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Chinese art shines in Dubai


10:57, March 22, 2013

Art Dubai has attracted 500 artists this year, with a host of international galleries showcasing non-Middle Eastern art.(Photo/CNTV)

Now in its 7th edition, Art Dubai is encouraging collaborations between Middle Eastern artists and international players. And with a strong focus on art from emerging regions, China is playing a big part in that collaboration.

Art Dubai has attracted 500 artists this year, with a host of international galleries showcasing non-Middle Eastern art.

Chinese art is new to the Middle East. It’s something Art Dubai is pushing, with a member of their team now based in Beijing for a quarter of the year to develop links.

This seems to have paid off this year.

In the words of Art Dubai's Fair Director Antonia Carver, "One of the groups we have this year is from the Ullens Centre in Beijing. They have brought a huge group of collectors. Their board of directors as well as their patrons to Dubai to see what’s happening here, and begin an exchange between China and the gulf."

Platform China is the only Chinese one. Back for the second year and hope to get more recognition of Chinese art in the Middle East.

Claudia Albertini, the Director for Flatform China (HK), said, "Dubai is a very fresh territory. Collectors are quite young in terms of education and being able to collect art. So of course bringing Chinese artists is something completely different and mainly I notice that collectors here collect local artists. So for us it was about a display to showcase Chinese art outside China in a place which will take time before we get more acquainted with Chinese artists."

Bringing with them artist Shi Jinsong was also commissioned by Art Dubai to produce a piece of work for the fair. In doing this he incorporated Middle Eastern influences in his work to create a dialogue with the Middle East.

The artist said, "I came to Dubai, and there were fountains and an expensive car factory near the studio where I was working. The studio and the spiritual objects mixed together and created a conflict in my heart, so this project is trying to bring out those inner feelings.”

A focus on West Africa takes centre stage at the fair. With a set of curated stands dedicated to West African artists.

For the first time at an international fair, five art spaces from West Africa are exhibiting together. Hoping to create a dialogue with the Middle East.

"People have asked what is the arts scene like in Nigeria, do we have a gallery system, do we have local artists, do we have art schools. They have been really curious about what the infrastructure is like. What is the local art scene like. What are the collectors, are there many collectors. So that’s been interesting," said curator Bisi Silva for Art Dubai.

Art Dubai is used more and more as a site of discovery and cross cultural exchange for many countries and their art. Their hope is to encourage local collectors and galleries here to look also at buying and exhibiting non-middle eastern work.

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