Over the last seven years, Art Dubai, the leading international art fair in the MENASA (Middle East/North Africa/South Asia), has become a cornerstone of the region’s booming contemporary art community. Recognized as one of the most globalized meeting points in the art world today, Art Dubai places an emphasis on maintaining its intimate, human scale while foregrounding quality and diversity. In 2013, Art Dubai welcomed 25,000 visitors–including 75 international museums groups–and hosted 75 galleries from 30 countries.
The eighth edition of Art Dubai takes place March 19-22, 2014, at Madinat Jumeirah. Besides the gallery halls, the fair’s extensive program includes commissioned projects and performances, artists’ and curators’ residencies, radio and film, an exhibition of new works by winners of the annual The Abraaj Group Art Prize and the critically acclaimed Global Art Forum.
In 2014, the fair features more than 85 gallery spaces from 34 countries–from the world’s most established to dynamic young art spaces. In addition to the Contemporary halls, Art Dubai launches a new program devoted to modern art from the Middle East and South Asia. Art Dubai Modern includes eleven galleries, each presenting a solo or two-person show by modern masters.
Shirin Gallery in Tehran, Iran was selected for the Modern hall. Shirin Gallery is committed to establishing an international context for the broad range of contemporary art practices within Iran and its surrounding regions. The gallery’s current programming is focused on the historical link between Iran’s modernist movements and contemporary art practices today. With branches in New York and Tehran, Shirin Gallery exists as a transnational platform for curatorial and pedagogical projects that foster artistic activity and exchange among emerging and established artists. In Tehran, the gallery exhibits its permanent collection showcasing respected Iranian artists as well as presenting bi-weekly exhibitions by upcoming talents and established artists. Shirin NY, located in the Chelsea Gallery District, furthers Shirin Gallery’s commitment to cultural exchange by exhibiting the Middle East’s rich artistic history within the US.
The exhibiting artist at Art Dubai representing Shirin Gallery is Ardeshir Mohassess, an Iranian illustrator and cartoonist, who lived in New York until 2008, when he passed away.
Mohassess pushed the art of the cartoon to almost surrealist satire and stylistic references to ancient art forms. Throughout his career, he remained a resolute social critic, focusing on the cruelty, humor, and vulnerability of human nature.
(website for images: http://sites.asiasociety.org/arts/mohassess/)
Gallery Etemad of Tehran, Iran was selected for the Contemporary hall. Established in 2002, Etemad Gallery seeks to showcase regional and international artists and is committed to promoting a wide range of emerging and established artists practicing in varied techniques and forms, from figurative to abstract minimalism. Etemad Gallery’s program has a highly curatorial approach, reflected in the gallery’s exhibitions which highlight the diversity and depth of many selected artists.
(Please find images for Shahriar and Ramtin in their websites, which I’ve linked to their names).
Leila Pazooki is also represented by Gallery Etemad. The concept of “borders” is a recurring backdrop and common thread through all her projects. Her visual explorations include the strategies of multi-layering and partial elimination of “illicit” images, mingling the “borders” of “tolerable” and “forbidden” figurative representations. In her recent works Pazooki continues the research in the realm of media, questioning the validity or reliability of the messages that cross the “borders.”
(her website, which I’ve linked to her name, has images)
Art Dubai is held under the Patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai. Art Dubai Ladies’ Day is held under the patronage and guidance of Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Women’s Establishment, Wife of HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, UAE .