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The Middle East’s Coolest Art Fair is Set to Take Place in March

“You” (2019)

The Middle East‘s burgeoning art scene is undoubtedly in the midst of an unprecedented boom. With events like Art Dubai and Jeddah 21,39, which is currently underway, the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and acquisitions of major artworks, the region is quickly emerging as a global juncture for the arts, drawing in collectors, buyers, and aficionados alike.

Now, joining in on the action is Art Bahrain Across Borders (ArtBAB 2019), which is set to unfold at the tiny Kingdom’s International Exhibition & Convention Center in March for its fourth edition. Held under the patronage of HRH Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, wife of the king of Bahrain and president of the supreme council for women, the four-day-long art fair will take place from March 6-10.

“Weaved 2” (2018)

Billing itself as the “Middle East’s youngest and most promising art fair”, the theme of this year’s exhibition is “Legacies”. It aims to take visitors through a historic journey of the nearly five-decade-old Bahraini contemporary art scene and its foundation in the Kingdom’s rich art heritage. “We are proud of the unique conversations that we have started about Bahraini art around the world,” notes Shaikha Maram bint Isa Al Khalifa, director of the office of HRH wife of the king of Bahrain in a press statement. “In the 2019 edition of the fair, we shall explore not just the heritage and legacies that inspire Bahraini contemporary art, but also the new directions of art on the global stage,” she added.

This means that visitors can expect to see pieces from both established and up-and-coming Bahraini artists during the four-day art fair, in addition to a peak at some of the world’s leading private museums thanks to virtual reality technology. A first-ever in the region, ArtBAB will feature a “Virtual Reality Corner”, which comprises three different VR experiences, so that guests can get up close and personal to contemporary Chinese art collections, 17th century Dutch and Flemish masterpieces, as well as millennial VR artwork from the likes of different VR private museums from France and The Netherlands.

“Our Virtual Corner at ArtBAB 2019 truly takes the art experience beyond borders,” explains Kaneka Subberwal, fairs and programme director.

Additional components to look forward to include a series of panel discussions, debates, and interviews with an impressive lineup of speakers that includes industry leaders, such as Robbie Barrat, the 19-year old who developed the code for the first AI-generated Portrait of Edmond de Belamy. Truth be told, with a program like this, you don’t even need to be an art buff to be excited for the upcoming event.

ArtBAB 2019 will take place from March 6-10 2019 at Bahrain’s International Exhibition & Convention Center.

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