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Saudi art scene's growing importance
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 09 - 01 - 2013

JEDDAH/DUBAI — For the fifth consecutive year, Jeddah's Athr Gallery has been chosen to represent the Saudi art scene at Art Dubai 2013 following a rigorous selection process.
The seventh edition of Art Dubai takes place from March 20-23 at Madinat Jumeirah. The line-up includes some of the most dynamic galleries from the Middle East, Asia and Africa, as well as international galleries from across Europe and America. Participants from 29 countries will be involved in what promises to be the most successful year in Art Dubai's history.
“We are thrilled to be chosen to participate in Art Dubai,” said Athr Gallery's Mohammed Hafiz. “Our goal is to promote Saudi contemporary art both regionally and internationally and Art Dubai is the perfect platform to strengthen the gap between East and West. In recent years we have seen a surge in interest in Saudi art both from within the Kingdom as well as further afield.
“Art Dubai is a unique opportunity to showcase Saudi artistic talent on a global scale and shine a spotlight on Saudi artists and galleries. The event has contributed greatly not only to positioning Saudi art regionally but also on a global stage.”
Furthermore, the involvement of prominent Saudi artist Manal Al Dowayan in the Global Art Forum is one example of the increased participation of artists, collectors and enthusiasts from the Kingdom.
Al Dowayan is one of the 40 contributors at the Global Art Forum 2013, and will be speaking alongside Dubai-based political scientist Dr. Abdulkhaleq Abdulla; commentator and founder of Barjeel Art Foundation Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi; poet and author Mourid Barghouti; artists Tarek Atoui, Shuruq Harb, Hassan Khan, and Ala Younis; curator-translator and Dar Al-Ma'mun founder Omar Berrada; curator Reem; Doha-based analyst and commentator Tarik Yousef, and many more.
The market to watch
With the world taking notice of the growing art scene in the Kingdom, Saudi art is becoming the market to watch for many art professionals, collectors and enthusiasts in the region and beyond. A new generation of artists is pushing Saudi Arabia into the inspiring and exciting world of contemporary art.
“Saudi Arabia has begun pushing for more advancement in the regional art scene. Art galleries are popping up all over the Kingdom. It may have taken a while for the contemporary art scene to fully mature but the desire for art has taken off in full force,” said Athr Gallery's Hamza Serafi.
Art Dubai has grown from strength to strength over the course of the last six years and truly epitomizes the globalized phenomenon that is today's art world.
“Each year the fair achieves greater international reach and has become an exciting highlight in the global arts calendar,” said Serafi.
‘Most diverse, unique fair yet'
“Athr Gallery is among the 75 galleries participating in Art Dubai 2013. “We are thrilled with the participating galleries who together will create the most diverse and unique fair yet. The repeated participation of Saudi galleries and artists is testament to the breadth and depth of the region's art scene,” said Art Dubai Fair Director Antonia Carver.
As the leading international fair in the Middle East and South Asia, Art Dubai is committed to creating a platform whereby the world's most influential galleries come together and engage with the booming regional art scene. Such has been its continued success that Art Dubai is expecting in excess of 22,000 visitors to the fair in March.
Following the success of Art Dubai in 2012, many key galleries apart from Athr Gallery (Jeddah) will be returning in March to once again engage with visitors. To name just a few: Marianne Boesky Gallery (New York), Galerie Chantal Crousel (Paris), D Gallerie (Jakarta), Experimenter (Kolkata), Alexander Gray Associates (New York), Grey Noise (Dubai), Galerie Rodolphe Janssen (Brussels), Galerie Krinzinger (Vienna), Platform China (Beijing/Hong Kong), The Third Line (Dubai), The Pace Gallery (London/Beijing/New York) and Sfeir-Semler (Hamburg/Beirut).
New international entrants making their debut at Art Dubai include Greenaway (Adelaide/Berlin), Yvon Lambert (Paris), Victoria Miro (London), Almine Rech Gallery (Paris/Brussels), Schleicher/Lange (Berlin/Paris) and Tanja Wagner (Berlin). Additionally, Rampa and Rodeo are among five galleries from Istanbul participating in the 2013 fair.
Over 500 artists
Art Dubai reflects the ever-accelerating growth of the local and regional art scene. Art Dubai hosts more artists and galleries from the Arab world than any other arts event. Over 500 artists will participate in Art Dubai, brought together by the selected participating galleries and the fair's extensive non-commercial programming.
Artists set to have a high profile at Art Dubai 2013 include Abdul Qader Al Rais, Etel Adnan, Kutlug Ataman, Yto Barrada, Daniel Buren, Annabel Daou, Wim Delvoye, Meschac Gaba, Wade Guyton, Zarina Hashmi, Mona Hatoum, Iman Issa, Idris Khan, Yayoi Kusama, MadeIn Company, François Morellet, Nasir Nasrallah, Otobong Nkanga, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Seth Price, Ibrahim Quraishi, Walid Raad, Anri Sala, Taryn Simon, Rirkrit Tiravanija, James Turrell, Joana Vasconcelos, Danh Vo and Akram Zaatari, among many others.
For more information and the latest updates, please visit, become an Art Dubai fan on Facebook at, and follow us on Twitter at @artdubai. — SG

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