Creation is considered to be the kind of activity that comes out of nothing, so to say. Before you create something – nothing existed. Artistic creation is that kind of transformation process, especially valuable because of its possibility to make dramatic changes. Out of empty canvas artists makes wonders. An empty piece of paper, piece of stone or clay – these are just potentials for something to appear. It is interesting to see when artistic practices that are not strictly creative take over this transformative power of art. Art Dubai is an art fair that celebrated its 10th anniversary last year, and talking to organizers of this event you cannot escape the impression that you are talking about creative practice. Before it all started, there was no real art market in the Middle East, but there were some artistic activities and art traders in Beirut and Cairo. So, when Art Dubai was founded its organizers had to convince traders from those already existing art centers to participate. Starting from the ground zero, they made the artistic scene in Dubai live and attractive to art lovers from all over the world.
There is no doubt that the regional artistic scene exists today and that Art Dubai is its center and generator. Probably the best thing about Art Dubai is that it is extremely diverse. It hosts some of the world’s most influential galleries, but some independent unconventional art spaces as well. When it comes to artists, you could find emerging artist from a wide variety of countries, not only with established reputation, next to some of real art stars. Multi-medial approach to selection of artworks is well accepted, so exhibited works were including painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, video, photography and performance. The 2017 fair presented 79 galleries from 41 countries.
All statistics and numbers show that this fair is getting bigger and bigger and influencing art market development. The number of visitors reached 26,000 in 2015, compared to 8,000 in 2007, and the fair represents 60% of the turnover of local gallery owners. Besides that, the district of Alserkal avenue, where the best galleries of the city are located is developing strongly.
With this tendency, we can only predict further diversification of art institutions and artistic events, as well as the strengthening of regional collaborations. The fact is that in the art world one thing influences another and that appearance of this new contemporary art market will influence art production in the whole region and wider.