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Art Dubai, the commercial dynamo of the Gulf art scene

This is Art Dubai’s tenth year and its biggest presentation to date, with 500 artists and 92 galleries from 40 countries. It is split into three sections: Modern, which covers work from the last 60 years or so, to include the whole of the Middle East, Africa and South Asia; contemporary; and Marker, a curated section that focuses on a different theme or location each year (in 2016, the Philippines).

This year the local art scene is out in force, with 34 Middle Eastern galleries (27 last year) and more galleries from the United Arab Emirates than ever before (14, compared with nine in 2015). Six of the Middle Eastern galleries will be in the contemporary section, suggesting that interest in contemporary art from the region remains strong.

Since she took over in 2010, the director of the fair, Antonia Carver, has aimed to give Art Dubai a unique selling point by making it relevant to the region and the countries linked to it socio-economically and culturally. (Adjust your Western-centred mental map; Mumbai in India and Baku, Azerbaijan, are only three hours’ flight from Dubai; Tehran, two hours.) This includes South Asia, so not only is the Philippines the subject of this year’s Marker programme but there are galleries at the fair representing the country, and Sri Lanka, for the first time, along with seven Indian galleries.

Art Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah, Al Sufouh Road, Umm Suqeim, Dubai, 16-19 March