ArtBAB 2019 Pushes Technology To The Next Level




ArtBAB 2019 plans to push technology to the next level at the 2019 edition of the region’s highly influential fair. The event will offer visitors a multi-dimensional experience through its Virtual Reality Corner, the first of its kind in the region. Partnering with UNFOLD Art XChange, the fair’s diverse talks programme will bring together art foundations, cultural districts and museums with FinTech, Blockchain, AI and VR specialists. Themed ‘Legacies’, the fair will explore the Bahraini contemporary art scene and its foundation in the Kingdom’s rich art heritage.

Visitors can experience VR works of prominent contemporary artists by Khora Contemporary, the world’s first VR and augmented reality (AR) production house

UNFOLD Art Xchange aims to be one of the largest multicultural art exchanges, and its referential art talks platform brings together diverse cultures across local, regional and international art landscapes to share best practices. Launched in Dubai in 2018, the platform will present its second edition in Bahrain at ArtBAB 2019, under the patronage of Her Royal Highness, Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, Wife of His Majesty The King of Bahrain, President Of The Supreme Council for Women, in collaboration with Tamkeen.

Othman Khunji

Othman Khunji

Kaneka Subberwal, Fairs and Programme Director of ArtBAB 2019, comments, The art fair’s 2019 edition is an exciting amalgam of Bahraini art and cutting-edge trends which will be discussed at the conference. This year, in a first for the region, ArtBAB will take visitors beyond the canvases of the gifted artists of Bahrain and the exhibiting gallerists and take them not just across borders but across time-frames too. In our Virtual Reality Corner, the public will be able to have three different VR experiences using Vive Pro Headsets. They can literally ‘touch’ celebrated contemporary Chinese art collections, 17th century Dutch and Flemish masterpieces as well as millennial VR artwork.

Through this incredible Virtual Reality tour, the first VR art exhibition in the Middle East, visitors will be able to enter the private virtual museums of the DSL Collection from Paris, and The Kremer Collection of Amsterdam. Visitors can experience VR works by prominent contemporary artists, shown by Khora Contemporary, the world’s first VR and augmented reality (AR) production house, created as a collaboration between Khora VR and Copenhagen’s Faurschou Foundation.

In its effort to decode the intersection between art, culture and technology, ArtBAB 2019 will host an impressive array of over 40 speakers from 20 countries across the globe through a series of panel discussions, debates and interviews. These international speakers include the CEO of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCD), the Managing Director of the Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre for Kuwait National Cultural District, the Director of the National Museum of Singapore, the Director of Change Management at London’s University of the Arts, the President EMERI for Christie’s, the Chairman & Co-Founder of MutualArt, as well as the Founder & CEO of Artory, and the Chairman of the Board of TEFAF. The full talks programme and more information on all the speakers are available.
The programme includes several discussions around the impact of technology and how it is disrupting the art economy. BlockchainHub from Berlin will give an overview of Blockchain and how the art world can benefit from it. Also explored will be issues around Blockchain Art Provenance, AI and Artistic Creation, AI and Applied Science and the concept of VR as a game changer for the arts. The use of AI Innovations for Attribution, Augmented Creativity and Forecasting Art Trends will be uncovered with Verisart London, RunwayML New York, and Thread Genius, an AI SaaS startup based in New York, which was acquired by Sotheby’s in early 2018. ArtBAB will also be hosting a debate on Art & Islamic Finance between Deloitte Art & Finance and Deloitte ME Islamic Finance and Knowledge Centre (IFKC). Other talks will discuss arts philanthropy and arts patronage to empower cultural development in the Arab World, the use of big data and analytics in helping collectors better manage liquidity, risk and volatility, and the growth of cultural and educational districts in building a creative economy.

The fair will also see the return of BAB, the platform to showcase Bahraini artists which this year has attracted more than 100 applicants. Artists will be selected by a curatorial panel consisting of Amal Khalaf (Projects Curator, Serpentine Galleries, London), Nathalie Anglès (Co-founder and Executive Director of Residency Unlimited, New York), Rebecca Anne Proctor (Editor-in-Chief, Harper’s Bazaar Art Arabia) and Snejana Krasteva (Curator, Garage Museum, Moscow).

ArtBAB 2019 will also redefine Bahrain’s rich crafts heritage through a contemporary design exhibit. Visitors can view large modern installations of Bahraini crafts and explore contemporary Bahraini arts and crafts that will present Bahrain as a country which is open to modern thought, without losing the essence of its timeless traditions. This ‘Artisans Across Borders’ initiative will open new creative channels, making the arts and crafts relevant in the new millennium. The project will be headlined by acclaimed Indian fashion designer JJ Valaya, who will work closely with the Bahraini craftspeople.

This fourth edition of ArtBAB 6-10 March aims to reinforce Bahrain’s position in the Gulf as a regional arts hub, encouraging entrepreneurship, art education and local skills development.

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