The Marker section at the 2014 edition of Art Dubai spotlighted art from Central Asia and the Caucasus.
The eighth edition of Art Dubai 2014 was held at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, from 19 to 22 March 2014. This year, the Marker section of the fair featured art from Central Asia and the Caucasus region, curated by the art collective Slavs and Tatars.
The 2014 edition of Art Dubai, the leading art fair in the MENASA (Middle East, North Africa and South Asia) region, hosted gallery halls, commissioned projects and performances, radio, film, residencies, and the Global Art Forum with speakers such as John Akomfrah and Okwui Enwezor. The 2014 edition was the fair’s largest to date, with 85 participating galleries from 34 countries, and consisted of three sections: Contemporary, Modern and Marker.
Art Dubai Marker 2014
The Marker section is a curated programme of art spaces that focuses on a particular theme or region. This year, it was curated by Slavs and Tatars – the first time that the section was curated by artists – and spotlighted five art spaces from Central Asia and the Caucasus:
- ArtEast (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan)
- Asia Art+ (Almaty, Kazakhstan)
- North Caucasus Branch of the National Centre for Contemporary Art (NCCA) (Vladikavkaz, Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, Russia)
- Popiashvili Gvaberidze Window Project (Tbilisi, Georgia)
- YARAT Contemporary Art Organisation (Baku, Azerbaijan)
Art Dubai Marker 2014 also featured talks, commissioned projects and additional contributions by IADA International Art Development Association (Almaty/Paris) and Mardjani Foundation (Russia). According to the website,
At the fair, Marker takes the form of a chaikhaneh or Eurasian (tea) salon, to activate each work as a point of departure, to tell larger stories touching upon questions of faith, language, landscape; and importantly, how these notions are ritualised, interiorised, and hybridised beyond the often brittle politics of identity.
Who are Slavs and Tatars?
Slavs and Tatars are a Central Asian art collective based in London. Founded in 2006, they describe themselves as “a faction of polemics and intimacies devoted to an area east of the former Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China.” In an interview with Art Radar in December 2013, Art Dubai’s Director Antonia Carver said:
Slavs and Tatars are a dynamic artist collective, and their work has a strong emphasis on research as well as ‘objects’. They have both an inside and outside view of the regions in focus – which have been a continual theme or subject within their work for years – and we wanted to do something a little different this year, take a fresh approach.
Art from Kyrgyzstan
Located in Bishkek, ArtEast is dedicated to the development of the contemporary art landscape in Kyrgyzstan. Exhibiting artists at Marker include Armoured Train Group; Kyrgyz contemporary artists Evgeny Boikov, Alimjan Jorobaev and Evgeny Makshakov; Kyrgyz theatre artist, actor and playwright Marat Raimkulov; Uzbek artist Said Atabekov; and ArtEast Directors Gulnara Kasmalieva and Muratbek Djumaliev. ArtEast was founded in 2002.
Asia Art+, based in Almaty, Kazakhstan and directed by Yuliya Sorokina, supports contemporary Kazakh art as well as multicultural Central Asian art. The art space represents emerging and established artists from the region including Uzbek artist Alexander Barkovskiy, Kazakh artists Alexander Ugay and Victor Vorobyev, Turkmen artist Yelena Vorobyeva and Bishkek-based artist Valeriy Ruppel.
Art from the North Caucasus
Based in Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia-Alania, Russia, the North Caucasus branch of the National Centre for Contemporary Art (NCCA) is the only state art institution in the North Caucasus region. Established in 2010, it serves to facilitate dialogue and showcase art from the region to local and international audiences. Exhibiting artists include Stanislav Kharin, Galina Konopatskaya, Taus Makhacheva and Ruslan Tsrimov.
Art from Georgia
The Popiashvili Gvaberidze Window Project, directed by curator Irena Popiashvili and marketing specialist Tamuna Gvaberidze, is based in Tbilisi, Georgia. Founded in 2013, it aims to engage the public with contemporary art and exhibits established as well as emerging artists in shop windows around Tbilisi. The windows are a temporary destination for these artworks, but effectively bring art into the public domain.
At Art Dubai Marker 2014, exhibiting artists include Michael Huey, Natela Iankoshvili, Karlo Kacharava, Giorgi Khaniashvili and Lado Pochkhua, among others.
Art from Azerbaijan
YARAT Contemporary Art Organisation features three generations of Azerbaijani artists covering themes such as collective memory, dance and music, and landscape. The artworks range from video and mixed media to traditional painting and sculpture. Based in Baku, YARAT (“create” in Azerbaijani) was founded in 2011 by Aida Mahmudova to create a platform for Azerbaijani art nationally and internationally. Amongst the exhibited works are films by emerging artists Ali Hasanov and Orkhan Huseynov on the performing arts of dance and music, and paintings by Reza Hazare that reflect on his Afghan heritage.
- Inspiring creativity: YARAT Contemporary Art Space – profile – March 2014 – YARAT has become the most active art organisation in Azerbaijan
- Contemporary visual culture from Turkey and beyond – in pictures – March 2014 – Istanbul Modern presents an exhibition highlighting contemporary art from Turkey and its neighbours
- 5 books that inspired our art practice – Slavs and Tatars, Central Asia – November 2013 – London-based Central Asian artists Slavs and Tatars profile five books that have influenced their art practice
- Love in a Caucasian Climate: Central Asian art at the Venice Biennale 2013 – picture feast – June 2013 – the exhibition “Love Me, Love Me Not” aims to open up conversations about the Caucasus at the 55th Venice Biennale
- First Syrian artist among 5 Abraaj Capital Art Prize 2013 recipients – September 2012 – Hrair Sarkissian becomes the first Syrian artist to receive an award in the Prize’s history
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