Dubai's growing economy boosts art and photography investments

Dubai's expanding economy is encouraging significant art investing in the emirate.

While Dubai has suffered along with the rest of the world during the financial crisis of recent years, the city state's economy managed to grow by a healthy 2.2% in 2010 - and leading economic officials in the region believe growth of four to five per cent could be achieved this annum.

"A sustained upswing in Dubai's exports and re-exports and a surge in tourist and business traffic, which is expected to touch 52 million is 2011, are key indicators that the emirate is on the right track of growth and prosperity," Hisham Abdullah Al Shirawi of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry said on Sunday, according to the Khaleej Times.

Leading auction houses have been quick to notice the region's prosperity and its growing taste for art, both local and international, which has seen more than 50 galleries spring up during the past five years.

Abdulnasser Gharem’s wood and copper installation made $842,500 at Christie’s Dubai in April 2011

In 2005 Christie's became the first auctioneer to set up permanent residence in the Middle East. Its Dubai base was its fastest-growing auction house last year, with a 153% improvement in sales.

Christie's contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish art and jewellery sale on April 19 amassed 42 world auction records, with an $842,500 wood and copper installation by Abdulnasser Gharem leading the way.

Bonhams, too, has got in on the act. Establishing a presence in 2007, the auctioneer's first dedicated photography sale took place earlier this year.

"We've seen photography sales growing strongly within our modern contemporary Middle Eastern sales," Bonhams' Middle East regional director, Guy Vesey, told Gulf News.

Elsewhere, Art Dubai, a major four-day annual art fair in the region, attracted a record attendance in March.


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