That’s a Wrap - Dubai Art Week 2017 comes to an end

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Last week, Dubai experienced another successful and eventful Art Week, which saw the international art world’s eyes turn to the emirate. Throughout the week there were exhibitions and events covering every angle of creativity from classic masters of art to interior design and social events for art enthusiasts.

Each year Art Week in Dubai becomes bigger and better showcasing out of this world talent, art and projects.

Capsule Arts’ team took to Art Week to check out some of the staple events that took place.

Al Serkal Avenue, 9 - 18 March

Al Serkal Avenue is one of Dubai’s most creative neighborhoods and is always a must-see during Art Week. A variety of events take place throughout the year, not just for Art Week, including gallery nights, pop up projects, public talks and workshops.

One highlight we caught last week was the incredible project Syria: Into the Light, a show featuring more than 60 works by Syrian masters and emerging artists, from the collection of the Atassi Foundation. This was launched at the beginning of Art Week and will be exhibiting until 3 April 2017.

Below are some snaps from Capsule Art’s adventures last week at Al Serkal Avenue.

The Third Line – EVERYTHING MUST GO, the first solo exhibition  by Sophia Al-Maria in the UAE
The Third Line – EVERYTHING MUST GO, the first solo exhibition by Sophia Al-Maria in the UAE
Exhibition - Syria into the Light
Exhibition - Syria into the Light
Print by Ahlam Al Arif, part of Woven Heritage:  International Miniature Printmaking Exhibition at A4 Space
Print by Ahlam Al Arif, part of Woven Heritage:  International Miniature Printmaking Exhibition at A4 Space
Al Serkal Commissions – Different Air by Karim Sultan
Al Serkal Commissions – Different Air by Karim Sultan

Art Dubai, 16 – 18 March

The 11th Season of Art Dubai took place at its usual setting of the Madinat Jumeirah Conference Centre, showcasing 94 worldwide galleries in contemporary art and art by masters from the Middle East, South Asia and African region.

As always, the event was a thriving hub for art lovers, with something for everyone.

In addition to the fair, Art Dubai had multiple projects and supporting exhibitions on show, including a sparkling Piaget exhibition and the annual Abraaj Art Group Prize commissions. There was also a futuristic digital installation by Meraas Dubai displaying moving images of the art at City Walk Dubai, probably the most popular selfie hot spot at the fair.

Art Dubai in pictures:

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Design Days Dubai, 14 – 17 March

In its sixth edition, Design Days Dubai once again showcased contemporary and innovative furniture and design objects. The fair served as an interesting window into new trends in the luxury design industry and offered a snapshot of where the future of interior design is heading.

This year the fair moved to its new home in Dubai Design District – D3, a move which felt like a natural step, continuing to add to Dubai’s growing hub of design.

Design Days Dubai in pictures:

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HIPA – Wednesday 15 March

Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA)

HIPA is a photography competition, which has been taking place annually during Dubai Art Week since 2011. It is held under the patronage of the Crown Prince Shaikh Hamdan, who is himself an avid photographer.

The theme for the grand prize this year was ‘The Challenge’, with 3 additional sub-categories: digital manipulation, general and portfolio.

This year’s venue for the winning photographs ceremony was the glamorous Dubai Opera Plaza. A beautiful performance of orchestral music was composed especially for the introduction of each competitive category. Shaikh Ahmad Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum attended the event to do the honors of giving the grand prize winning award.

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In Review: 'Portrait Of A Nation' at Emirates Palace

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"If there is one word to describe the United Arab Emirates it is 'United'”, said artist Amna Al Dabbagh, who was one of the featured artists in ‘Portrait of a Nation’, an exhibition that was displayed in Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, from April 11th till May 10th 2016. Part of the Abu Dhabi Festival, ‘Portrait of a Nation’ celebrated Emirati artists and their works focused on the UAE's culture, architecture, nature, identity, traditions and religion. You can find out more information about the exhibition here.

At first entry, visitors were greeted with a large mirrored piece that had an immediately recognisable shape for people who have been brought up in the UAE. Etched into this mirror were the lines tracing the UAE’s borders along with texts in numerous languages as well as the title of the artwork, ‘United’. This mirror artwork by Amna Al Dabbagh united all 7 Emirates together with the languages of the 200 plus nationalities, as well as the reflection of exhibition visitors who also make up this nation we all call home.

Another familiar sight for the UAE’s residents were the cafeterias and shawarma shops populating Khalid Mezaina’s series of illustrations, 'Cafeterias of the UAE', which document urban life in the UAE. Speaking about the drawings, Khalid says: "the UAE has a rich history of ‘shawarma’ shops and cafeterias all across the country, catering to not just specific communities in the UAE, but the entire nation as a whole. Emiratis, expats and everyone in between flock to these cafeterias daily for an affordable sandwich, a humorously titled juice, or a plastic cup of sugared, steaming hot chai! these cafeterias are iconic structures in the UAE's culture and urban landscape. Not only are they places of social encounters, but places of deep context in understanding food culture of the UAE. Through illustration, I would like to archive these cafeterias as important, iconic institutions and its importance to their communities. In the UAE, major cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi are growing at an exceptionally fast pace, changing the landscape of a city tremendously, with things of the past unfortunately getting lost. Only time will tell if these cafeterias will survive through these current changes. I hope these illustrations would act as a form of documentation and nostalgia for anyone that has encountered these cafeterias while growing up in the UAE."

Khalid is part of our limited edition art print collection and you can see our range of prints by the artist here.

Another piece which was an eye catcher, was Aisha Juma's 'Inner Pilgrimage', which created a meditative experience for visitors within the gallery, allowing them a moment of peace and personal space in this exhibition.

For those of you who didn't manage to catch the exhibition before it closed, you can see more in our gallery below.

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Last Day of SIKKA 2016

Sadly today is the last day of SIKKA 2016 as Dubai Art Season 2016 draws to a close for another year and the Dubai art world slows down ahead of summer. Make sure you take a trip down to catch the fair nestled in the peaceful heritage quarter of Al Fahidi and discover art amongst the alleyways and courtyards. For more information, the SIKKA facebook page is your best resource, with daily updates on the programmed. The fair closes tonight with the Emirati monodrama, "Why would i wait for?", written and directed by Hafidh A.Thani, tonight, 8:30 pm in House 19, and of course the SIKKA Closing party, 7-11pm.

For those not in the know, SIKKA is an annual showcase organised by Dubai Culture specifically designed to feature UAE and GCC contemporary art practices and initiatives, through a diversity of artistic talent and stance, providing opportunity to experience home-grown creativity at its liveliest and best, in the heart of Dubai.

This year artist Matt Ryder created two new large-scale paintings for SIKKA, which you can see in House 16. These artworks look at the process of grief and the recovery process, through the genre of landscape painting. Ryder uses symbolism, scale, realism and colour to represent this full cycle of emotion. Matt is part of our limited edition art print collection and you can see our range of Matt Ryder prints here.

Also featured in both our print collection and in SIKKA 2016 is renowned Emirati painter Mohammed Al Qassab, whose work can be seen as part of the Emirates Fine Arts Society exhibition in House 31. You can check out our range of available art prints by Al Qassab here.

His fiery abstract painting 0n show took us back to one of our past art consulting projects, when we commissioned Al Qassab for 2 paintings for the Arabic Gallery in Kempinski Mall of the Emirates back in 2013 (pictured below). These paintings merged elements inspired by traditional Sadu fabric with the vibrant reds and oranges of the desert landscape.

If you're looking to pick up a purchase at SIKKA, don't miss FN Design Studio's pop up shop in House 42, which stocks a range of eclectic and arty items. This includes this lovely screenprint from Kathryn Wilson, which she's created as a limited edition piece to raise money for Water.org...get it while it lasts!

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Some more from our adventures during Art Week 2016...

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