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EASTERN TALES

The artists of this region mainly ask local expats: more than half of the buyers of the current fair are Europeans and Americans. But sheikhs are also buying. Still would! The patron of Art Dubai is the most important sheikh – the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum. When he walks around the stands with his retinue, gallery owners turn into salt pillars from excitement, and the audience is asked to leave the fair for this time. But otherwise everything is as everywhere – and even something better. The weather in Dubai in mid-March is like in Sardinia in the summer: it is very warm, but not exhaustingly hot. The path to art lies through jewelry – also a tribute to the East. The fair’s partner is Van Cleef & Arpels Jewelry House, which won the Art Patron Award following Art Dubai.

The “Poetry of Time” exposition is dedicated to the centenary history of the creation of clockworks. Generously studded with diamonds, this watch gives the impression of exquisite jewelry. I want to peer and try on – you can do both. Enamel artist Dominic Baron in front of the public paints the dial of the watch. Part of the exposition is devoted to watches decorated with enamel – handwork is especially appreciated in the East: “At least 40-50 hours of painstaking manual labor are spent on each dial.” In addition to the watches, there were mindealers at the exhibition, small precious “caskets” for publication with compartments for powder, lipstick, handkerchief, tablets and other small items, as well as a secret box with watches.

No fair has such an extensive non-profit program as Ait Dubai. Here are the most heated discussions at the Global Art Forum. Among the speakers are the concert de la creme art community: the director of the London Serpentine Gallery, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Miami collectors Don and Mera Rubell, Tate Modern curator Jessica Morgan and others who regularly gathered a full audience tent on the beach. A full house was also at a speech by Maria Baibakova, who called for more attention to local artists. The demand for Russian art, alas, was not so hot this year.

Aidan Gallery sold two large photographs of Tatyana Panova and Leonid Tishkov. In Western galleries, the canvas of Eric Bulatov and the object with Democracy oil by Andrey Molodkin were not in demand. Aidan says it’s hard to guess what will happen in a given year: a year ago, her gallery sold out almost all of her work. Among the favorites of this year’s market are photographs of Iranian Shirin Neshat, objects of Palestinian Mona Khatum, embroideries of Egyptian Gada Amer and, of course, the work of the winners of the most valuable (literally) art award in the world Abraaj Capital Art Prize: three artists share one million dollars from the Middle East region and three curators of their projects.