Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) announces the opening of the seventh edition of Dubai Art Season, the annual flagship art initiative hosted under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture. The event aims to celebrate the emirate's growing creative and cultural landscape internationally, through a two-and-a-half-month citywide activation of colourful and captivating tapestry of arts and cultural events across Dubai, including outdoor art projects, interactive initiatives, workshops, exhibitions, panel discussions, and performances.
Dubai Art Season began in February with Emirates Festival of Literature, which ran from February 4th - 9th 2020. The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is the Middle East's largest celebration of the written and spoken word, bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together with authors from across the world to promote education, debate and above all else, love of reading and writing. The event continues in Building 6 of Dubai Design District (d3) from February 27thto March 26th with a retrospective exhibition of the artist known as Satwa 3000. This Swiss artist, Maxime Cramatte, is notorious across the UAE for his unique interpretation of the world at large, always underpinned by local detail. Also in d3, from March 10th to April 15th, a series of gorilla statues will be on show for the public to engage with and also raise the profile of the endangered silverback gorilla. The works, by Dubai-based French Tunisian artist Idriss B will also help towards the environmental cause.
Jameel Arts Centre
Also, under the umbrella of Dubai Art Season is the varied programming at the Jameel Arts Centre. An exhibition with ceramic artist Lubna Chowdhary opened on February 8th 2020. Referring to architectural ornamentation in the Middle East and South Asia, Chowdhary created 1000 brightly coloured ceramic edifices, towers, monuments and other less definable forms. This Art Jameel Collection work was created over a 26-year period from 1991 to 2017. Alongside this exhibition is a display of built and unbuilt projects by Wael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto, principals of waiwai, an architectural practice based in UAE and Japan. Also in the Jameel Arts Centre, which is one of the most important non-profit arts institutions in the region, is an exhibition dedicated to Palestine. Pre-1948: One Map, Multiple Mediums explores a highly detailed pre-1948 map of Palestine as documented by the British Mandate, which serves as a focal point for conversations, workshops and performance. In March, Iraqi artist Michael Rakowitz is presenting a major survey show of produced over the last 20 years across sculpture, drawings, installations, and video.
The first edition of ‘Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert’ will take place from 4th – 7th March 2020 in the Al Marmoom Desert. As part of Dubai Art Season, the event aligns with the new cultural vision of Dubai to establish the city as a global centre for art and culture, position Dubai as an incubator for creativity, and ensure that Dubai remains a thriving hub for talent. ‘Al Marmoom: Film in the Desert’ is a unique concept in the region, where enthusiasts can watch films under the stars amid the golden dunes of the desert and they can also learn more about the industry from experts in a series of masterclasses, workshops and fire-pit sessions that take the form of intimate discussions.
SIKKA Arts Festival is the Authority’s flagship initiative and a pillar event of Dubai Art Season. This year’s event is the 10th anniversary of the prestigious arts and cultural festival, and will take place from March 19th - 29th, 2020 in the heart of historic Dubai, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood. The festival will activate the alleyways and rooftops of the picturesque neighbourhood as well as offering live music, performance and entertainment for the whole family. Held under the theme of Dreamers, this year’s festival will celebrate the city’s most creative and talented artists to unleash their dreams to their fullest potential for their participation in SIKKA 2020 – inspiring arts for 10 years.
The launch of the new Theatre of Digital Art Dubai and a new performance space at the Souk Madinat Jumeirah Amphitheatre falls under Dubai Art Season 2020. The theatre will combine three formats of digital art: multimedia exhibitions, contemporary immersive installations and art in virtual reality and the waterside amphitheatre performance space will offer an impressive array of entertainment all year round, including community theatre and live performances.
Dubai Culture is also a supporter and partner of Art Dubai, the city’s leading art fair and the region’s most prestigious trade event for contemporary art. Taking place from March 25 – 28th 2020, Art Dubai brings galleries together from all over the world and also hosts a series of lectures, workshops and installation art. In Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), where there is a vibrant community of fine art galleries, DIFC Art Night is part of Dubai Art Season. Featuring a unique fusion of art, culture and entertainment, this bi-annual community event showcases installations from both local and international artists and a celebration of sculpture on March 23rd. In a similar style of event, Dubai Art Season also includes Galleries Night in Alserkal Avenue, which is an evening of new exhibition openings, tours, and performances happening on March 23rd.
From April 8 – 11th, World Art Dubai at the Dubai World Trade Center reflects the city's growing prominence as a leading cultural and artistic hub with a fusion of art, education and entertainment, catering to all art lovers, corporate buyers and private collectors.
Festivals and showcases
Under Dubai Art Season, Middle East Film & Comic Con (MEFCC) is the Middle East's largest annual pop culture celebration. A fun packed event filled with regional and international entertainment and geek culture including some of the world's biggest brands and celebrities in film, TV and sci-fi this event happens in Dubai World Trade Center from March 5th – 7th 2020.
Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award is a yearly event showcasing some of the most awe-inspiring work of professional and amateur photography enthusiasts from around the world. This event, a prestigious part of Dubai Art Season, opens on March 10th, 2020.
Alserkal Arts Foundation will present ‘New Waves: Mohamed Melehi and the Casablanca Art School Archives’ in Concrete, Alserkal Avenue from March 14th to April 4th 2020. Curated by Morad Montazami and Madeleine de Colnet, the exhibition tells the story of the radical Casablanca Art School, retracing Melehi’s career chronologically, from the 1950s to the 1980s, as well as including some of the artist’s contemporary works.
To close out the two-and-a-half-month season of events, -ING Creative Festival is a community dedicated to unlocking the creative potential of participants across the city and the country. Experts from around the world come in to host talks, workshops and portfolio reviews as well as masterclasses. The event is in Dubai Design District (d3) from April 9th to 11th.
Walid Ahmed, Head of Dubai Art Season and SIKKA Arts Festival with Dubai Culture said: “We, at Dubai Culture, are delighted to witness the successes of Dubai Art Season over the past six years. It is a pioneering creative platform that enhances Dubai’s position as an international artistic and cultural destination, and incubator of creativity and a thriving hub talent. It is also in line with the determined efforts of our wise and visionary leadership to strengthen the cultural sector in the UAE, and to consolidate the rich cultural and artistic landscape all over the country. Through the varied spectrum of activities and creative initiatives included under Dubai Art Season, Dubai Culture seeks to support young and creative talents and provide an innovative platform that contributes to their happiness and provides them with an opportunity to develop their talents and establish a prosperous future for their businesses. "
He added: "The organization of these activities and activities also comes within the framework of our efforts to promote happiness and positive energy in the hearts of community members, Emiratis, residents and visitors to Dubai, which is towards the aim of achieving the objectives of Dubai Plan 2021 – making this city a preferred place to live and work for creative people all over the region.”