Just like the rest of the world, artists in Dubai saw art fairs being either postponed or cancelled. The COVID -19 pandemic has not only disrupted artists in Dubai but also the World’s Art calendar. The first art event to feel the wrath of the pandemic is the mammoth event Art Basel Hong Kong, which was rescheduled for March 2021. Another significant event disrupted by COVID-19 was Frieze New York which was slated for May 2020.
This article sheds light on the current state of creative industry in Dubai during crisis, and just how the residents of Dubai still love art.
Art Dubai decided to take its art fair to digital platform on March 24th 2020 in place of the physical exhibition normally held at Madinat Jumeirah. The initiative has offered about 50 participating galleries opportunity to show case over 500 works online. The online catalogue features works by Pio Abad, Tanya Goel among others. The platform has allowed the artists in Dubai to showcase their curated works online. A visitor browses through different medium in the catalogue to search their gallery or artist of choice. Even though prices are not indicated, a potential collector can fill out an online form on the website for further details.
Art Dubai which is the region’s largest world art fair allowed collectors to browse more than 500 works from about 50 galleries. This is how, despite crisis, artists in Dubai like Suzi Nassif are demonstrating their resilience today. Suzi Nassif believes Art has the power to connect. She is using the online platforms to ensure proliferation of artwork in the Arab world is unstoppable.
For the love of art in Dubai
After the launch of Art Dubai website, organizers announced they received 53,520 unique visitors from 23rd to 28th of March 2020. Curiously, the most visited page earned 40K views. The catalogue displayed artworks intended for the scheduled fair. Interesting, responses received in form of enquiries were encouraging. Artist in Dubai were able to close a number of sales going above and beyond the expectation.
The Christie’s Dubai decided to cancel the art auction due to constrained supply of artwork. The sale resumes in the spring of March 2021.
Space for young artists in Dubai.
World Art Dubai has rolled out inter-school competition to celebrate young people in UAE and help express their artistic flair. Several schools have confirmed their participation. The students can use the period of pandemic to make extraordinary pieces ready for the 2021 expo.
As artists in Dubai and their counterparts in the rest of the world wait for the lockdowns, travel advisories and other measures to be lifted, it is observable that there are vulnerable groups unable to go online, exacerbating the digital divide. All in all, even the in the period of social distancing the art still brings people together. March is usually a busy time for Dubai painters, exhibitors, and collectors of art in Dubai. The ecosystem is still knew and the Dubai painters have never experienced such kind of events.
Solidarity shown by artists in Dubai at the time art is suffering the full force of global health crisis and economic meltdown is commendable.