Art Dubai announces the UAE will host the first major international art fair taking place in Spring 2021, with a diverse list of galleries and new specially-adapted programme of events and experiences. In celebration of the UAE’s 50th Anniversary and the opening of Dubai Expo in 2021, the programme of the 14th edition celebrates synergies with creative institutions across the UAE.

Art Dubai announces the UAE will host the first major international art fair taking place in Spring 2021, with a diverse list of galleries and new specially-adapted programme of events and experiences. In celebration of the UAE’s 50th Anniversary and the opening of Dubai Expo in 2021, the programme of the 14th edition celebrates synergies with creative institutions across the UAE.

Art Dubai’s 14th edition will represent 11 galleries from the UAE, which will be part of the 85 galleries that will be prepared for Spring 2021, during the month of March 17th -20th in Madinat Jumeirah Dubai. As a major international art event, it will host art from 36 countries around the world, which will coincide with the UAE’s Golden Jubilee celebrations for the country’s 50th anniversary.

Over the past 14 years, Art Dubai has played a significant role in being a major catalyst in the local, regional and international conversations on art from the Middle East and surrounding region.

The new programme is designed and guided by artists participating at the fair, including offsite commissioned site-specific experiences around Dubai. Following safety guidelines and procedures, Art Dubai is expecting to be the region’s main art fair and leading international platform, where local and regional talent will be showcased to the world.

A New Artist Led Programme  

Art Dubai 2021 is delighted to present an ambitious line-up of galleries from diverse geographies, inventive programming with safety protocols in place, new partners and a more artist-led approach that aims to bring communities together, further cultivate art engagement practices, and highlight art across the Global South. 

A new artist-led programme will be designed and guided by the artists participating in the fair, including live art happenings and site-specific experiences around Dubai. The new live experiences initiative aims to break the traditional ways of meeting, viewing and engaging with an artist’s practice and will offer deeper insights into the artist’s thinking and making processes. 

These gatherings will take place around Dubai – from performances on the beach and guided tours at textile souks in Dubai’s old city, to boat experiences around islands, to karaoke performances and themed encounters, invited artists will produce site-specific happenings that are prompted by human interaction, interconnection, and the ways in which we relate to our surroundings. 

Participating artists include Lawrence Abu Hamdan (Jordan), Kristoffer Ardeña (Philippines), Iván Argote (Colombia), Tania Candiani (Mexico), James Clar (USA), Tsedaye Makonnen (Ethiopia/USA), and Serwan Baran (Iraq), amongst others. 


For Art Dubai’s 2021 edition, visitors will experience diverse interpretations of perspectives in the three main sections of the fair, Art Dubai Contemporary, Art Dubai Modern, and Bawwaba, on a scope of geographies and narratives from outside the traditional western-led scope. 

“We are thankful for the enduring support from our exhibiting galleries, and the trust they have placed in us throughout the last year. Art Dubai is delighted that we have more than 90% of our galleries returning for the 14th edition, and are proud of the diversity presented amongst the participating exhibitors,” said Art Dubai’s Artistic Director, Pablo del Val.

“We believe in the importance of bringing communities together at physical events and as the only international art fair going forward in the first quarter of 2021, we believe there’s a unique opportunity that our platform can offer to visitors who are keen to explore, discover and re-engage with the international art world.” 

Art Dubai Contemporary

Art Dubai Contemporary presents a diverse selection of galleries and exhibited artists, ranging from emerging art scenes to more established art hubs from around the world. It features an exciting selection of 55+ galleries including Addis Fine Art (Addis Ababa / London), Gallery 1957 (Accra), Experimenter (Kolkata), Galerie Krinzinger (Vienna), Silverlens (Makati City) and Zilberman Gallery (Istanbul / Berlin),

The contemporary section sees the return of distinguished galleries from the region, including Athr Gallery (Jeddah), Hafez Gallery (Jeddah) and Sfeir-Semler Gallery (Beirut / Hamburg), as well as nine Dubai-based galleries: Akka Project, Ayyam Gallery, Custot Gallery Dubai, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Leila Heller Gallery, Lawrie Shabibi, Meem Gallery, The Third Line and Zawyeh Gallery. 

Art Dubai Contemporary also proudly welcomes new artists and first time exhibitors, including +2 (Tehran), Galería Albarrán Bourdais (Madrid), Mono Gallery (Riyadh), Stems Gallery (Brussels) and Yusto/Giner (Marbella).

Art Dubai Modern  

Art Dubai Modern, curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, features exceptional works by 20th century modern masters working in specific geo-historical contexts across the MENASA region, aiming to drive new narratives and connections across exhibited presentations and across time. Following its launch in 2019, this renewed edition of Bawwaba — meaning ‘gateway’ in Arabic — this year is curated by Nancy Adajania and features solo presentations created within the last year or conceived specifically for the fair and showcases alternative perspectives from diverse global hubs of trade, culture and art. 

The largest edition to date, Art Dubai Modern will feature distinct solo artist presentations, with each gallery showcasing works by a leading regional modernist artist. Featuring a new layout and showcasing a range of archival and didactic material in parallel to the artists’ oeuvres, curators Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath have taken a fresh approach in contextualising the artworks on display. 

The Art Dubai Modern section will feature returning participants Agial Art Gallery (Beirut), ArtTalks|Egypt (Cairo), Gallery One (Ramallah), and TAFETA (London), alongside new participants Sabrina Amrani (Madrid), Dirimart (Istanbul), Comptoir des Mines (Marrakech) and Gallery Misr (Cairo) amongst several others. The full list of artists featured in Art Dubai Modern will be announced at a later stage. 


Bawwaba will return in 2021 for its second edition, curated by Bombay-based cultural theorist and curator Nancy Adajania. As a section, Bawwaba serves as a portal of discovery of works created within the last year or specifically for the fair and affirms Art Dubai’s focus on presenting current artistic developments across wide geographical scopes across the Global South. Adajania interprets the section descriptor ‘Bawwaba’ – meaning ‘gateway’ in Arabic – as an invitation to annotate the ‘offsites’ of global contemporary art, without creating a binary between art from the west and the so-called non-west. 

Bawwaba will welcome first time exhibiting galleries Nature Morte (New Delhi) with works by Indian artist Tanya Goel and Vadehra Art Gallery (New Delhi) exhibiting Indian artist Ranbir Kaleka; Galleria Giampaolo Abbondio (Milan) with the work of Cuban-born artist María 

Magdalena Campos-Pons and Galerie—Peter—Sillem (Frankfurt) with the work of Yemeni-Bosnian-American artist Alia Ali and Abu Dhabi-based gallery Salwa Zeidan Gallery exhibiting a selection of work by Emirati artist Hussain Sharif. The section is pleased to see the return of Canvas Gallery (Karachi) with works by Pakistani artist Adeela Suleman, Vermelho (São Paulo) with the work of Mexican artist Tania Candiani.  

As one of the world’s most international art fairs, Art Dubai has further expanded its commitment to cultivating a culture of discovery, offering exciting new global perspectives and broadening conversations about art beyond traditional western-led geographical scopes and narratives.