The Recently Concluded Art Dubai 2009
Hectic ten days were spent in Dubai, with our contemporary art magazine from Pakistan, NuktaArt, as Art Dubai - the art fair's media partner. It was good to experience this well organised major international art event of the region. The hallmark of the event was participation of galleries and works contributed by several South Asian artists. It was great to view some exceptional art (together with the mediocre and cliched works), great performances, and meet a variety of professionals: artists, curators, gallery owners, editors of other publications, local Emirati young women who were interns there, and generally participate in the excitement all around. Close by was the Sharjah Biennale - one of the most prestigious art events that has been taking place every 2 years for the past 18 years - that awarded the jury prize to Pakistani artist Hamra Abbas.
This year, dealers focused far more strongly than in the two past editions on regional artists. The fair has matured to become the leading commercial event in the Menasa (Middle East, North Africa and South Asia) area. Even the western galleries ensured that they had something locally relevant on offer. Newcomer Edwynn Houk sold works by the Moroccan photographer Lalla Essaydi depicting veiled women, while Goff + Rosenthal was showing large-scale, semi-abstract works by the Iraqi-born painter Ahmed Alsoudani, a Saatchi favourite.