Dubai hosts Middle East's largest contemporary arts show

Dubai hosts Middle East's largest contemporary arts show
Art Dubai opens on Wednesday to showcase works that tell of the unique challenges faced by artists in the Middle East.
2 min read
15 March, 2017
Art Dubai will display work by 270 artists from 70 countries [AFP]

Dubai prepared to open its 11th annual art fair on Tuesday, billed as the largest contemporary art show in the Middle East and North Africa.

The event, which opens on Wednesday as part of March's Art Week, will showcase the unique challenges that regional artists face in doing their work.

Art Dubai will host peices by 270 artists from 70 countries, with a particular focus on contemporary works.

Among those sharing their work at this year's event is renowned multimedia artist Sadik Kwaish Alfraji of Iraq, who deals with questions of existence and creating art in exile.

Saudi-based Palestinian artist Ayman Yossri Daydban imported one of his works from Jeddah to Dubai, altering the artwork to include pieces he had cut out as a tongue-in-cheek commentary on censorship.

Daydban's display includes an old Egyptian movie poster with the lead actress's chest cut out, along with the hips and upper thighs of the lead actor.

Beneath the poster is a separate frame holding the cut-outs.

"We had to cut out a few areas in the posters that may have caused problems" in Saudi Arabia, said Mariam Bilal, curator of the Jeddah-based Athar art gallery where Daydban's work was on display.

"What we are representing here is the entire poster and the missing pieces."

Dubai, which is famed for its modern architecture and luxurious lifestyle offerings, has recently invested in expanding its cultural scene. 

The emirate has a number of contemporary art galleries and last year opened its first opera house.