World Art Dubai returns for its ninth event with a focus on South Korea


World Art Dubai has returned.

With more than 300 exhibitors showcasing 4,000 artworks from 60 countries, the contemporary art fair, taking place at the Dubai World Trade Center through Sunday, highlights South Korea as its country of honour.

Moon Byung-jun, Consul-General of the Republic of Korea in Dubai, said the country will be represented at the fair’s ninth edition with 100 artworks, alongside presentations of a traditional Hanbok fashion show, a tea tasting ceremony and other cultural performances.

“We appreciate World Art Dubai’s immense efforts in providing Korean artists with this platform to shed light on and spread awareness of the beautiful and rich Korean art scene throughout the UAE and Mena region,” he added added.

Among the participating South Korean artists is Yu Jingoo, who infuses his contemporary works with traditional Korean techniques and materials – mainly mother-of-pearl. The artist first paints with acrylics on wooden panels, then painstakingly cuts off pieces of mother-of-pearl and arranges them on the work; a process that can take two months.

Curator Shinjeung Jang, representing Yu, narrates The National more about the material: “The ancient Koreans used it for precious furniture and jewelry boxes, so he shares these traditional Korean philosophical ideas and modernizes them by applying this material to his paintings.”

She says nacre also creates iridescent colors as light bounces off the shell and reflects through a prism. “The artworks maximize the momentary effects of the swaying waves of colour, just like the dot drawings of neo-impressionism,” she adds.

Jang believes the artist’s use of mother-of-pearl offers a commonality with Emirati culture. “In Korean culture, thousands of years ago, we collected so many things from the sea, and all the materials our craftsmen used, like mother-of-pearl, all came from the sea. I think Emirati culture has a similar historical approach to pearls.”

Speaking on the popularity of Korean culture in the UAE, she says, “I think people are really crazy about a westernized version of Korean culture, but Yu Jin-goo thinks people still enjoy how much they do.” different from their own culture – they will immerse themselves in Korean culture and characters.”

Emirati artist Amal Al Rumaithi, who graduated in mathematics from the University of Sharjah in 2017 and works in the field of statistics, is also returning to World Art Dubai for the second time. A fan and student of Korean culture, her untitled collection of 24 works has been in the works for two years and is a whimsical nod to the UAE’s ambitions in space.

Al Rumaithi also drew inspiration from her childhood fantasies, Emirati folklore and everyday surroundings. “The UAE’s focus on space as the next frontier became an obvious theme for this collection for me,” she says. “I also think back to my childhood and how I wanted to explore other galaxies. This collection showcases this imaginative and fairytale take on outer space.”

Al Rumaithi describes her style as unrealistic and very colourful. “It’s a piece of my imagination, very much alive and immersed in mythology, the Emirati legend of Umm Al Duwais and also Korean pop culture, which fascinates me,” she says.

Another artist participating in the fair is Sarans KK – who goes by the stage name Sarans Guruvayoor – a resident of the Indian UAE who holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest professional oil painting of a single person for his portrait of the Founding Father of the UAE , the late Sheikh Zayed, won bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Guruvayoor, who grew up in Kerala and started his own art gallery, previously painted an image of Krishna that stretched over 60 feet tall and 34 feet long – an effort that earned Limca and the URF world records. However, after moving to the UAE, he had a “long-standing” desire to paint an even bigger picture of Sheikh Zayed. “After reading about a popular ruler like him, I wanted to paint his picture,” he says.

He produced the 166 square meter painting of Sheikh Zayed in Kerala over the course of 50 days in 2020 before bringing it to the UAE. “My wish is that this painting will be displayed in a suitable and safe place forever so that people have the opportunity to see it,” he says.

In the United Arab Emirates he has started a virtual gallery called Srishti. “Srishti means that something is created or arises or something new begins. The goal of this gallery is to bring new paintings to people, art lovers.

A selection of these works, ranging from Dh300 to Dh10,000, will be on display at World Art Dubai.

Other highlights of the fair include Urban Art DXB, which brings together live music, fashion and dance performances, and the first matchmaking program, designed to bring together emerging artists with established galleries.

World Art Dubai runs at the Dubai World Trade Center until Sunday. For more information, see www.worldartdubai.com

Updated March 10, 2023 2:38 p.m

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