From the UAE to China at World Art Dubai
World Art Dubai has underlined its status as a magnet for emerging artists from the UAE and beyond, with dozens of international emerging solo artists debuting work at the fifth annual edition of the region’s leading accessible and affordable art fair.
With emerging artists from more than 30 countries descending on the fair, the World Art Dubai line-up represented a fascinating look at up-and-coming artists who could become major international names in years to come.
Making a debut at this year’s fair was China’s Li Lei, who has practised art for 20 years. Li ishowcased a 26-strong portfolio of acrylic and oil works, with prices ranging from USD 1,000 to USD 10,000.
A resident of Suzhou, an ancient city home to famous imperial gardens listed as UNESCO heritage sites, Li’s work is inspired by Suzhou’s vast, 2,425 square kilometre lake – the third largest freshwater lake in China. In addition to providing a millennia-old source of food, employment and luck for local residents, the lake bed is littered with distinctive tai hu stone. The heavily eroded stone is often used as decorative centre-pieces in the city’s imperial gardens.
“I have exhibited in Bangladesh, Singapore and Greece, but World Art Dubai is my most important show to date,” said Li. “I found out about the fair from some artists friends in Bangladesh that exhibited here last year. I did some research and the event is widely known amongst emerging artists in China. I am hoping to sell all my works and build a profile in the UAE.”
Coming back to the Emirates, Dubai resident Saeedeh Keshvari took part in World Art Dubai for the first time after attending as a visitor in 2018: “I was really envious of the artists last year, so I decided to sign up. I believe World Art Dubai is the right stage to get my art seen on a wider international scale,” said Keshvari.
With eye-catching work inspired by aspirational lines from regional poetry and philosophy, Keshvari’s distinctive style involves reimaging the textual passages in calligraphy form entwinned with simple, abstract self-portraits. Each work lives on homemade paper created by Keshvari herself.
“My paper-making technique is a secret, but I will say it is a genuine labour of love. The paper can be called artworks themselves. The process means every piece is different and unique because I can add dye to the paper to enhance the mood of the work.”
Among the new artists joining the show this year was 11-year-old Shriya Mishra, who opted to make World Art Dubai her debut exhibition after only starting to paint two years ago.
Talking about her nature-inspired art, the self-taught Dubai resident said: “I like how art can tell you the expressions of a person without using words. Nature is really close to all the emotions we have in real life, so I find it easier to depict our emotions using nature rather than through more abstract styles of painting.”Supporting both emerging and the next generation artists, World Art Dubai hosted a number of competitions and awards to recognise those of particular note. Rove Emerging Artists Exhibition, a new feature of the show, showcased a shortlist of 10 artists’ work in partnership with Rove Hotels, with two pieces being selected on the final day (Saturday 6 April) for further accolade. Inspiring youth, World Art Dubai worked with numerous schools across Abu Dhabi and Dubai to encourage students to pursue their artistic career.