Saturday 14 July 2018

Art Dubai 2019 adds new section to boost Africa, other regions' space

One of the booths at Contemporary section of Art Dubai 2018.
As Art Dubai, in UAE continues its 2019 Call for galleries entries, a new space has been announced into the yearly art fair. The new gallery section known as 'Bawwaba' (gateway in Arabic), offers art and artists from Africa as well as contents that focus on the continent an expansive expression.
Located within the Contemporary gallery halls, Bawwaba, according to a statement from Art Dubai, "will feature 10 presentations by individual artists from, based in, or focused on the Middle East, Africa, Central and South Asia as well as Latin America". Quite a slight restructuring of the entire exhibition space of Art Dubai goes with the 2019 edition. For example, the second edition of the fair’s 'Residents' programme will focus on art and artists from Latin America

Also, in its sixth edition, another section known as Art Dubai Modern will move from the traditional space in the Mina A’Salam Hotel into the Contemporary halls. The change, it was said allows "a more cohesive reading of the region’s art history". Described as  "a unique platform for Modern art from the region", the Art Dubai Modern section features works by 20th century masters from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, with presentations dedicated to a particular period or thematic dialogue.

Still on the changes, the statement added: "The upcoming edition of 'Residents' will move from its initial location between the two Contemporary gallery halls to Mina A’Salam, and will focus on Latin America. This upcoming edition of Residents will be co-curated by Art Dubai’s Artistic Director Pablo del Val, alongside a dedicated curator. A programme-cum-gallery section, 'Residents' offers artists the opportunity to come to the UAE for a 4-6-week residency, producing work which will be presented by the artists’ respective galleries at the fair".

When the 'Residents' debuted last year,  Nigerian and Ghanaian artists Victor Ehikhamenor and Zahra Opoku were among the nine participants represented by galleries based outside Africa.

Over all, African artists at the entire Art Dubai 2018 sections included Ade Adesina, Victor Ekpuk, Modupeola Fadugb and Ehikhamenor (Nigeria), Opoku (Ghana), and Wosene Worke Kosrof and Girma Bert (Ethiopia) all showed their works at the Contemporary section. Lisbon, Portugal-based Perve Gallery, made its fourth appearance to the fair with two Mozambican artists at the Modern Galleries Section.

The 12th Art Dubai edition last year was a hit for some of the galleries and artists. For example, Accra, Ghana-based Gallery 1957, which represented Fadugba had about half of the works  sold already,” on the second day of opening. And at the end of the fair, director of Gallery 1957, Victoria Cooke, enthused that "it was a sold out booth".

There were ten African artists and two galleries from sub-Saharan Africa.

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