James Clar: “Cloud Seed” Image
James Clar: “Cloud Seed”

An Endless Speculation: The Tale of Rainy Digits

About “Art Dubai” 15th Edition

Walking around “Art Dubai” is like passing through a cloud packed with thoughts, new experiences, inspiration, perhaps tales, and so many talks and good news about the art market and sales and purchases. It is exactly this enjoyable overlap of sounds extending throughout the artistic community in the UAE. Artists and visual arts aesthetes lay in eager anticipation for those limited days between 9 – 13th of last March. The exhibition’s 15th edition was held in Jumeirah City, Dubai, and it is the largest edition since its launch back in 2007, with participation from 100 modern showrooms from more than 40 states.

The art galleries and themes in this edition are divided into 4 main lanes: Contemporary, Modern, The Gate, and “Art Dubai Digital”, the new and unique digital section, which would act as the bridging line between art and digital encryption. In addition to a series of interesting exhibits assigned recently to world-renowned artists, collective pioneering exhibits, and educational programs and global discussions.

“Contemporary Art Dubai” in this edition included 77 showrooms from 33 countries, and hosted 15 participating artists for the first time. The themes ranged from emerging artistic scenes to established international centers.

While “Modern Art Dubai” 2022, curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, showcased individual works that are up to a museum level, by 20th century professors from all over The Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. The Gate lane, contains works only from last year or those prepared specifically for the gallery, curated by Nancy Adajania, and would show 10 individual presentations, 6 of them presenting for the first time.

James Clar: “Cloud Seed”1 Image
James Clar: “Cloud Seed”

Passing by a Parallel Rainy Reality

“Art Dubai” entrance cannot be passed without a stand, filled with pleasant sentiments, while wondering about the big screen installed at the entrance gate in Jumeirah City. James Clar wanted to create a special atmosphere with his interactive piece “Cloud Seed” where he provides a sentimental experience where it mirrors a rainy reality, as if you’re looking through a window to a parallel universe, where you can view a rainy version of your reality. Julius Baer “Main sponsor of Art Dubai” assigned a mission this year, and for the first time, to the Filipino/American artist, a specialist in lightening and media, James Clar, to create an interactive immersive video named “Could Seed”, that shed light on the latest trends such as digital advancement and how can artists use advanced technology in their artwork.

James Clar (@JamesClar) is famous for his usage of light and video to create influential artworks. His piece “Could Seed” is an interactive piece that combines narrative and conceptual technology resources. It simulates raindrops and vogue in real-time, which demonstrates the humans’ ability to modify the environment. Clar has lived in Dubai for more than seven years, and he got inspiration from the innovative could seeding technique, which can be used to improve water security and Biodiversity in UAE. It shoots live videos of visitors and takes them to a video simulation of raindrops and vogue, using specifically developed software to create a cinematic scene that can change gradually to simulate certain environmental conditions.

Glimpses of a Long Conversation…

Sudipta Das’s piece, under the name “Waiting” shows a large group of people waiting on a platform. It is a huge sculpture, through which the artist displays a vivid scene in a simple style, visually similar to the children’s world spontaneity, yet it calls you to listen to the characters of the vivid scene to gather their words.

Sudipta Das: “Waiting”, Image
Sudipta Das: “Waiting”, 144×25 cm, mixed materials, 2021, Latitude 28, Art Dubai

Alfredo Jaar, as usual, puts you in conformation with a social questioning and perhaps political. In his works, he tried to observe the laws of reality so he can simplify them. His work (Culture = Capital) in Neon, poses a lot of questions about meaning and its social manifestations in real life. While works of artist Maitha S. Abdalla, invite you to question their symbolism.

With those artworks stripped out of color nuisance, she adapted a color-brief approach so she can direct the focus towards the provoking questions on the indications of their figures, in such symbolism, simple metaphors, and direct method.

It is difficult not to stop in the face of the screaming African colors and their heat in the artworks of Tonia Nneji. She adapts her unique style in utilizing the colors and the artistic dimensions of the painting, and the painting itself carries multiple paintings at a time. Then, right after you finish absorbing the hot colors and the tiny details in which she draws the clothes and the fabrics; deliberately dimming the bodies and the features of women in them, you discover that there is another style in the background, displaying a group of forgotten and invisible women, as if the years have passed and covered their stories and their voices. So the fabrics dominate the sensible and aesthetical scene, at the expense of women, who are saying a lot with their shadows in the painting, while standing in the dark.

Alfredo Jaar “Culture Capital” Image
Alfredo Jaar: “Culture = Capital”, neon, 15×150 cm, 2011, Giorgio Persano Gallery, Art Dubai.
Maitha S. Abdalla: “Two Wrestler with Arms and Legs”, Styrofoam paint, 70x220x140, “Tabari Artspace” Gallery. Art Dubai Image
Maitha S. Abdalla: “Two Wrestler with Arms and Legs”, Styrofoam paint, 70x220x140, “Tabari Artspace” Gallery. Art Dubai
Tonia Nneji: “Gathering of Broken Hearts”, 152x182 cm, Rele Gallery, 2022. Art Dubai Image
Tonia Nneji: “Gathering of Broken Hearts”, 152×182 cm, Rele Gallery, 2022. Art Dubai

Artistic Movement in Numbers

Hala Khayat, regional manager of Art Dubai, commenting on how significant it is for this event to arrive at its 15th edition this year, mentioned how important it is to come back to the main location in Jumeirah after holding last year’s edition in Dubai International Financial Centre. For this year’s edition, she says: It is a priority now to talk about the economic aspect of this event, as there is a significant increase in participating galleries. This indicates an economic movement that could reflect on the tourism and service sectors. This is in line with the UAE’s plan on developing an artistic and cultural economy, along with the expanding artistic movement now all over UAE simultaneously with Art Dubai, as it witnesses an extensive activity of galleries, events, and art programs in all different art institutions and centers. And when asked about what’s new in this edition, Khayat pointed out the significant increase of participation in “Contemporary”, which reached up to 77 galleries from over the world. This edition also features the return of modernism by displaying 11 projects for the late artist. While “Gate” featured 10 artists. Finally, we need to talk about “Art Dubai Digital” which highlights the transformation to “Nun-Fungible Tokens”, which was the trendiest topic among the art community, as it is the crucial leap in the Digital world that can guarantee the rights of the artists and their spaces in the parallel world. Especially the artists who invested in this area since the computers spread. Their efforts can finally be redeemed by this independent digital currency and advanced security tools.

“Art Dubai” was organized in collaboration with “A.R.M Holding Art Collection”, with support from the Lead Sponsor “Swiss Wealth Management Julius Baer”; and the Strategic Partner “Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture)”; and “Bybit” the main partner of “Art Dubai Digital”.

A Speculation Stand in “Speculative Links”

Presents select works from the Salama Bint Hamdan Emerging Artist Fellowship’s (SEAF) eight-year tenure. the selection reflects a collective questioning of memory to place, time, and a sense of rhythm and repetition.

The exhibition brings together artists who retrospectively seem to have experimented during the fellowship with abstract patternology, participatory narration, geo-mapping, digital dislocation, and fabrication through the lens of research. The show attempts to reflect on the relationship between art pedagogy and production, and the connection forged between the artists’ authentic voices and the processes and critiques that shape their practice.

A side from “Speculative Links” exhibition, Art Dubai Image
A side from “Speculative Links” exhibition, Art Dubai
King Urantatata “Purity”, 3D, 4500x3500 px, Cyber Baat, 2022 Image
King Urantatata “Purity”, 3D, 4500×3500 px, Cyber Baat, 2022

Commissioned by Warehouse 421, and curated by Maryam Al Dabbagh, in collaboration with Mays Albaik, this exhibition includes works by: Asmaa Khoury, Tala Worrell, Dina Nazmi Khorchid, Sawsan Al Bahar, Shaikha Al Ketbi, Fatima Al Budoor, Mohamed Khalid, and Malak Elghuel. Maryam Al Dabbagh, curator of the exhibition, mentioned that the idea was to combines the works of Salama Bint Hamdan Fellowship graduates from different years, with the purpose of finding the links forged between the artists. She also said: the exhibits raises the question around this connection that is built on the similarities among different artworks, represented by the topics such as searching for links between past and present, or searching for the national identity in sensible and emotional details, and between the educational systems that these students experienced at Salama Fellowship. However, the answers were never the intention, as the exhibition didn’t introduce answers as much as it worked on collecting those beautiful links that we can feel by observing the dialogue among the selected works of artists from different cultures, who work in different ways, and use a wide range to express their ideas; so we can see voice works, video, textile, drawings, and mixed media.

This exhibition was commissioned by Warehouse421, in collaboration with The Salama bint Hamdan Emerging Artist Fellowship (SEAF) and Art Dubai, to study the relation between art pedagogy and art productions, and to observe the intellectual connections between artists of different cohorts, and display this intellectual artistic dialogue among the works.


Visual Artist and journalist, Member of Emirates Fine Art Society.She’s specialized in observing and tracking art and cultural movement in UAE, and covering events and art fairs and exhibitions.

“Al Tashkeel” Magazine

he first issue of “Al Tashkeel” Magazine was published back in 1984, four years after the formation of the Emirates Fine Arts Society. The fine arts movement was witnessing growth and gaining traction on all other artistic levels.