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  • Sep 21, 2020

In-person Art Dubai 2021 confirmed for March

General view of Art Dubai in 2019. Image via Facebook.

The annual art fair Art Dubai has announced that the 14th edition will take place in 2021 from March 17–20, and that, for the first time, it will expand to multiple sites across the United Arab Emirates.

In the September 15 announcement, organizers confirmed that in addition to returning to Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah resort, Art Dubai 2021 will also take place across other art centers in Dubai, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi. 

While the names of participating commercial galleries have yet to be released, the upcoming fair will be themed around artistic “synergies” and the “vibrant and dynamic local art ecology” in celebration of the UAE’s upcoming 50th anniversary. The second edition of the Invited Curators Programme, a workshop to facilitate global communication between curators and collectors, which will be expanded in partnership with Dubai’s Jameel Arts Centre and the Sharjah Art Foundation in Sharjah. Meanwhile, an exhibition exploring commonalities in local artistic practices will be held in collaboration with gallery Warehouse 421 in Abu Dhabi. 

Art Dubai also announced on September 15 the appointment of its new regional director, Hala Khayat, previously head of sales at Christie's Dubai, who will lead strategies to engage local and regional collectors and artists. 

A major art event in the region, Art Dubai has boosted the region’s contemporary arts and culture scene since its inception in 2007, contributing AED 121.4 million (USD 33 million) to Dubai’s economy in 2019 according to Arabian Business. In March, the fair was among many to call off its 2020 edition due to Covid-19. In lieu of in-person events, a virtual iteration was held, showcasing online exhibitions in addition to a series of programs including the Global Art Forum Newshour Special hosted by Shumon Basar, featuring talks by curators, artists, and other industry experts.  

The news of a physical 2021 Art Dubai fair comes after Taipei Dangdai and the Melbourne Art Fair respectively delayed and canceled their 2021 editions earlier this month.

Despite a regional rise in cases, Art Dubai’s subsidiary Dubai Design Week will also proceed with its scheduled hybridized programming in November, with both virtual and IRL events. At the time of writing, the UAE reported a total of 84,916 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 10,239 cases currently active. The country saw 931 daily cases on September 11, the highest number since May.

Fion Tse is an editorial intern at ArtAsiaPacific.

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