From local Emirati talent to international artists, this year’s edition showcases a breadth of art styles making the event a true one-stop-shop for affordable and original art
The fifth edition of World Art Dubai, the region’s largest affordable retail art fair, returns to Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from 3-6 April with a wealth of artistic styles and cultures designed to appeal to every walk of visitor.
Featuring more than 3,000 pieces from around the globe, World Art Dubai 2019 unites more than 150 galleries and artists from 30 countries, each with their own unique take on art. From emerging Emirati artists, pop-art icons and fashion art disrupters, to experimental expressionists and fine art and photography practitioners, this year’s exhibition is an eclectic melting pot of artistic style.
In-line with its accessible and affordable ethos, World Art Dubai embraces the expansive array of cultures and style by matching it with varying price-points – artwork prices range from USD 100 upwards. Ahead of the show, World Art Dubai experts have hand-picked a selection of artists to look out for when visiting this week.
Street Art Makes its Debut
Charley Uzzell-Edwards and Ben Eine
Not one but two exceptional and highly anticipated artists, both representing Fortune Favours Art. Charley Uzzell-Edwards, who goes by the moniker ‘Pure Evil’, is set to bring a limited number of original canvasses to the show – one of which has been produced as an UAE exclusive. He will also be hand finishing a limited number of pieces on the Fortune Favours Art stand.
Also attending with Fortune Favours Art will be Ben Eine, who will be presenting a limited number of stencilled pieces on high-end cotton paper which have been again designed exclusively for the UAE and will be unveiled for the very first time on World Art Dubai’s opening day. Both artists will be participating in a public Q&A to answer any burning questions visitors may have.
Indian graffiti artist Nikhil Kapur, co-founder of Hoozinc Art & Design Studio, takes his inspiration from infamous street artist Banksy. Nikhil’s work now adorns houses, restaurants and offices and will be on display at World Art Dubai.
Spontaneous Abstract Draws on Past
Award-winning artist Shefali Ranthe is returning to Dubai, a destination she called home for 10 years. Now residing in Copenhagen, where she grew up after arriving from Bangladesh as an infant. The renowned international artist has a vivid and colourful style that is defined by a unique expression of semi-abstract, naïve, childish, innocent and spontaneous compositions of human and animal creatures.
Commenting on her work, Shefali said: “Due to a traumatic childhood following the loss of my mother, looking for the happy family life means everything to me and for me art is about creating happiness, surprise and thoughts; Art makes me feel alive, and I seek to share an experience of harmony and long-lasting joy with the surroundings”.
During her time in Dubai, Shefali ran her own art school and taught art at Mawaheb from Beautiful People in Al Fahidi Historical District. She has since exhibited and curated artwork across a number of international galleries and exhibitions.
The work of Egyptian self-taught artist Rabab Tantawy, a Dubai resident, is inspired by Egyptian and African heritage. Her paintings represent close-knit families standing together despite the trials and tribulations of their everyday struggles to stay as one. Using a variety of mixed media, she depicts the happier times in her pieces.
“Most of my work is free flowing, as I don’t do well with rules. So I created a style that suits me, it works with who I am and my personality,” she noted.
One of the coolest female artists in Kuwait, mural master Anwar Behbehani admits her art is based on personal angst. Anwar, whose first ambition was to be a fashion designer, is leveraging a World Art Dubai debut to launch a new range of jackets adorned with paintings on the back. “It’s going to be really cool to meet up with artists from different areas in the world. The fair has a lot of legitimate talent and artists,” said Anwar.
Photography Fuels Creativity
Ukrainian contemporary artist Yana Rusnak combines abstract painting with figurative art and photography. With works in private collections and commercial buildings in Miami, New York, Cairo, Beirut, Moscow, Riyadh, Kiev, London and Geneva, Yana’s World Art Dubai debut will feature a slew of new paintings and installations that demonstrate her multi-media technique. Yana’s Body Through Gold series features textiles, paper, vinyl, interlining, primer, glue, varnish and acrylic.
Emirati Artists Shine Bright
Emirati artist Hend Rashid’s World Art Dubai presence will focus on blind contour drawing, still life, landscape and abstract painting. Hend embodies her soul on the canvas, aiming to show her daily life story through her artwork. Drawing from the age of five, Hend would offer her services at events throughout her school life, aiding her artistic skills. Using an array of different colours, Hend ingeniously creates mixed media canvases.
Dr. Muna Balfaqeeh
A linguist, artist and photographer, Muna started her artistic journey more than 15 years ago and boasts a special interest in capturing Emirati heritage and culture through art and photography. Her passion for art has seen Muna create a hub and space for other artists, with her mission to connect like-minded creatives to educate, mentor and promote all forms of art.
Lubna Al Mualla
Lubna is a World Art Dubai newcomer. She is exhibiting canvas-printed photography based on an Eastern style with some western nuances. Lubna is looking forward to “connecting with many nationalities and exchanging different cultural knowledge” at World Art Dubai.
Maryam Mansoor Abbassi
Maryam’s abstract work of bright colours and patterned collages focuses on Dubai’s heritage: “I’ve been mesmerised by the old buildings in Dubai and inspired by the city’s heritage,” said Maryam.
Running from April 3-6, World Art Dubai has a line-up of more than 3,000 pieces ranging from $100 onwards. The fair will be highly-interactive with live painting sessions, expert talks and hands-on creative learning workshops with the region’s most recognised artists.
World Art Dubai 2019 is open from 2-9pm Wednesday 3 April and 1-9pm Thursday 4 April – Saturday 6 April. Day tickets are available online ahead of the show here for just AED 20. Kids aged 10-18 are AED 10, while entry is free for those under 10. Onsite tickets are priced at AED 25.