By Samar Kamel, World Art Dubai curator
From food to fashion, trends shape how we see the world. Trends determine what we buy, where we travel, what we eat and what we wear. The art world is no different. Major movements in global art create a ripple effect stretching from high-end galleries to the walls of individual collectors’ homes.
Last year was an eclectic one for the international art scene, when art walked hand in hand with global movements. A surge in female empowerment spurred countless memorable pieces as women around the world celebrated themselves; among these powerful female-focused works of art include Rania Daou’s compositions around inspirational women. The desire to travel spurred a rapid increase in ‘Escapist’ art, as owners, adventure seekers and collectors aimed to soften their wanderlust cravings (until they travelled) with art which transported them to another place.
Gina Plunder, with her take on ‘Escapism’, will be one of the ‘artists to watch’ at the fair this year. According to her, the ‘Wishhouse’ collection, which will feature visual elements from iconic buildings across the globe, offers a journey into another world.
Ahead of World Art Dubai, the Middle East’s largest affordable retail art fair, which returns to Dubai World Trade Centre 3-6 April, I believe modern artists are reverting to the classical paintings from the past for inspiration. Their creations may be contemporary in form, but they purposely blur the boundaries between often quite distant eras, such as Lizelle Engelbrecht who combines traditional materials like oil paint and ink with more modern art supplies specifically gold-leaf, aluminum and epoxy resin.
This aligns with buying trends, as collectors increasingly opt for art which expands their understanding of the world around them. Despite portraits and landscape pieces maintaining their classic attraction, we can expect these to take a backseat with ‘Escapist’ art here to stay as buyers search for more.
One to watch – the sustainable art movement is – gaining support and interest and is likely to top the bill this year. As people become more aware of their footprints – both carbon and green – artists are taking inspiration from new source materials and creating exceptional pieces that urge the viewer to consider an array of socio-political factors. Robert Kratz, who’s concern over the planet pollution has spurred his creativity and contributed to his “Under Water, Under The Moon” collection displayed at this year’s retail fair.
In the UAE, we should expect more hype and clamour surrounding Emirati art. Classic Arabian art forms such as Calligraphy will remain popular, but today’s Emirati artists are expressing their creativity through an increasingly diverse set of art mediums including photography, video, painting, sculpture and digital. Be sure to check out the highly-anticipated Sajaya Young Ladies of Sharjah, who will demonstrate this variety of art types this year.
Finally, price. Surrounded by topsy-turvy markets and a culture that’s about deals and added value, the desire for affordable art primarily influences any decision-making. With the paying public consciously seeking the best deal and price, home and corporate buyers alike crave unique, awe-inspiring pieces, but don’t want to pay over the odds. With pieces ranges from Dhs 500 – 3,000, the ‘Art For Every Wall’ feature at World Art Dubai is readymade to tap into this segment. The area will display pieces from over 45 artists.
Anyone looking to learn more about current and predicted art trends can also attend a bill of expert talks, live painting sessions and hands-on creative learning workshops at World Art Dubai. With all sessions led by some of the region’s most recognised artists, collectors old and new can expect cutting-edge discussions on emerging trends – and whether they are here to stay or only fleeting. Keep an eye on the World Art Dubai website for a schedule closer to the show.