It’s not just Bahrain getting arty this month. Check out these shows too
Time Out Bahrain staff
Art Dubai This year’s event at Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah not only marks the accession of long-term Art Dubai collaborator Antonia Carver to the post of Fair Director, replacing founding Director John Martin, but a reinvigorated programme which sets out to reflect the kaleidoscopic diversity and energy at large amidst the flourishing Middle Eastern and North African contemporary art scene.
Amidst the new initiatives is ‘Marker’, a dynamic new section of experimental stands curated by Nav Haq. Five experimental commercial and non-commercial galleries from Asia and the Middle East, most of whom are making their art fair debut, will showcase work by emerging artists created especially for the fair.
The region’s leading platform for cultural debate, Global Art Forum_5 will be another highlight, presented by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) in partnership with Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage (ADACH). The Forum acts as a platform that connects local art scenes with the rest of the world. Beginning on March 14 at Doha’s Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, before moving to Dubai’s Fort Island from March 16-18, it focuses broadly on the theme of ‘Changing Audiences’. Through keynotes, panels, workshops, conversations and performances, the Forum will examine mutual sympathies between fashion and art, and debate how artists see their role in relation to new audiences. There will also be a series of practical workshops, aimed at regionally-based artists, curators and arts practitioners and Forum Fellows, a programme bringing together a group of curators and artists from across the Middle East together with equivalent gifted practitioners from the UAE.
And, of course, there will be installations. As part of its ambitious commissioning programme, Art Dubai has invited Abbas Akhavan, Oraib Toukan, and Hrair Sarkissian to create major site-specific installations that reflect on and examine the nature of the art fair. Audio projects can also be experienced, ranging from spoken word and music to abstract sound collages. Participating artists include Ramin Haerizadeh, Hassan Khan, Radhika Khimji, Faisal Samra, Bani Abidi, Naeem Mohaiemen and many more. For more info, go to www.artdubai.ae
March 16-May 16
Sharjah Biennial A truly international event, the Biennial focuses on triggering ideas and intellectual responses from an international array of artists, by providing them with a theoretical and physical environment, to which they respond with typically innovative and unique artworks. Sharjah itself is pressed into service, the ever-shifting urban cityscape being assimilated into the fabric of the work, open for the public to enjoy and appreciate at leisure.
Sharjah Biennial 10 is titled ‘Plot For A Biennial’ and is curated by Suzanne Cotter, Rasha Salti and associate curator Haig Aivazian. This edition of the Biennial is undertaking its most ambitious programme to date, with artists and participants from across the globe producing new work, screenings of commissioned films, live music, performances, public workshops for students and families, talks, seminars and publications in a variety of venues across the city, from new spaces created especially for Sharjah Biennial 10, to historic venues, city streets and even the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
It will unfold along narratives – itineraries – scripted by the curators, architects and exhibition designers. With the majority of events free of charge and fully accessible to all, it’s the perfect opportunity to engage with some of the most cutting-edge creativity from around the world on your doorstep. For more info, go to www.sharjahart.org
March 19-April 14
Abu Dhabi Festival Rachid Koraichi is one of the most innovative and engaging artists working in the MENASA region at the moment. His beautiful new installation, inspired by the poetry of Rumi, ‘The Path Of Roses’ (‘Tariq Al Ward’) will be displayed at the UAE capital’s Emirates Palace hotel during the annual Abu Dhabi Festival, and amply demonstrates the historical, spiritual and artistic scope of this extraordinary Algerian-born artist. Influenced by the Islamic concept of ‘safar’ (travel and transcendence), the installation traces the journey of medieval Muslim traveller Jalal Al Din Al Rumi across the Mediterranean, to meet the Sufi mystic and poet Ibn El Arabi.
Koraichi’s sculptural explorations extend across an impressive range of media, with his installations including ceramics, textiles, various metals and painted work on silk, paper or canvas. His art is influenced by a fascination with signs – both real and imaginary. Beginning with the intricate beauties of the Arabic calligraphic scripts his work is composed of symbols, glyphs and ciphers drawn from a variety of other languages and cultures.
There will be a public artist-led walk-through on March 20 at 11.30am in the foyer of the Emirates Palace, followed by a tour with the artists featured in ADMAF’s new ‘Nationals’ Gallery’ project on March 22 at 11.30am. Both tours are free, but need registration – email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +971 2 651 0303. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi’s Ghaf Gallery will be hosting a special Student Workshop with the artist, at 10am on March 23, by invitation only. And Koraichi will be presenting a lecture looking back over his career and influences at the Zaha Hadid Pavilion at the Emirates Palace at 7pm on March 24. Admission is free, and registration is required by contacting email@example.com. For more info, see www.abudhabifestival.ae