A Taste of Trends

The UAE Art Scene: Challenges and Opportunities

The cultural scene in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has witnessed a dramatic shift over the past few decades, marked by rapid development of art initiatives, institutions, auction houses, galleries, and creative hubs. The country’s annual art fair, biennale, and a number of large-scale international partnerships have also garnered it global recognition. However, amidst this very fast progress, an important question arises in regards to the art scene’s connection to local communities and audiences, and its critical acknowledgement and representation of earlier artistic histories within the Emirates and the region. Have some of these art initiatives developed in relative isolation from the public and bypassed their needs and realities, catering instead to a select smaller audience? It is also important to consider, in the context of these rapid and ongoing developments, the longer histories of artistic practices in the region and cultivate a study and recognition of possible continuities, rather than only focus on building anew. This presentation will question the trajectory of the UAE’s cultural development, and address possible tactics of making its art sector more accessible and inclusive. via

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