Coinciding with Art Dubai (the Dubai Art fair), ‘Art Night’ was held at one of Dubai’s most impressive venues, DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre). The impressive and sophisticated surroundings added to the prestigious event which was held in the heart of the business and cultural district, surrounded by plush galleries in a modern open-air venue under the stars.
The event allowed the upcoming artesian an opportunity to showcase their work alongside the more established artists in the region who have been housed in one of the fastest emerging art scenes in the world.
The unique location and plethora of exhibition openings enticed the novice appreciator, the curious art lover and the wealthy and cultured collector. All attendees not only enjoyed the visual delights on offer but each also played an integral role in promoting the arts and culture community in Dubai.
Qinza Najm with her black and white painting series “Tender Lover of Hate”
I was privileged to be invited to exhibit my work as part of a group exhibition at this event. My series of four black and white mixed media paintings named “Tender Lover of Hate” touches on the issues of identity, conflict, ego and empathy (above).
Live band stirring the crowd
People meandered through the crowds whilst stopping to take in the ‘artsy’ fashionable atmosphere, partaking of the nibbles laid out by the Ritz Carlton while being entertained by the dulcet tones of live bands.
To the street painter whose pool floor mural came to life under the ‘selfie’ camera to the breath-taking art and sculpture pieces on display, the electric atmosphere of creativity was in awe and appreciation by all attendees.
Ever prevalent in many of the galleries, especially ones that represented artists from the region, was the symbolic branding of the Arabic calligraphy and text, cleverly and subtlety used to elicit an emotive response from the viewer.
Ayyam Gallery. Artist, Abdulnasser Gharem Al Sahwa. Solo show “The Awakening”
From paintings to sculpture to woven carpets and even art made from simple sewing string that spun from building to building like ‘old day’ electric street cabling.
The art scene was truly in its element and Dubai has, once again, placed itself on the map as an art hub that many collectors swarm towards to experience a plethora of styles and artistes.
Not all the galleries housed beautiful pieces of art, some were there to tell a story. One of the most poignant shows was aired at the Cuadro Fine Art Gallery, who housed the collection “Crash” by Manal AlDowayan. As the gallery states, that it highlights the “plight of Saudi woman teachers who die or get injured in car accidents every year.”
For these women, the combination of low salaries, driving bans, far flung teaching assignments and unsafe roads and drivers have created dangerous and unstable conditions. The accidents are regularly reported in the Saudi newspapers, however, due to laws in the kingdom, the identities of the women are left out.
Their faces are never seen, their names are never mentioned. This raises the question of class and equality in the Saudi Arabia and whether the law seeks to protect or marginalize the victim. The artist asks “how do you mourn the dead if the sufferings have no face or name?”
The art scene here in Dubai continues to astound, amaze and question the boundaries between east and west. It is progressive, modern and continues to grow in strength year on year. The new talent that emerges from these events have strong influential ties on upcoming generations and their forward-thinking, somewhat political themes allows for historical conceptualization of contemporary art in the region.
The event attracts more art lovers and is beginning to breed a new type of art appreciator. While most would be drawn to the visual complexities of the art-piece, the modern appreciator now not only feels empathy for the art-piece but also questions the motives behind it.
Here are some more pictures of the art, people, and atmosphere of this amazing event:
Good looking guests