|Ekpuk’s Head 8, 2015, acrylic on cut out wood, Approx. 137 x 122 cm, Courtesy of ther artist and TAFETA.|
While U.S.-based Ekpuk and Aberdeen, Scotland-based Adesina are showing at the Contemporary section of Art Dubai 2018, Ehikhamenor is making history as one of the first artists to participate in the maiden edition of Art Dubai Residents and Exhibition. Under a London, U.K-based Tyburn Gallery,
Ehikhamenor will, during his residency at the programme, continue to explore common objects known for his thematic expressions. Based on memories of his childhood, such objects include icons that the artist has used in past works over the years.
Over 10 artists from different parts of the world, including Middle East, Japan, U.S. and Europe are making the maiden edition of Art Dubai Residents.
London-based Tafeta Gallery, led by Ayo Adeyinka, is showing Ekpuk at booth D5 (Hall-2). Tafeta, which has under its representation artists such as Temitayo Ogunbiyi, Niyi Olagunju, Babajide Olatunji, and George Osodi, showed Muraina Oyelami and Ben Osawe at Art Dubai Modern last year. For Adesina, John Martin Gallery is showing his monochromatic pieces and works of another artist, Neale Howells at Booth B12.
Also among the residents would be a Ghanaian-German artist, Zohra Opoku, represented by Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, Seattle, U.S. The 4-8-week residency programme, according to the organisers, aims to support artists by providing a platform to develop their practice and create new work inspired and influenced by staying in the UAE. While in UAE, the artists will “facilitate exchange and dialogue with the local communities and the broader cultural landscape.” Also, during the residency, “artists will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with one another, participate in talks and conduct open studios.”
Sponsored by Julius Baer, Meraas and Piaget, Art Dubai 2018 will feature what the organisers rated as “a record 104 galleries from 47 countries.” The volume of participation has been described, as “the fair’s largest and most globally diverse to date.” From the lot, 77 galleries are returning while 27 make up the first-time exhibitors from around the world.
Still on the residency, the final works will be on display in the new section of the fair, represented by the artists’ respective galleries.
“With every edition, Art Dubai asserts itself as the world’s most international art fair and the diversity coming through participating galleries from 47 countries is testament to this,” Pablo del Val, Art Dubai’s Artistic Director stated. “For our 2018 edition, we will be launching residents, a pioneering and unique platform that brings together different energies, synergies, geographies and artistic practices, which one doesn’t usually see together in one place.”
The organisers argue that in its fifth edition, Art Dubai’s Modern section remains the only commercial platform in the world to showcase museum-quality works by artists from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.
“It is very exciting for us to witness the growing appreciation of Modern Masters from the region, and we are pleased to be the only platform in the world to showcase these museum-quality pieces in our largest-ever Modern section, which has been the most oversubscribed edition to date,” Art Dubai’s Director, Myrna Ayad said. “Serving as an educational platform and theoretical framework for the works on show, Art Dubai Modern will be accompanied by our second annual Modern Symposium at the fair this year.”
Meanwhile, Lawrence Abu Hamdan has been announced as the winner of the 2018 Abraaj Group Art Prize.
In its 10th anniversary, the Abraaj Prize has propelled 44 artists to the global stage in the past decade. The Abraaj Group, a leading investor in growth markets, also announced Basma Alsharif, Neil Beloufa and Ali Cherri as the shortlisted artists for the upcoming edition of the Abraaj Group Art Prize, which will be exhibited at the next edition of Art Dubai in March 21-24, 2018.
Art Dubai is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and ruler of Dubai and in partnership with The Abraaj Group.-Tajudeen Sowole