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.” 


Arab designs add flair to the SAGs red carpet

Jennifer Lopez was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress award for her role in “Hustlers.” (AFP)
Updated 20 January 2020

Arab designs add flair to the SAGs red carpet

DUBAI: Arab designers took over the red carpet at Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, with the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Yvonne Strahovski and Sian Clifford showing off looks from the Middle East.

Singer and actress Lopez, who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress award for her role in “Hustlers,” showed off a sleek black number by Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika, complete with an off-the-shoulder neckline and thigh-high slit. The column gown featured a floor-grazing train and the star accessorized the look with sparkling diamonds and a chic up-do with fronds of hair framing her face.

Meanwhile, Australian actress Strahovski opted for an all-white look by London-based Emirati label Khyeli.

Jennifer Lopez showed off a sleek black number by Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika. (AFP)

Helmed by designer Ahmed Khyeli, the fashion house dressed Strahovski in an ethereal column gown from its Spring/Summer 2020 collection.

The look featured a peek-a-boo cutout on the bodice, along with elegant off-the-shoulder sleeves that ended just above the elbows.

British stage and TV actress Clifford chose to show off a dramatic burgundy velvet pantsuit, complete with a plunging neckline and gold detailing on the jet black lapels. The glamorous evening look came courtesy of Lebanese couturier Zuhair Murad.

Yvonne Strahovski opted for an all-white look by London-based Emirati label Khyeli. (AFP)

The leading ladies were all in attendance when South Korean film “Parasite” shocked the Screen Actors Guild Awards by landing the night’s top prize, a historic win which thrusts the black comedy into Oscars contention.

The critical smash hit film overcame the language barrier to win outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture, the SAG equivalent of a best film Academy Award, AFP reported.

“I’m a little embarrassed feeling like we’re the parasites of Hollywood now,” joked actor Lee Sun-Kyun.

Director Bong Joon-Ho admitted that “it is true that the momentum is building” for the Oscars.

Sian Clifford chose to show off a dramatic burgundy velvet pantsuit. (AFP)

The film, which merges comedy, drama and horror genres, follows a poor family as it infiltrates a wealthier household, and tackles the widening class gulf.

“Although the title is ‘Parasite,’ I think the film is about coexistence and how we can all live together,” said star Song Kang-ho, collecting the award.

The much-hyped movie had missed out on main prizes at the Golden Globes and Saturday’s Producers Guild Awards.

But Sunday’s win underlines the breakout movie’s extraordinary popularity in Hollywood.

It beat “Bombshell,” “The Irishman,” “Jojo Rabbit” and “Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood” at the star-studded ceremony in Los Angeles.