The sixth edition of Art Dubai is currently taking place at the Madinat Jumeirah. The opening night was held last March 21st, and the fair runs until tomorrow. Art Dubai has been the leading and the biggest art fair in the region since it began, and this year was no different.
With more than 70 galleries from all over the world, it is a must-see for every art enthusiast. This year’s repertoire was more compact and less overwhelming than last year. I came more prepared and relaxed so I was able to stop and appreciate most of the pieces on exhibit. Art fairs normally frighten me because of the abundance of art. It’s a difficult task to view them all one by one and try to understand its message. But the trick is to do it bit by bit and to not overthink. Some are actually better viewed with a blank mind and no expectations.
This year, my favorite pieces are the quirky mixed media on wood sculptures by South Korean artist Song Jin-hwa. She is represented by Artside Gallery in Seoul. I love how it resembles the traditional Korean masks or 하회탈. During a class trip to Andong’s Hahoe village, I was able to watch a mask maker create one. It was a delicate and beautiful process. It is intimately close to nature, and so in-touch with the person’s emotions. I view mask making as a very profound art. I wonder what is it like to channel your feelings and create a piece of art that will later be used by another person to conceal his. The dichotomy in that is mindblowing.
Song Jin-hwa’s works are not masks, but these sculptures will evoke the same feelings. It’s executed in a similar manner and the aesthetics are reminiscent of the said masks. But even if you don’t understand or appreciate Korean traditional arts, you’ll still like these. They’re impossibly cute and cheeky with the huge grins. I loved the pieces so much, I actually dragged my boyfriend back to take more photos.
Tomorrow is the last day of the fair so make sure you don’t miss it. The next one of this caliber is a year away, and it might be a long wait.