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.” 


Kanye West announces 2020 presidential run

Updated 58 min ago

Kanye West announces 2020 presidential run

WASHINGTON: Kanye West, the entertainment mogul, announced on Saturday he is challenging Donald Trump for the US presidency in 2020.

“We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States! #2020VISION,” the rapper tweeted as Americans marked Independence Day.

He offered no further details on his campaign, four months before the November election.

West long ago broke ranks with most of the left-leaning entertainment industry to loudly voice his support for Trump.

In 2018, they met in the Oval Office – a surreal tete-a-tete that included a hug from the rapper as well as an on-camera rant featuring an expletive not often repeated for the White House press corps.

That year, West also delivered a lengthy soliloquy to a president who many deem racist, telling him he loved him – to the dismay of many Democrats and fellow artists.

But in 2019, during an interview with Zane Lowe of Apple Music’s Beats 1 show, he said his support for Trump had been a way to razz Democrats – and announced his own presidential ambitions.

“There will be a time when I will be the president of the US, and I will remember... any founder that didn't have the capacity to understand culturally what we were doing.”

The announcement came days after West  released a new song, “Wash Us In the Blood,” along with an accompanying video including imagery from recent anti-racism protests.

Since 2018, his wife, reality star Kim Kardashian West, has formed her own contacts with the White House as she champions criminal justice reform: she has successfully lobbied Trump to pardon a sexagenarian woman for a non-violent drug offense.

For weeks now Trump, criticized for his response both to the coronavirus pandemic and to anti-racism protests, has been lagging in the polls behind his Democratic rival, Joe Biden.

There was no immediate response to West’s announcement from either candidate Saturday.