle East and North Africa, including Bibi Zogbe, a Lebanese painter known for her floral canvasses, whose works will be presented by Agial Art Gallery from Beirut; and Aref El Rayess, whose retrospective is currently on view at Sharjah Art Museum. El Rayess’s work at Art Dubai is presented by Sfeir-Semler Gallery.

Works by Chant Avedissian (Sabrina Amrani), Gamal El Sagini (Zamalek Art Gallery), Nabil Nahas and Anas Albraehe (Saleh Barakat Gallery), and KS Kulkarni (Aicon Art) are also part of the section.


Translated from the Arabic word for “gateway”, Bawwaba contains works made specifically for the fair in the past year. The section aims to capture artistic trends and developments across the Global South, a region organisers have been aiming to champion through their programming.

Curated by Nancy Adajania, 10 solo presentations will be on view this year, six from newcomers. Lagos-based Rele Gallery, participating at Art Dubai for the first time, will feature stunning paintings by Tonia Nneji, while new arrival TARQ from Mumbai and Nature Morte from New Delhi will be presenting Soghra Khurasani and Mona Rai, respectively.

Works by Ranbir Kaleka will be on view with New Delhi's Vadhera Art Gallery, while Cusco’s Vigil Gonzales will showcase works by Jose Luis Martinat.

Art Dubai Commission

Among Art Dubai’s commissions for 2022 is one by Madrid-born artist Fernando Garcia-Dory with Inland collaborative agency from Spain. Bringing together ideas from archaeology, hydrology and urbanism, he will present Sand Flow, a multi-side installation that will explore Dubai’s history, as well as the cultures and communities that exist within the city.

Meanwhile, Filipino-American light artist James Clar will unveil an interactive installation Cloud Seed at the Julius Baer lounge that will present real time simulation of raindrops and fog.

Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru, whose sculptural masks play with conventional craft and design, will conduct a workshop for children aged 5 to 17. During the workshop, the artist will guide participants on how to repurpose everyday materials to artistic pieces.

The initiative is part of Art Dubai organiser ARM Holding’s Children’s Programme, which aims to expand its activities to 80 schools around Dubai.


A new partnership between Art Dubai, Warehouse421 and the Salama Bint Hamdan Emerging Artist Fellowship (SEAF) will culminate in an exhibition on the fellowship's eight-year history that is curated by Maryam Al Dabbagh and Mays Albaik.

The art of the unpainted canvas: new exhibition traces Fahd Burki's journey to abstraction

Titled Speculative Links, the presentation explores ideas of collective memory and prevalent themes found in SEAF's previous exhibitions. Featured artists include Asma Khoory, Tala Worrell, Dina Nazmi Khorchid, Sawsan Al Bahar, Shaikha Alketbi, Fatima Albudoor, Mohamed Khalid and Malak Elghuel.

In another exhibition, Russian artist Marina Fedorova’s Cosmodreams will consider how technology has impacted our environment. The immersive installation blends painting and sculpture with augmented and virtual reality, and was previously shown at the Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art in St Petersburg.

Art Dubai will take place from 2pm-9pm on March 11 and 12, and noon-6pm on March 13 at Madinat Jumeirah. Tickets are priced at Dh60 for one-day entry, and Dh100 for a three-day entry, available at