x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

A concert in the desert, and Dubai develops a sweet tooth

An artwork from the Butterfly series by the celebrated British artist Damien Hirst's failed feature in the Abu Dhabi artparis fair after dealers were unable to prove the real butterflies included in the piece were not illegally collected.

An artwork from the Butterfly series by the celebrated British artist Damien Hirst's failed feature in the Abu Dhabi artparis fair after dealers were unable to prove the real butterflies included in the piece were not illegally collected. Adrian Mibus, director of the Whitford Fine Art gallery in London, could not obtain a licence from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in time to include one of the pieces, adorned with 21 butterflies, that was worth US$1.8million (Dh6.6m).

"I couldn't believe you need a licence to move butterflies around," said Mr Mibus. Even though the piece is a decade old, organisers had to identify the species of all the butterflies, as well as have an expert from the British Natural History Museum examine the canvas. "Two of the butterflies turned out to be endangered species, although they probably weren't 10 years ago," said Mr Mibus. "Then they wanted to know where they had come from, who had supplied them. The paperwork went on forever."

A previously unexhibited Francis Bacon painting, named by dealers as Two Figures in Movement and valued at US$10m was shipped over in its place. Musical outing for artparis The international art collectors who flew into Abu Dhabi this week for artparis as guests of Canvas and the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage were treated to an extraordinary evening at Al Ain on Tuesday. A fleet of government limousines ferried them to Sultan Fort, where after being greeted by traditional Bedouin dancers they were treated to a private personal performance by the Lebanese National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Karl Sollak.

Accustomed to being invited to top cultural events whenever they travel, what made the difference this time was the intimacy of the surroundings - the audience only just outnumbered the orchestra. The singer, Monica Yunus, the daughter of the Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, is quickly establishing herself as one of America's most promising sopranos. She performed six songs and two encores, including I Could Have Danced All Night, which had the audience on their feet in a standing ovation.

Ruthless competition Desperate times lead to desperate measures - and nowhere more so than at Dubai's crowded marinas, where yacht owners face lengthy waits to secure berths. With an explosion in the boating industry in the UAE, the only thing holding keen sailors back is the lack of moorings. Dubai Marina's owner Emaar opened its new yacht club earlier this week, complete with fancy restaurants, a members' only club and more importantly another 190 berths, which doubled the marina's capacity. But even those cannot come soon enough. An insider tells The Falcon: "One man who owns a berth here was convicted in Gibraltar after setting fire to his girlfriend. We found out about it was because we were inundated by e-mails from people asking if they could have his spot as he would no longer need it."

Carbon we can support Dubai's latest contemporary art gallery, Carbon 12, is due to open on Nov 29 with an exhibition of works by 20 artists. The show, which will run until early next year at the new space in Dubai Marina, promises to mix newly discovered talent and internationally recognised names. Highlights will include edgy portraits of the fashion world by the American painter Katherine Bernhardt, abstract drawings by the Austrian-born Thierry Feuz and a video installation by the German artist Markus Oehlen.

Satisfy your sweet tooth The cupcake phenomenon that has recently gripped the fashion capitals of the world is to descend on Dubai with the opening of Sugar Daddy's Bakery in The Village Mall, Jumeirah, at the end of this month. Cupcake lovers will have the chance to choose from more than 15 varieties of fondant fancies from Fake Blonde and Chocoholics Anonymous to Red Velvet - all of which are baked in store and iced by hand.

Sugar Daddy's Dubai owner, Dana Jallad, said: "The Sugar Daddy experience is about deliciously decadent cupcakes and superior quality desserts in a hip modern 1950s New York-style setting." * thefalcon@thenational.ae