Art Dubai 2020: Why the Mideast’s leading art fair is turning to Africa 

An example of work by Kenyan artist Longinos Nagila, whose art will be at Art Dubai 2020. (Supplied) 
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Updated 14 December 2019

Art Dubai 2020: Why the Mideast’s leading art fair is turning to Africa 

  • The artworks feature a selection of 55 galleries that aim to further the fair’s focus on expanding conversations beyond traditional art production centers
  • The 2020 edition will include 21 first-time exhibitors from Nigeria, Sudan and Vietnam

DUBAI: Art Dubai returns for its 14th edition in from March 25-28, 2020, with a fair that continues to build off Dubai’s pivotal location between South Asia, East Africa, and the Gulf, bringing together global perspectives from geographies often overlooked in the realm of international contemporary art. Next year’s edition presents 90 galleries from 38 countries, including 21 first-time exhibitors from Nigeria, Sudan and Vietnam.




Artist Hamra Abbas will present her work at the gallery. (Supplied) 

Artworks will be displayed across four gallery sections, including Art Dubai Contemporary, featuring a selection of 55 galleries that aim to further the fair’s focus on expanding conversations beyond traditional art production centers; Art Dubai Modern, curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath presenting solo presentations by modern masters from the MENASA region; and Bawwaba, which means “gateway” in Arabic and is curated by Mumbai-based curator Nancy Adajania and showcases solo presentations by artists from, based in, and or focused on projects about the Middle East, Africa, Central, South and Southeast Asia and Latin America. 

All eyes are on contemporary art from Africa and Art Dubai’s new focus for its Residents section, which showcases solo presentations from invited galleries whose artists have partaken in a UAE-based art residency, further affirms this statement. “The curatorial intervention in this year’s Residents will be looking at geometry and pattern,” Malatsie told Arab News. “Our perception of the world follows a logic that is learnt through various institutional and societal norms. The curatorial intervention will use institutional and individual norms to make biases and learnt perceptions visible to those coming to the exhibition.”




Grosvenor Gallery will be at Art Dubai. (Supplied)

This year, Residents will feature presentations of artworks by emerging artists across the African continent, including Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, South Africa and Sudan. The section will include London and Addis Ababa-based Addis Fine Art, exhibiting the work of Ethiopian artist Daniela Yohannes, Circle Art Gallery from Nairobi featuring the work of Kenyan artist Longinos Nagila, Accra-based Gallery 1957 presenting the work of Ghanaian artist Gideon Appah and SMAC with branches in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Stellenbosch, featuring the work of Wallen Mapondera from Zimbabwe amongst others.

“There is a natural progression in representation of art from the African continent at Art Dubai,” said Pablo del Val, the fair’s artistic director, to Arab News. “There are cultural and aesthetic connections that reflect in local social sensibilities and ideas and a significant community of African collectors based in Dubai. These relationships ensure that the art is contextualized, making it more powerful than if art from Africa were treated as an exception.” 


Luxury e-tailer The Modist closes amid the coronavirus pandemic

The Modist was launched in 2017. (Instagram)
Updated 4 min 47 sec ago

Luxury e-tailer The Modist closes amid the coronavirus pandemic

  • The decision was made amid the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic

DUBAI: Luxury modest wear e-tailer The Modist has closed down “its virtual doors,” founder Ghizlan Guenez announced on Instagram on Thursday.

The decision was made amid the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.

“Unfortunately, whilst our plans and position were quite different only weeks ago, the global pandemic crisis that hit the world shifted our position entirely and rendered our young business very vulnerable, which left us with no choice but to cease operating and close down,” Guenez wrote.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

It’s a heavy day and I am sad to share that the brand and business (@themodist) that we built with so much passion, hard work and perseverance is closing its virtual doors today. Unfortunately, whilst our plans and position were quite different only weeks ago, the global pandemic crisis that hit the world shifted our position entirely and rendered our young business very vulnerable, which left us with no choice but to cease operating and close down. As an entrepreneur, you start a business with explosive optimism, passion, excitement and a clear vision of where you want to go with your idea. You take risks, sometimes disproportionate to the potential reward, but that is what the fabric of entrepreneurs is made up of: faith, passion, vision, resilience and the ability to keep going against all odds. You don’t however truly plan for a day when you see the “lights switch off”. But when you start a business with a purpose like The Modist, which was built on values of celebrating women’s choices, diversity and inclusion, breaking stereotypes and putting a stick in the ground in the space of modesty, you find solice in the fact that whilst the business no longer exists, its impact is everlasting and the conversations that it created will have played a role in changing mindsets. This is why whilst this is a very difficult day for those of us who were part of building it, our comfort lies in the fact that the journey of building The Modist with all its milestones is as important as the destination it was aiming to reach. There aren’t enough words to describe how inspiring our community of women (and men) has been. I truly hope that this community continues the conversation on important values and that players in the fashion industry and beyond continue to carry the flag of what is important: inclusion, innovation, diversity, sustainability and all the other topics that are relevant today more than ever. I want to thank each and every person who touched our journey no matter how small or large their contribution to The Modist was. I especially want to thank my incredible team, some of whom have been on this journey since day 1, for the passion, (continuation below)

A post shared by Ghizlan Guenez غزلان ڤنّز (@ghizlan_guenez_) on

The Modist, launched in 2017, was built on values of celebrating women’s choices, diversity and inclusion, breaking stereotypes and putting a stick in the ground in the space of modesty, according to Guenez.

“I truly hope that this community continues the conversation on important values and that players in the fashion industry and beyond continue to carry the flag of what is important: inclusion, innovation, diversity, sustainability and all the other topics that are relevant today more than ever,” the founder of the Dubai and London-based e-commerce shop added.