Sultan Saoud Al Qassemi gives a guided tour Art Dubai.

LONDON - On a cold, snowy London morning, Antonia Carver brought sunshine into Maya Rasamny’s beautiful, art-adorned living room by speaking about plans for this year’s ArtDubai. The vision of exciting artworks brought by a larger-than-ever group of galleries during a week in which an action-packed Collector’s Circle Programme, Global art Forum, galleries nights, parties and much, much more, lifted our spirits and set the pulse racing! This year the Sharjah Biennale will also be on view and the combination of both events will have all visitors engaged and active the entire time. The fun begins in Doha where the VIP programme starts on March 17 with curator-led tours of museums and exhibitions, a peek at the new Katara Cultural Village, the Mathaf/Arab Museum of Modern Art and the IM Pei Museum of Islamic Art.

Richard Allenby-Pratt, from Art Dubai Series, 2011
. Courtesy of the Salsali Private Museum.

March 19th sees the opening of ArtDubai itself, where this year a section of curated booths focus on the art of West Africa. There will be the unveiling of the fifth annual Abraaj Art Prize, followed by more exciting art panels featuring well-known speakers and artists. HRH Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, wife of HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan (Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE), who is Patron of the Ladies Day, is also a staunch supporter of the art fair. The Barjeel Foundation and Maraya Art Centre, as well as private collection views offer further interesting opportunities to see the art that is developing in the region.

Maya, the ultimate hostess, had of course brought together a group of well-known collectors for this get-together in honour of Antonia: Maria Sukkar, Maryam Eisler, Lady Alison Myners, a number of Patrons of the British Museum, the wonderful Venetia Porter (who declared news of a version of her Hajj exhibition travelling to Doha in the near future!), Magic of Persia’s indefatigable Shirley Elganayan, Delfina’s Aaron Cezar, Alia El Senussi and many other key personalities who support the region. Only for Maya and ArtDubai would we all brave the snow in time for breakfast, which by the way, never tasted so good.