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Street Art Moves Mainstream At World Art Dubai

Region’s only accessible and affordable art fair ups street art creds with wealth of new-age work from internationally renowned street artists and emerging regional talent

Dubai’s growing art scene is making way for a new wave of international street artists and emerging pop-art culture, according to street art-focused galleries participating at this week’s World Art Dubai, the region’s only accessible and affordable art fair.
As the fifth edition of World Art Dubai heads into the weekend, established art buyers and curious bargain hunters have been captivated with the show’s greatest portfolio of artists showcasing new art styles.
With more than 150 artists and galleries at World Art Dubai 2019, street-inspired art is represented heavily among the 3,000-plus artworks at the fair. Key exhibitors believe the trend indicates Dubai’s potential for further growth as an emerging art destination.
“Although there is a large Arabic street art market here, western art isn’t as appreciated here as much as it will be. The market is changing though,” said Louis Wright, Owner, Vandalist Art. “There needs to be more people pushing the educational side to show people that these works are accessible and affordable – we need to increase awareness of the long-term investment value in art.”
The London-based conceptual art house, a first-time World Art Dubai exhibitor, is optimistic about Dubai’s growing acceptance of new art methods and is keen to support opportunities through education of consumers. In addition to its stand, Vandalist Art will be hosting a Curated Art Talks session on the topic of ‘From Graffiti to Canvas’ featuring artists Ben Eine and Pure Evil.

Both artists are exhibiting on the Vandalist Art stand, which boasts limited-edition prints and stencilled work from major international street art names, including the infamous Banksy.

“We picked these guys for a few reasons. Firstly, to show what street art is and, secondly, because we wanted to highlight that there’s room in the market to buy investment grade street art at affordable prices at an affordable art fair,” Wright added.

Joining the pool of international exhibitors is local artist Amrita Sethi, who unveiled her hotly- anticipated Art Voice-Note© Collection last month: “It’s based on flipping the concept of an image meaning a thousand words – we’re letting words be worth a thousand pictures. The idea is that I capture the shape of the voice note, I then customise the individual lines to reflect the meaning of the word,” said Sethi.

“This is my first time at World Art Dubai and I’m very excited to be part of this affordable art platform,” Sethi added. “The fair has a perfect collection for new and emerging collectors. It’s a fair where people come to buy, not just come to look.”

Adding their own abstract take on art at the show are two of World Art Dubai’s curators, Batool Jafri and Samar Kamel.
“World Art Dubai is crucial for the art scene right now because World Art Dubai is one of those exhibitions that provides a platform, not only for international artists and galleries to come and exhibit here, but it is a major platform for emerging artists in such a beautiful setting.

“Dubai is a very strong emerging art market. People are much more educated about art right now with so many art events happening. There is so much more availability and awareness about the art scene now.”

Dubai based Pakistani artist and art educator Batool Jafri has been exhibiting for the past four years. She uses intricately patterned abstract figures on canvas using a variety of techniques to create visually stunning and multi-layered forms representing the complexity and inner struggle of a migrant woman.

Also featuring women in her work, Egyptian artist Samar Kamel has been a repeat exhibitor since World Art Dubai’s inception. Through her work she examines cultural attitudes towards women and aims to transform stereotypes through vibrant depictions of the modern women.
“As an artist, World Art Dubai is important because it is one of the biggest affordable art fairs in the Middle East. It is important for me to always have a presence in it as I always exhibit internationally.”

“My favourite aspect of World Art Dubai is the diversity. Every stand has a different theme and meaning, so you just feel like you are in wonderland. Dubai is flourishing in art.”

Visitors looking to engage further with the show will be able to register for a number of workshops and curated art talks and demonstrations throughout the event. Key features include Flowing Abstract Art for Adults hosted by Valentina Alexeevna on Saturday at 5:30pm, an Arabic Calligraphy Workshop with Diaa on Friday at 3pm and Japanese Paper Cut-Out by Yukio Kuu at 6:30pm on Friday.

Entry to World Art Dubai is AED25 for a daily pass when purchased on site at DWTC’s Sheikh Saeed Halls 2 and 3. The show is open from 1-9pm from Saturday 6 April.

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