Written by: Narmeen Hamadeh

DUBAI- With each passing year, it gets more evident that the United Arab Emirates is an active art hub in the Middle East catering to all types of art. From emerging to established artist, the UAE welcomes everyone.

My name is Narmeen Hamadeh, a digital artist based in Saudi Arabia. I met the artmejo team in November of 2018 during their visit to Misk Art Week in Riyadh where I was displaying my illustrations. There was an immediate spark as Hind and Sama understood and appreciated my peculiar illustrated characters. We remained in contact and in March artmejo covered POPARTE, another group exhibition I was part of in Antwerp, and this April they gave me the chance to cover World Art Dubai.

Every year following Dubai Art Week comes World Art Dubai. It is the region’s largest affordable retail art fair and luckily, I had the chance to display my art there two years in a row. World Art Dubai gives the artist the chance to display their work to a large audience as it attracts people from different aspects of the market from designers to business owners, gallerists and collectors. What follows is a list of my highlighted works from this year’s fair:

One of the main highlights in World Art Dubai was Art Gap. This exhibition was presented by Standard Chartered to raise awareness about the gender based pay gap in the art world. Through a collective of women artists, the exhibition hosted works with only 47.6% of the canvas painted to make a statement on the identical pay gap percentage.

While walking around the fair, I passed by an artist live painting in absolute disconnect from all the fuss around him. I was so taken aback by his process that I didn’t notice him at first. On a second glance, I was surprised to see that Aarav Verma is only 12 years old. His brush strokes give the impression of having a much older and experienced owner. After speaking with his father I learned that that’s because he has been practicing art for three quarters of his life beginning at only 3 years of age.

Yuliia Korienkova is an Abu Dhabi based artist who works with mixed media including electronics. The colors and textures in her work give a nostalgic feeling to the 1990’s while simultaneously making you wonder about the future of humans in the technological era.

Another top pick comes from Indian pop artist Sanuj Birla. Inspired by his culture, Birla’s work is full of colours and life. Birla also adds a literal layer to his work in the form of neon lights. His approach to pop art is quite unique in its sense of humor as he combines elements from different eras in time to create interesting and collectible pieces.

This artist’s work radiates joy and sarcasm, and it clearly translates to the observer. Marcin Rogal‘s work mixes pop culture characters and elements and adds them to extravagant products like Patek Philippe watches and credit cards, creating an ironic art pieces that is anything but mundane.

If you like expressive abstract works, Mireille Salti‘s artwork is the choice for you. Her technique in fluid art showcases lots of blue hues resembling the sky or deep oceans. The detailing in the work was transcending. It demanded the viewers to stop and look. Mireille was also one of the participating artists in the Art Gap exhibition.

August Vilella‘s main medium is oil paint on canvas. From a distance the artist’s work resembles academic and traditional art, but as you walk closer the familiarity of the technique is obliterated by the unorthodox subject matter. August creates whimsical characters that you can’t help but fall in love with. With golden engraved frames and small sizes, the works leave quite an impression on viewers! Looking closely at the work invites viewers to appreciate the details and layering dimensions.

Narmeen Hamadeh is an interior architect with a Master’s degree in Living and Interior Design. Her work as an artist focuses on digital illustrations of peculiar characters who tell their own stories. Her main character is Mr. Balloon whose chronicles you can follow on instagram.

Follow Narmeen on instagram.
Image courtesy of Hamadeh and the artists’ profiles.