The 17th Edition of Art Dubai, the leading global platform for art and artists from the Middle East and Global South, took place from 1 to 3 March 2024. Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, this edition’s focus was on the diverse and multicultural communities of Dubai and provided more opportunities than ever for artists from across the Global South.

An elaborate program of collaborations with local and international partners included 120 presentations drawn from more than 60 cities and over 40 countries across four sections: Contemporary, Bawwaba, Art Dubai Modern and Art Dubai Digital, alongside major new commissions by internationally renowned artists and the most extensive education, talks and thought-leadership program of any international art fair. 

Here are some highlights from Art Dubai 2024: 

Dilip Chobisa. Belongs to Everyday Life B. 2024. Graphite on paper, watercolour, painted wooden frame and glass. 18 x 90 inches. Courtesy of Dilip Chobisa & Gallery Espace, New Delhi.


Gajah Gallery from Singapore and Indonesia was part of the impressive lineup of 72 contemporary exhibitors from more than 50 cities spanning five continents invited by Art Dubai Contemporary. Showcasing visionary creations of six remarkable artists titled ‘Transcending Boundaries: Contemporary Expressions from Southeast Asia and Beyond’ their works challenged conventional perspectives, inviting viewers into a world of fluid interpretations that merged past and present expressions from Southeast Asia. It was a true celebration of diverse yet globally resonant visual language, firmly rooted in the rich cultural tapestries and individual concerns of each artist. The works sparked meaningful dialogues about the multifaceted nature of contemporary art, transcending geographical and cultural confines.

Debashish Paul. 2024, Kolkata. Acrylic and ink on paper. Overall size variable. 8.3 x 5.3 in approx. each, Suite of 8 works. Courtesy of the Artist and Emami Art.


Always a visitor favorite, the 2024 edition of Bawwaba entitled Sanación / Healing, was curated by Emilano Valdé and presented a series of artistic practices that explored healing not just on a personal and spiritual but also social, historical, and political level and examined the ways in which these varying scales of the healing process relate. A selection of ten solo projects spotlighted artists from the Global South through a variety of mediums, including painting and performance. Guests marveled at the creativity of Mirna Bamieh, a Palestinian artist and chef who explored the politics of disappearance and memory production by unpacking the social concerns and limitations of Palestinian communities. Through dinners, talks, interventions, performances, and walks, Bamieh questioned notions of land, geographies, and in-between temporality.

Mahmoud Sabri, 1927-2012, Untitled. Copyright The Artist, Courtesy of Meem Gallery


Art Dubai Modern curated by Dr. Christianna Bonin, under the theme of histories of art education and the new art practices, explored calligrapher Hamed Abdalla’s artwork presented by Mark Hachem Gallery. Abdalla regarded the language as a unifying power in the Arab world, transforming words into pictures representative of Arab life and culture. His distinct style, which combined images and language to produce compositions inspired by Arab culture and politics. He bent letters into symbols and human forms, a trademark he would later coin in the 1940s as “mot-formes”, or word-shapes.  In his paintings, Abdalla employed the potency of language to tackle Egyptian politics and society. Abdulla’s style created a sense of transformation, unearthing tensions within the rapidly changing climate of 20th-century Egypt. 

Jonathan Monaghan, Mothership, 2013, (still from 14m 33sec born-digital video). Courtesy of the artist, bitforms gallery and MORROW collective.


Art Dubai Digital curated by duo Alfredo Cramerotti and Auronda Scalera, was back for its third year and it was an unmissable visitor attraction that provided a 360-degree snapshot of the digital art landscape and explored how artists are utilizing new, immersive technologies to collapse the boundaries of the traditional art world. On show was a diverse range of media including digital video, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), extended reality (XR), artificial intelligence (AI), generative art, robotic art, and immersive art experiences. {R(Evolutionaries);}, a groundbreaking exhibition from the Dubai-based platform MORROW collective enthralled visitors. Celebrating ten years of blockchain art, the presentation focused on the pioneers and leading figures who have shaped this space, including original genesis pieces and re-imaginings of historic work, alongside new creations. 

Lee Lee Nam. Lively Spirit II. 2024. Single-channel video, color, sound. 65inch LED TV. Courtesy of Artist and Gallery Now Seoul.


Art Dubai Modern Talks highlighted the artistic links made possible by Soviet geopolitics of the Cold War, shifted the focus from Western metropoles and concentrated on the impact of Soviet education and exhibitions on artists from the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. The conversations delved into cultural exchanges between Kampala and Baku, Cairo and Moscow, Colombo and Almaty, and Rostov, Luanda and Ramallah. These dialogues brought historical and present-day art worlds into focus, with experts who spoke about the challenges and opportunities of recovering lost histories and working in today’s global art market.Eminent art historians, curators, and academics, including Bilal Akkouche from Tate Modern, Dr. Masha Kirosirova from NYU Abu Dhabi, Inga Lace from Almaty Museum of Art, Daudi Karungi from Afriart Gallery in Kampala were part of these engaging panels.

Dubai Collector Talks featured leading voices from the global art community including Sunil Munjal and Nisreen Bajis. Together, they explored the evolving landscape of art collection, the role of patrons in creating and sustaining dynamic art ecosystems, as well as addressed pertinent themes such as identity, representation and cultural heritage.

Shaikha Al Mazrou, Focal Point, 2019, A.R.M. Holding Art Collection, image courtesy of the artist and Lawrie Shabibi.


Dubai Collection, the first institutional collection of modern and contemporary art in the city, showcased an exhibition featuring some of the UAE’s most prominent artists, all drawn from the Collection. ‘Encounters’ لقاءات, curated by Alia Zaal Lootah. This was a unique chance to see significant artworks from celebrated Emirati artists including Hassan Sharif, Mohammed Kazem, Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, Shaikha Al Mazrou, Afra Al Dhaheri, Maitha Abdalla, Hashel Al Lamki and Sarah Almehairi. The exhibition created encounters between the artists and the artworks and encouraged viewers to engage in dialogue with both the works and the stories of the patrons who had loaned them.

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