Art Dubai announces the UAE will host the first major international art fair taking place in Spring 2021

Art Dubai announces the UAE will host the first major international art fair taking place in Spring 2021

Art Dubai, the region’s main art fair and leading international platform to showcase local and regional talent to the world announces the full list of participating galleries for its 14th edition, taking place March 17-20, 2021.

Returning with 85 galleries from 36 countries and coinciding with the UAE’s Golden Jubilee celebrations for the country’s 50th anniversary, Art Dubai 2021 is delighted to present an ambitious line-up of galleries from diverse geographies, inventive programming with safety protocols in place, new partners and a more artist-led approach that aims to bring communities together, further cultivate art engagement practices, and highlight art across the Global South.

New Artist-led programme

A new artist-led programme will be designed and guided by the artists participating in the fair, including live art happenings and site-specific experiences around Dubai. The new live experiences initiative aims to break the traditional ways of meeting, viewing and engaging with an artist's practice and will offer deeper insights into the artist's thinking and making processes.

These gatherings will take place around Dubai – from performances on the beach and guided tours at textile souks in Dubai’s old city, to boat experiences around islands, to karaoke performances and themed encounters, invited artists will produce site-specific happenings that are prompted by human interaction, interconnection, and the ways in which we relate to our surroundings.

Participating artists include Lawrence Abu Hamdan (Jordan), Kristoffer Ardeña (Philippines), Iván Argote (Colombia), Tania Candiani (Mexico), James Clar (USA), Tsedaye Makonnen (Ethiopia/USA), and Serwan Baran (Iraq), amongst others.


For Art Dubai’s 2021 edition, visitors will experience diverse interpretations of perspectives in the three main sections of the fair, Art Dubai Contemporary, Art Dubai Modern, and Bawwaba, on a scope of geographies and narratives from outside the traditional western-led scope.

Art Dubai Contemporary presents a diverse selection of galleries and exhibited artists, ranging from emerging art scenes to more established art hubs from around the world. Art Dubai Modern, curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, features exceptional works by 20th century modern masters working in specific geo-historical contexts across the MENASA region, aiming to drive new narratives and connections across exhibited presentations and across time. Following its launch in 2019, this renewed edition of Bawwaba — meaning ‘gateway’ in Arabic — this year is curated by Nancy Adajania and features solo presentations created within the last year or conceived specifically for the fair and showcases alternative perspectives from diverse global hubs of trade, culture and art.

Art Dubai’s Artistic Director Pablo del Val commented on the 2021 edition: “We are thankful for the enduring support from our exhibiting galleries, and the trust they have placed in us throughout the last year. Art Dubai is delighted that we have more than 90% of our galleries returning for the 14th edition, and are proud of the diversity presented amongst the participating exhibitors. We believe in the importance of bringing communities together at physical events and as the only international art fair going forward in the first quarter of 2021, we believe there’s a unique opportunity that our platform can offer to visitors who are keen to explore, discover and re-engage with the international art world.”


Art Dubai Contemporary features an exciting selection of 55+ galleries including Addis Fine Art (Addis Ababa / London), Gallery 1957 (Accra), Experimenter (Kolkata), Galerie Krinzinger (Vienna), Silverlens (Makati City) and Zilberman Gallery (Istanbul / Berlin), and welcomes first-time exhibitors +2 (Tehran), Galería Albarrán Bourdais (Madrid), Mono Gallery (Riyadh), Stems Gallery (Brussels) and Yusto/Giner (Marbella).

The contemporary section sees the return of distinguished galleries from the region, including Athr Gallery (Jeddah), Hafez Gallery (Jeddah) and Sfeir-Semler Gallery (Beirut / Hamburg), as well as nine Dubai-based galleries: Akka Project, Ayyam Gallery, Custot Gallery Dubai, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Leila Heller Gallery, Lawrie Shabibi, Meem Gallery, The Third Line and Zawyeh Gallery.

View the full list of galleries selected for Art Dubai Contemporary 2021 here.


The largest edition to date, Art Dubai Modern will feature distinct solo artist presentations, with each gallery showcasing works by a leading regional modernist artist. Featuring a new layout and showcasing a range of archival and didactic material in parallel to the artists’ oeuvres, curators Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath have taken a fresh approach in contextualising the artworks on display.

The Art Dubai Modern section will feature returning participants Agial Art Gallery (Beirut), ArtTalks|Egypt (Cairo), Gallery One (Ramallah), and TAFETA (London), alongside new participants Sabrina Amrani (Madrid), Dirimart (Istanbul), Comptoir des Mines (Marrakech) and Gallery Misr (Cairo) amongst several others. The full list of artists featured in Art Dubai Modern will be announced at a later stage.

View the full list of galleries selected for Art Dubai Modern 2021 here.


2021 sees the return of Bawwaba for its second edition, curated by Bombay-based cultural theorist and curator Nancy Adajania. As a section, Bawwaba serves as a portal of discovery of works created within the last year or specifically for the fair and affirms Art Dubai’s focus on presenting current artistic developments across wide geographical scopes across the Global South. Adajania interprets the section descriptor ‘Bawwaba’ – meaning ‘gateway’ in Arabic – as an invitation to annotate the ‘offsites’ of global contemporary art, without creating a binary between art from the west and the so-called non-west.

Bawwaba will welcome first time exhibiting galleries Nature Morte (New Delhi) with works by Indian artist Tanya Goel and Vadehra Art Gallery (New Delhi) exhibiting Indian artist Ranbir Kaleka; Galleria Giampaolo Abbondio (Milan) with the work of Cuban-born artist María Magdalena Campos-Pons and Galerie—Peter—Sillem (Frankfurt) with the work of Yemeni-Bosnian-American artist Alia Ali and Abu Dhabi-based gallery Salwa Zeidan Gallery exhibiting a selection of work by Emirati artist Hussain Sharif. The section is pleased to see the return of Canvas Gallery (Karachi) with works by Pakistani artist Adeela Suleman, Vermelho (São Paulo) with the work of Mexican artist Tania Candiani.

View the full list of galleries selected for Bawwaba 2021 here.

Eleven galleries from the UAE will be represented at this year’s fair, Lawrie Shabibi will be exhibiting Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim in their contemporary booth. Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim has been recently selected to represent the National UAE Pavilion at the 2022 Venice Biennale and Salwa Zeidan Gallery will be showing Hussain Sharif in Bawwaba, who founded and is a member of the Emirates Fine Art Society in Sharjah along with his brother, Hassan Sharif.

Art Dubai takes place March 17-20 2021 at Madinat Jumeirah.

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