Artist Under the Spotlight at WAD 2023

In its ninth edition, World Art Dubai, one of Middle East’s largest contemporary retail art fair, is slated to begin on March 9th, 2023. The four-day event that runs till March 12th, showcases art from all over the world. More than 300 local and international exhibitors from around 60 countries are expected to participate.

From a selection of over 4,000 artworks on display, MiddleEastMasala highlights a curated line up of artists and their artworks, that should be on every visitor’s viewing list.

Almudena Angoso Alvarez

Steps in the city by Tres Ases

Almudena Angoso Alvarez, also known as Tres Ases, works with mixed media (oil, acrylic, gesso textures and collages). Her main subject is the human being represented in many different cultures, lives and stories. Her paintings delve into paradigms, dreams, fears and thoughts as part of her soul’s life experiences. She travels extensively and is currently based in Dubai and brings this slice of her own life, captured on a canvas to WAD called Portraits of the Soul.

Christoph Kuegler

Infinite Architecture by Christoph

Christoph Kuegler, a leading German photography artist and lighting designer, exhibiting his work Infinite Architecture at the fair. The stunning series is a unique visual experience of the imagination of spaceships or megalopolis islands floating between oceans and sky on a virtual planet. In the last two decades, Christoph has lived and worked in both Munich and Guangzhou capturing contemporary large-scale centres of habitation, documenting the development of new central business districts – Zhujiang New Town (north of Pearl river) and Pazhou (south of Pearl river) in Guangzhou. His photography has extended to art, through his architectural images, presented in Infinite Architecture.

Eleonora Lubieniecki

Eleonora’s colorful pop art of celebrities

Eleonora Lubieniecki is an innovative British artist specialising in both figurative and abstract resin creations. She is well-known for her colourful and controversial pop culture Graffiti Series and also for her opulent iridescent resin sculpture Rorschach Series. In her signature vibrant portraits, Eleonora presents a broad range of works, by provoking people’s unidentified connections to icons, pop culture and capitalist greed. Her art depicts a tongue-in-cheek message about controversial public figures, luxury and excess, inviting her viewers to both critique and buy into the ideas of celebrity, money and fame.

Rahul Inamdar

Abstract art of Rahul Inamdar

Rahul Inamdar calls himself a cross over artist. Armed with an engineering degree and an MBA and a decade of corporate career in India, Inamdar gave it all up in 2007 to embrace working only on his canvas. Inspiration and reflection stuck while viewing Claude Monet’s Waterlilies at Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris. What followed were years of enquiry into several art forms and learning from art maestros. Now surrendering to intuition, he lets the moment take over as colours emerge through his painting. He was awarded the best artist in World Art 2021.

Koushal Choudhary

Seven Body by Koushal Choudhary

Koushal Choudhary is a multidimensional artist with a background in art direction and production design for Indian films, television shows, TV commercials and web series. He expresses his feelings of connection with the universe through a series of abstract sculptures and paintings titled Seven States and Seven Body, that will be exhibited at WAD this year. An extensive travel inspired learning in his life has led him to create art from a range of styles, mostly surrounded with powerful and spiritual meanings. Seven States is an expression of his personal journey through the seven stages of the body and mind, spanning from childhood to the current age. These stages, Koushal defines as – waking, unconscious, subconscious, transcendent, cosmic, God and unity. He recognises, in his day-to-day life, the seven states as an integral part of his being, influencing his actions and thoughts, and even his art.

Heidi Willberg

Heidi Willberg is inspired by Flowers

Heidi Willberg grew up in Finland surrounded by the colours and lights of the north. The juxtaposition of the dark Finnish winters and the wonders of the Northern Lights hugely influence her work. The starting point of her paintings is always the exploration of the subject of flowers — their peculiar shapes and vibrant colours that exude both power and energy, triggering in her a way to explore the traditional means of composition in a new way. Her paintings, she says, become a process of action, reaction and reflection and the respective picture is not finished until the intensity of the expression of her inner experience is strong enough. In the end, her work leaves to reflect the universal truths – love, peace, hope, joy and happiness. The colours of her homeland continue to be strong influence in her work.


The Butterfly Effect by Jasbir

Jasbir is a self-taught Indian contemporary artist, based in Dubai. His art combines physicality of action painting with fluid gesture and liquid glaze. He works mainly in oils, working through a style that uses a super imposed thin layer of oil paint with final impasto finishes, leading to an artwork in multiple layers. Jasbir says, he strives to show space and depth, by taking viewers on a journey, in and out of these layers and back to the surface, leading to a grand finale. The series on display Altered States, is a celebration of the human imagination and the limitless possibilities of our mind and the growth of space within ourselves. The highlight of this collection is the interweaving of dark and vibrant colours, abstract shapes and the usage of layering to convey depth and illusion.

Sonal Johar

Rasleela by Sonal Johar

Sonal Johar is a Dubai-based Indian artist deeply entrenched in promoting Indian traditional art forms such as Pichwai, Madhubani, Lippan, Warli and Gond. Through her art, she endeavours to merge the beauty of these traditional arts of India, with a contemporary take. Her work is largely focused on displaying motifs and patterns which have their own symbolic meaning in the rich and diverse cultural heritage of India. With her brushes and pens, she attempts to give a new lease of life to these motifs by infusing them with intricate designs and patterns. Her work is a reflection of her inner core grounded in her roots, but ready to adapt to a changing environment.

Nour ben Zakour

Carefully Dreaming by Nour ben Zakour

Nour ben Zakour is a Tunisian architect and artist. She is the co-founder of Muse Concept Design. Her tryst with art begin at a very young age, as she found it the best way to express herself. After having dabbled in several artistic mediums, including pop art, she has now taken a cue from Covid 19 and launched herself in a utopian and a very colourful universe, populated by round shapes inspired by the virus. Her imaginary world with a positive connotation includes the representation of the elephant, an animal whose symbolism is strongly associated with longevity, gentleness, wisdom and sensitivity.

Witness Global Creativity at Art Dubai 2023

Art Dubai Digital (supplied pic)

Over 130 contemporary and modern galleries from around 40 countries and six continents are presenting a range of artworks at Art Dubai, 2023. Taking place from March 1st to 5th at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, the fair in its 16th edition, is a premier platform to see and buy art from the global south. Spread across four main gallery sections – Contemporary, Modern, Bawwaba and Art Dubai Digital, the fair is the largest and in its most ambitious avatar, this year.

Art Dubai Contemporary features art with particular focus on artists from the global south and includes 14 first time exhibitors and 24 Dubai-based galleries. Art Dubai Modern curated by Paris-based critic and curator Mouna Mekouar and Italian art historian Lorenzo Giusti (director, GAMeC, Bergamo) features solo presentations by the region’s modern masters. Art Dubai Digital returns this year after a successful run at the fair last year. The section merges traditional art with new age technology and is curated by Singapore-based educator and arts writer Clara Che Wei Peh. Bawwaba meaning gateway in Arabic, features artworks made specifically for Art Dubai. There are solo presentations from 11 artists and it is curated by Bangkok-based Vipash Purichanont.

Along with the exhibits, there are going to be modern and collection talks, the global art forum, Christie’s Art+Tech summit, Chaupal (public space) for daily performances and food-based experiences and A.R.M Holding’s children’s programmes.

Here is a glimpse of some of the unique exhibits through the lens of MiddleEastMasala

Refik Anadol’s Glacier Dreams

Refik Anadol’s Glacier Dreams presented in partnership with Swiss wealth management group Julius Baer capturing the beauty and fragility of world’s glaciers in a series of multisensory artworks. Anadol is a pioneer in the use of aesthetics of data and machine intelligence.

Adeela Suleman’s A Princely Redemption

Pakistani artist Adeela Suleman, represented by Canvas Gallery exhibits tapestry, sculptures and ceramics. Notable among them are A Princely Redemption, a stunning hand painted ceramic plate with enamel paint and an applique artwork showcasing vibrant quilts with motifs native to her region.

Marble Thoub by Naqsh Collective

A marble thoub by Naqsh Collective decorated with brass adornments pays tribute to the Palestinian cross stitch embroidery. The collective is run by Nisreen Abudail, an architect based in a Jordan and her sister Nermeen Abudail, a graphic designer based in Dubai.

Gunjan Kumar’s Sifr

Sifr or zero by Indian artist Gunjan Kumar shows the theme of infinite possibilities through the medium of handmade turmeric cones. The Indian artist made numerous handmade cones, by rotating matter like a whirling dervish.

Zico Albaiquni’s Exoticism

Indonesian artist Zico Albaiquni’s neon coloured work follows some of the recurring themes in his works showing the colonial legacy of Indonesia, the tension between traditional culture and modernity and the social and environmental issues of contemporary Indonesia.

Varunika Saraf’s Land That Bleeds

Indian artist Varunika Saraf’s Land That Bleeds Watercolour on Lotka paper pasted on cotton textile, tackles rise in violence in contemporary world through the medium of wasli, a Mughal technique of binding together layers of paper.

Kenyan Artist Dickens Otieno’s Waves

Kenyan artist Dickens Otieno, Circle Art Agency, highlights the beauty of objects made from discarded things. The artist used tin cans found in informal settlement areas of Nairobi, by shredding the aluminium cans and weaving them into tapestries and sculptures.

Light by artist Anthony James at Opera Gallery, Dubai

British American Artist Anthony James at Light Exhibition

Inspired by the Arabic word Noor that means light, British American artist Anthony James brings a collection of his illuminated geometrical installations to Opera Gallery, Dubai. The exhibition that opens on February 23rd, 2023 showcases large scale installations and sculptures displaying the artist’s ability to turn ancient geometric forms into futuristic totems.

Titled Light, the exhibition offers art connoisseurs a journey through the artist’s imaginative world, rooted in exploring the intermingling of light and space. One of the only living artists with sculptures on display in all seven continents, including Antarctica, James’ signature sculptures are a maze of mirrors and reflections that create a mystical effect for viewers.


Some of his stunning pieces on display include Dodecahedron, Bullet Panel, Rain and Pyramid. Born in 1974 in England, James studied at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London and is now based in Los Angeles. His work veers towards minimalism, materiality, alchemy with great emphasis on light and space.

Bullet Panel

Alguero’s Fragments of Colour at Oblong Gallery, Dubai

Queen of the Desert by Manu Alguero

Spanish artist, Manu Alguero, blends in bursts of colours in rapid brush strokes on his canvases creating visually stunning art. Fragments of Colour, a solo exhibition of ten of his large-scale artworks are on display at Oblong Contemporary Art Gallery, Bluewaters Island, Dubai, until February 25th, 2023.

Artist Manu Alguero

Following the abstract expressionist art movement, all paintings of the artist, showcase figures and faces through vibrant strokes and gestures, characteristic of Alguero’s style of work that bring alive the extraordinary pictorial technique that show and hide at the same time. Interestingly, the artist attributes the explosion of colours on his canvas to his family roots in the demolition business. Fascinated by the act of bricks crumbling when a building was demolished, he says, he uses the same cues while painting, unfolding the beauty of change through his paint brush. Firecrackers lighting up the sky and the Big Bang Theory that explain the creation of the universe from one big explosion have also inspired the artist to pour out his emotions into his art channelling new perspectives.

Twin Flame by Manu Alguero

Studio Visit: Ecuadorian artist Ana Liz Cordero in Al Fahidi

Ana Liz in her studio in Al Fahidi

Walking through the narrow alleys of the Al Fahidi historical district I reached the mud-walled exterior of house number 40, the newly opened studio of Ecuadorian artist, Ana Liz Cordero. The sun-lit open courtyard of the home, once the abode of pearl merchants of Bastakia, houses a set of wooden chairs upholstered with traditional Emirati majlis seating. On display, on brown textured walls of two rooms inside, are a series of Ana’s artworks.

Giving me a tour of her studio, Ana talks about her association with the Inca community in her country, their obeisance to nature, coupled with her own interpretation of living amidst the deserts and beaches of UAE, is a major source of inspiration for her artworks.  Paying homage to the Inca Sun God in blazing yellow tones, her canvas meshes in dried leaves, petals and palm fronds found in the UAE. Her three-dimensional forms speak for themselves, giving a sculptural approach to her pieces. “My art has Inca antecedents, giving value to their care for nature. That’s my identity as an Ecuadorian, to remember to take care of the ecosystem and biodiversity. Living in the UAE, I have closely interacted with my surroundings and have been collecting flowers, sand, soil and leaves. As rugged landscapes, mountains and plants — all have different shapes, so does my art. To me movement is life,” she describes.

Arise by Ana Liz

Growing up in the province of Azuay and Cañar, she used to visit the countryside with her father and watch how the Inca communities used to collect everything that Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) gave them. She saw how these indigenous people lived their lives based on everything natural. As a young artist, she was influenced by these childhood memories and it eventually spilled over into her art. “Nature speaks to us with its details, shapes and colours. It’s a source of connection with God and to the true essence of human beings,” she says.


Covid also turned out to be a great time for transformation and creativity in Ana’s life. When she found herself locked up in a hotel room in Madrid, during the early days of the pandemic, it churned in her the urge to value the freedom that human beings take for granted. Her current exhibition of abstract works in her art studio are also a result of this learning. She calls this series ‘Everything Changes’. “Created between 2020 and 2021, through this series I wanted to leave a message of valuing our creation, of valuing what God has given us.”

Yamam Nabeel’s Fragments from Strange Lands at Fann A Porter Gallery, Dubai

Yamam Nabeel, Searching – Abu Dhabi, December 2019

Evoking a unique sense of identity within the fluid city life, a collection of photographs shot from across streets of the world, are on display at the Fann a Porter gallery, at The Workshop, Dubai, till December 3rd 2022. London-based Iraqi photographer and writer, Yaman Nabeel’s solo exhibition — Fragments from Strange Lands — uses photography as human memory to tell stories and archive what is often overlooked.

Shot on film and unedited, the photographs capture indelible slices of reality. Born in Baghdad in 1976, Yamam has experienced migration first-hand, having lived in seven countries before he turned 18. From Baghdad, his family went into exile in 1980 and spent 18 months living in France, East Germany, Syria, Lebanon and Czechoslovakia before settling down in Hungary in 1981 and later moving to the UK in 1992.

Find Meaning – Alexandria, Egypt. January 2020

Yamam began writing short stories in Hungarian at the age of 16 and went to work in MBC (Middle East Broadcasting Centre) and later with CNN, Channel 4, Sky Sports and Sky News. In 2003, he set up FC Unity an award-winning non-governmental organization that combats violence, extremism and racism through sports and education. Since 2017, he has been focusing on photography and writing, to tell stories of the unsung heroes of the world.

Lockdown – Berlin, Germany. October 2020

“Like shards of broken mirrors collected over time and from faraway places these images from lands I am a stranger in, reflect my fragmented self,” says Yamam.

“At four, it was my first-time leaving Bagdad, the home that I no longer recognise, but the eternal home keeping my story safely until I return. Then to Paris, the first city that welcomed me; to Budapest, the city that keeps my memories and finally to London the metropolis, the city that welcomes everyone and keep them apart, the place I know the most but the place that knows me the least.

Like a daydream that seems real enough to believe, I have gathered these pieces of strangers in order to make sense of the world. Standing close, but not so close as to be part of them, I walked in the cities, I breathed them in, deep into my soul, so that I might be able to understand them without wanting to belong.

I keep travelling, feeding my hunger to be on the periphery. At the same time, I have yearned to mend these shards into whole story that somebody might recognise.

These photos each tell a story without words, evoking emotion without having to shout, imagining a world I can finally home,” Yamam Nabeel.

Robbie Williams and Ed Godrich to unveil art at Sotheby’s Dubai

Robbie Williams and Ed Godrich with their abstract art

Celebrated British musician, Robbie Williams, partnered with Ed Godrich, the co-founder of interior architecture studio, Godrich Interiors, to create a series of monochrome paintings. They are slated to be unveiled on November 30, 2022, at Sotheby’s, Dubai, under the title Black and White Paintings II.

A partnership built on, in their own words, “friendship, communication, respect and trust”, Robbie and Ed, say they immediately bonded over a love of abstract art, as well as music, which encouraged them to create together as an artist duo. In five years, they have created works with an aesthetic deeply rooted in a nostalgia for the 1990s music scene: vibrant, euphoric and pulsating with life.

In May 2022, the artist duo exhibited their paintings publicly for the very first time, in an exhibition at Sotheby’s London. They are now bringing their art to Dubai at the Sotheby’s exhibition in DIFC, that runs till Dec 16, 2022.

“Dubai has a special place in my heart, and it feels particularly fitting that after ringing in the New Years in the city, I will be closing the year by unveiling my art here. This show is the next step in sharing mine and Ed’s creative vision with the world, and I hope that the feelings of curiosity and positivity that fuelled our art will resonate with everyone who comes to the exhibition,” said Robbie Williams.

Titled Steve, this series adorns male names

Now, Sotheby’s Dubai will host the next step in their artistic journey, with a new body of work that builds on the themes explored in the first iteration.

As a follow up to theme of female names that adorned their previous exhibition, all fifteen paintings in the current showcase are titled after popular men’s names from the 1980s. Together, they feel that these are “the names that define the eighties, an influential era, which has inspired our art”, many representing people that they knew. “When we first unveiled our artworks to the world in May, we were blown away by the positive response – it was a voyage of discovery both for us as artists, as well as the viewers. We are excited to now be taking this next step, by bringing a fresh body of work that progresses on the theme of our last show to a new audience entirely,” said Ed Godrich

WE Art Series Celebrates UAE and Germany Relations

Petra Kaltenbach and Sybille Pfaff, German Consul General in the UAE pose with one of the artworks

The Consulate General of Federal Republic of Germany in Dubai has announced the launch of a new cultural art project commemorating 50 years of diplomatic relations between the UAE and Germany. The art series titled WE has been created in partnership with award-winning German artist Petra Kaltenbach, who is also a UAE resident. 

Eleven artworks combining both physical and video formats will be showcased in an invitation only event at Hotel Beach Rotana, Abu Dhabi on November 10th, 2022.

The highlight of this art project will be a large-scale metal grid installation which would include wishes from the public to both the countries, tied together to create a collaborative art experience. These artworks are also slated to travel to all the seven emirates.


“It is a great honour to have created this art series celebrating the golden jubilee of the strong relationship between my home country and the country of my residence,” says Petra, who is also the co-curator of World Art Dubai, one of the largest art events in the UAE. “The artworks are all based on the idea of transformation, mirroring the theme of experiencing developments together leading to a shared transformation in both nations.”

Besides the collaborative public art installation — We Wish — the other abstract works titled Exchange, The Unity of US, Everything Flows, Re-inventing and Milestones — all represent the solid partnership between the two countries.

“The aim of this art project is to reach out to people in all the seven emirates of the UAE, to further build bridges between the two countries by creating a continuous network of relations,” says Sybille Pfaff, German Consul General in Dubai.


Five of the physical artworks, also come with a related video, scanned and created from the original art image. After the Abu Dhabi event the exhibition will travel to Dubai to be displayed at The Ritz Carlton, JBR on November 17. Thereafter it opens to the public at Al Qasimi Foundation in Ras Al Khaimah from December 5th to 12th, 2022.

Down Memory Lane with Artist Rukni

Ahmad Al Awadhi, Rukni

Among the art community in the UAE, Rukni is a familiar name. Often spotted at exhibitions and events, the 63-year-old Emirati artist, who officially goes by the name Ahmad Al Awadhi is a connoisseur, patron and a practitioner of art. A businessman by day, Rukni’s evenings are spent inaugurating art events and supporting budding artists.

As an artist, he is equally adept at landscapes and portraits, even as his current stream of work veers towards pop art. Apart from several exhibitions that he has showcased his work at, he is now collaborating with First Wish Art Gallery for a roving international art exhibition, that will travel to 12 countries. In this conversation with Middle East Masala, he looks back at the artistic inspirations that culminated into his oeuvre.

Domes and Minarets from Rukni’s art portfolio

The Beginning

I always had an interest in art. At the age of eight, I was sketching palm trees and making portraits, but I never thought of pursuing art as a career. My father used to run a novelty store of gift items in Sharjah and by the time I was 16, I was actively part of the family business. Only around two decades ago, when I was around 40, a friend happened to visit my home and see my artwork. Her encouragement and appreciation led me to display them. That’s how, I first publicly made a foray into the art world with an exhibition in Al Mamzar.

Art Style

When I started painting, initially I would sketch what I saw around me — the traditional architecture of our bayts, the arches and doors, coffee pots, lanterns, mosques and desert scenes. But now I am more into portraits of legends that I paint in a pop art style. From Frida Kahlo to Sophia Loren, Al Pacino, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Gandhi and Sheikh Zayed, I have etched them all. I closely watch their movies, flip through magazines and TV shows to get my portraits right. I usually paint very late in the night, while listening to classical music. I can get deeply engrossed and sometimes spend the whole night painting.

Frida Kahlo by Rukni


Art is everything to me. I am entirely self-taught. When I started painting in my childhood, it was not appreciated. Now of course, the scenario has changed, things are different. I receive a lot of love and respect from everyone. It’s important for me to preserve and present shades of my country and culture, which are intrinsic to me as an Emirati. Through my work, I hope that people will see the beauty of my nation.

The portraits that I make are an extension of my admiration for these iconic personalities. One of my most cherished art portraits is that of Pope Francis and the Grand Iman of Al Azhar, Ahmed el Tayeb, when they met in Abu Dhabi as part of UAE’s Year of Tolerance, 2019. That painting now adorns the walls of the office of Ministry of Tolerance.

Marilyn Monroe by Rukni

UAE’s Art Scene

In the UAE, we are fortunate to have the presence of several cultures intermingling. Artists from various parts of the world are based here. We can see elements of their culture in their artwork. I am inspired by the people I meet and their work. Young people have a lot more freedom to purse what they want these days. They also have the encouragement of the UAE government. My own daughter has followed in my footsteps and is working with Louvre Abu Dhabi.

To Upcoming Artists

It important to try various styles of art and figure out what one is excellent at. It should then become your forte, your specialisation, so that you can have your own signature style.

Christie’s Middle Eastern Contemporary Art Exhibition at DIFC, Dubai

Iraqi artist Hayv Kahraman, The Interpreter

Iconic artworks and installations from the Arab and African world are on display at Christie’s, DIFC, Dubai. The public exhibition is open till September 24th, 2022 and is curated by Ridha Moumni, deputy chairman, Christie’s Middle East and North Africa and Meagan Kelly Horsman, Managing Director, Christies Middle East. This diverse collection of artworks is part of Christie’s forthcoming modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art auction to be held online in October and live in November.

Showcased among them are masterpieces by Lawrence Stephen Lowry, Mohammed Melehi, Monir Farmanfarmaian and Etel Adnan along with emerging and established artists from the region such as Ali Cherri, Dana Awartani, Ahmed Mater, and YZ Kami.

“We are bringing some stellar sale highlights to the region. The opportunity to appreciate these works in person and discuss collecting trends with our specialists are among the benefits of Christie’s presence in the market,” said Ridha Moumni, Deputy Chairman, Christie’s Middle East & North Africa.

Nigerian photographer Samuel Fosso’s The Chief: The one who sold Africa to the colonists

As part of the exhibition visitors and collectors get to view Iraqi American artist Hayv Kahraman’s The Interpreter, 2016, oil on wood, Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian’s reverse glass mosaic Mirror Ball from the 1970s, a lightbox from Saudi Arabia’s Ahmed Mater entitled Evolution of Man (2010), Palestinian artist Hazem Harb’s Hollyland (2019) which layers acrylic lettering spelling out ‘Hollyland’ in Hollywood’s ubiquitous squared lettering over an archival photograph of Jerusalem as well as British art patron and philanthropist Robert Devereux’s Sina Jina Collection. Robert Devereux has supported the arts and artists since the 1980s and began acquiring works for his Sina Jina Collection in the early 2000s. Taking its name from Swahili, ‘sina jina’ means a place with no name, a phrase associated with Devereux’s house on the island of Lamu, Kenya.  Among the African works being shown are Ibrahim El-Salahi’s The Tree, an abstract geometric composition, part of a series referencing the native Haraz tree and Nigerian photographer Samuel Fosso’s The Chief: The One Who Sold Africa To The Colonists

LS Lowry’s Going to the March 1928

Late British artist LS Lowry’s celebrated work Going To The March, 1928, also gets a special display wall. Estimated to be worth $ 5.7 m to $9.25 m, it captures the scene of a rugby match and depicts minute diversities of a crowd.