From DXB, With Art

It’s crazy to think that this time last week, it was Dubai’s heat rather than frigid east coast temperatures keeping me off the streets. Wrapping up a week-long internship with the famed Art Dubai, I had the opportunity to mingle & mix with the region’s most avid art-seekers.

Dare I say it – but the Cartier exhibits, Abraaj VIP lounges, & exclusive beach parties were a little too much for my taste, but the glimmering luxury did little to distract me from the 70 galleries that called the famed Emirate home for the week.

Take for example, Tashkeel – rendering creative energy for those in search, it stands as an exemplary institution committed to the cross-pollination of cultures. It was here that I met Nasir Nasrallah a telecommunications engineer turned story provoker. The local artist showcased his Story Machine: a fully functional vending machine, dispersing stories & found objects in exchange for 20 dirhams. He cites his childhood fascination with machines and his love for listening to the stories of the ever-evolving populations of the UAE as his main inspirations for the commissioned piece.

Or take the work of El Seed – the French Tunisian artist knighted for his waves in the realm of calligraffiti. Doting grand mosques, walls & other societal icons across the region with his colorful words, the artist was recently invited to fuse his work with the French fashion house of Louis Vuitton, making him the first Arab to collaborate with the brand.

Then came Zid Zid Kids the Morocco-based, trilingual, children’s, arts education specialists that I had the pleasure of working with throughout the course of the festival. Blending the magic of play into their commissioned exhibit, the design-duo sought to create a space that would engage children beyond the aesthetics of the arts, inviting them into a world of tinkering & exploration.

The list goes on, given the over 75 international museum groups & over 22,000 individuals from 32 different countries in attendance. With a focus on the depth of the experience rather than the breadth, Art Dubai, for the country’s self-proclaimed week of the arts, stands as the epicenter.

In Search of More Sun & Maybe a Bit More Glam,