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Announcing the talks programme for 2019

Talks and panel discussions have been an essential part of Art Dubai’s extensive cultural programming since 2007 and have united the fair’s visitors with over 600 leading artists, curators, and galleries; art historians, art experts and opinion leaders; covering topics such as arts patronage and collecting; art history; and the social-political and cultural factors which influence contemporary art.


Highlights for the 2019 edition of the fair include the return of internationally-acclaimed annual transdisciplinary arts conference Global Art Forum; a full-day of knowledge exchange at Modern Symposium, which returns in a new format as a series of four one-hour ‘masterclasses’; and supporting talks for new gallery sections, Bawwaba.

Artist Josef Albers with his class at Black Mountain College, shot for Life magazine


Global Art Forum is an internationally-acclaimed annual transdisciplinary arts conference, which combines original thinking and contemporary themes in an intimate, live environment. This year’s two-day forum, the largest of its kind in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, is open to the public (including non-ticket holders) and free to attend.

Following on from last year’s theme of automation, Global Art Forum 2019 unites a diverse cast of global minds – from renowned curators and critics to educationalists and entrepreneurs – under the theme of “School is a Factory?” to address some of the urgent challenges and opportunities facing education today.

Some of the pressing questions posed throughout the Forum’s lectures, presentations and conversations will be: “What should education prioritise in the coming decade?” “How should humans be taught in the age of accelerated mechanization?” “Is the notion of ‘learning for life’ just an opportunistic tagline?” “Will higher education escape the ghetto of elitism?” “Do past experiments in education have something to teach today?” and “Will we need humans to teach humans anymore, anyway?”

The 2019 iteration of Global Art Forum is organised by Commissioner Shumon Basar, with Editor and Writer Victoria Camblin, and Curator and Writer Fawz Kabra as Co-Directors. The Forum is supported by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Global Art Forum 12, I AM NOT A ROBOT, day 3,  2018, Photo Credit: Photo Solutions


Art Dubai Modern Symposium accompanies Art Dubai Modern, the fair’s gallery section presenting museum-quality works by 20th Century masters from the MENASA region.

Under the title of ‘Cultural Hubs of Modernism’, this year’s Symposium attempts to map out the cultural shifts and trends instigated by modernity in four key cities in the Middle East and South Asia during the 20th century – Baghdad, Beirut, Dakar and Lahore – in a new 60-minute ‘masterclass’ format.

Renowed curators, scholars and patrons will each focus on a different city:

Dr Nada Shabout, professor and founding president of the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art from the Arab World, Iran and Turkey, presents ‘Performing Modernity: Baghdad of the Mid-twentieth Century’; Dr Iftikhar Dadi, professor and co-director of the Institute for Comparative Modernitiés, presents ‘Modern Art in Lahore’; Elvira Dyangani Ose, Director of The Showroom, London, will lecture on Dakar; and, Catherine David, deputy director of the National Museum of Modern Art at the Centre Georges Pompidou, delivers a masterclass session on Beirut.

Global Art Forum 12, I AM NOT A ROBOT, day 2,  2018, Photo Credit: Photo Solutions

BAWWABA: supporting talks, March 20

Curated by French Cameroonian Élise Atangana, Art Dubai’s new gallery section Bawwaba was created to shed light on artist interrogations of the notion of the Global South. With a spotlight on the Middle East, Africa, Central and South Asia, and Latin America, its first edition features 10 solo presentations which resonate deeply with narratives around colonisation histories and contemporary experiences.

Running alongside Bawwaba will be two supporting talks: ‘Arts Patronage in the Global South,’ a discussion exploring the diverse arts patronage models across the Global South, led by Ahmad Abu Ghazaleh, collector of Western, Middle Eastern and Arab art and President of the Mohammad and Mahera Abu Ghazaleh Foundation with participating collectors engaged in impactful arts patronage initiatives.

Global Art Forum 12, I AM NOT A ROBOT, day 3, 2018, Photo Credit: Photo Solutions

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