Friday, May 2, 2008

FreeJ Dubailand

Another VIP gala evening was unfolding at the Madinat Jumeirah on Wednesday April 30. "FreeJ Dubailand" was the big announcement. Freej - meaning neighbourhood - is the Arabic animation created by Mohammed Saeed Harib. The series depicts four grandmothers in traditional attire. Guests first lounged around with fresh juices and tasty chicken skewers soon after the doors had opened at 6:30pm. An hour later they were urged to enter the auditorium and soon found themselves walking down a dark hall and experienced FreeJ in 3-D. Hologram like projections of the four main Freej characters were just a peek at the show that was too unfold. By 8pm it seemed the house was full and guests anxiously waited for the key speakers. Thirty more minutes pass by, which of course is a typical event timeline in Dubai. Finally the five minute warning was announced only to find out 20 minutes later that it would be another 20 minutes. Two hours after sitting in the dining room chairs, watching the same animation loop, Sheikh Majed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum arrives - the reason for the delay - and the half hour show unfolds. Dancers, drummers, props and projections told Tatweer's future development plans in building FreeJ Dubailand which is planned to open in 2013. The theme park includes four main areas: Window on the UAE, Golden Age of Discovery, Myths and Legends, and the Land of Freej. The four Freej characters will be ambassadors to the various sections where restaurants to roller coaster rides, can be found.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Khor Dubai - a new creative time

Sheikh Mohammed and the team representing the Dubai Arts and Cultural Authority have announced their big plan for cultural development in Dubai.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Creek Art Fair

A busy month for the arts, the Creek Art Fair has returned bigger and better than its launch in 2007. With the support of the Dubai Cultural Council, the galleries wind through the old houses of Bastakiya. Participants included galleries from Dubai, Iran, and others in the region as well as artists from Lebanon, Italy and London. XVA who are the organizers behind this alternative platform also held a series of inspiring panel discussions. Visit

In the photo's Colleen Quigley working in her installation "Constructing the Constructor", students playing dART magazine's Color Match.

Art Dubai 2008

Global Art Forum returned to the air-conditioned tent on the beach and provided an intimate conversation and interview platform some great speakers. Speakers included Hans Ulrich Obrist, Lawrence Weiner, Catherine David, Venetia Porter, Ai Wei Wei, Tony Cragg, Monir Shahroudy Framanfarmaian, Daniel Buren, and a final day on talks about cultural cities and museums with words by MoMA's Glenn Lowery and finishing the day off with architect Rem Koolhaas.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Art Dubai begins

The second year of Dubai's contemporary art fair begins. Held again at the Madinat Jumeirah, with a new name and about twice the size its 2007 show, gallerists and art enthusiasts were excited at what this year would bring. In comparison, there was an increase of figurative work and a selection for all. Some galleries were doing great in terms of sales while others were disappointed, although enjoyed the experience of seeing Dubai. This year Art Dubai expanded with a section called the "Pakistani Pavillion" and had the Biduon video lounge and some other installations taking up space in by the car park. Visit for more info.

In the photos: Ben Brown Fine Arts; Sung-Tae Park's horses; Torch Gallery with Fred Eversley walking in the background.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Art Paris in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi takes us down modern art lane at Emirates Palace. The art market is beginning to take momentum within the United Arab Emirates. Not as big as Art Dubai - previously known as the Gulf Art Fair – but buyers were trickling in constantly.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Istanbul Biennial

"Not Only Possible, But Also Necessary: Optimism in the Age of Global War" was the title of the 2007 Istanbul Biennial curated by Hou Hanru. A handful of leading contemporary artists take over various parts of city buildings including the warehouse beside Istanbul Modern. Across the river in the plazas of shops we find a mix of works, some interactive and some that just make you wonder. But even in Turkey you find the fascination of animal painted sculptures, in this instance it was the cow, while at the same time visitors are consumed by the complexity of architectural variations between the Ottoman, Byzantine and Modern designs.

In the photos we find the works of Lee Bul, and Ken Lum which seemed to be the most successful piece of people looking at the unaware.