There was so much to see at the Hotel Show Dubai 2016, so many art and design demonstrations to take part in, interesting people to chat to about their hospitality related products and services and more. I just ran out of time to speak to all of them but here are a few exhibitors that I caught up with.

In this blog story, I have focussed on some of the art galleries, interior design companies and art consulting firms. As an artist, I love hearing what prompted them to set up shop, their inspirations and their goals for the future.

The Hotel Show Dubai 2016 was organised by DMG Events.


Art Souq

Art Souq Consulting Firm and Framers (Stand 7A270) are the brain child of Simi Salim and Carol Felix.  Abstract photographs with Arabian themes, mixed in with digital illustrations are the hallmark of most of the paintings shown at their stand this year at the Hotel Show.

Simi studied business consulting and moved on to work in a Dubai art gallery where she met Carol. While speaking to these ladies, an artist who was showcasing his work at the Hotel Show Dubai, passed by the Art Souq stand. Carol, who is well versed in the field of framing, helped him choose the right kind of frame for his art while Simi revealed the Art Souq story that began in 2011. “We were one of the first art consulting firms to open shop in the UAE and five years on, we adhere to our mission that quality should continue to inspire confidence in our clients when they choose to work with us.”

Art Souq has clients all over the Middle East. They work with graphic artists and calligraphers who enjoy incorporating Arabian themes in their art.  I particularly liked the Sheikh Zayed painting, created by one of their artists – as it reminds me of an oil painting that my mother had painted many years ago (one of two paintings I have of hers after my parents retired and repatriated to India).  Their focus is helping hotels find the right kind of art prints and photo prints, reproducing them in various finishings (such as a canvas or acrylic finish) and helping out with the choice of framing.

More on Art Souq

Carol Felix and Simi Salim of Art Souq

Carol Felix and Simi Salim of Art Souq

It's Frame Time at Art Souq

It’s Frame Time at Art Souq

Capsule Arts

Stand 7A276, home to Capsule Arts during the Hotel Show, was a cozy booth depicting some of this art consultancy’s portfolio since 2012. Some of the pieces of art and sculptural installations are stunning. I was particularly drawn to the work of Rubin Sanchez (whose work I had first encountered at the Tashkeel stand a couple years ago at the Abu Dhabi Art fair) and laser cut installations that create quirky vibes at the restaurant that they are proudly installed at. This is the third year that Capsule Arts has participated in the Hotel Show.

Rachael Brown, one of the co-founders of Capsule Arts, said: “We see ourselves as an extension of the interior design and procurement company that a hotel or restaurant has contracted to do the job. Not only we do have art consulting and interior design experience, we are also skilled in PR and branding, which means it is very important that we integrate earlier in the project so that we can get a grasp of the hotel brand. Questions like, what are they trying to achieve, what is the story that they would like to convey throughout the hotel, what is the encapsulating theme – matter a lot to the development and creation of installations that are in line with  the client’s needs.” Photos of their latest art consulting project, Rove Downtown Dubai,  which occupies the whole of a wall (see photo below), depicts the marvellous way that Capsule Arts have integrated the tagline of the hotel’s brand which is ‘Exploring Borders.’ I also discovered that Rachael and Deepa Bhatia have been nominated for this years Emirates Woman awards. Here is the page to vote for them.

More on Capsule Arts.

Rachael Brown, co-founder of Capsule Arts with the successful #Rove Downtown Project portfolio

Rachael Brown, co-founder of Capsule Arts with the successful #Rove Downtown Project portfolio


the galleRia

The concept of the galleRia (Stand 6F254 and 6F269) came about just ten days ago, according to its founder Ria Sharma. An artist herself with a background in civil engineering, Ria has acquired immense experience in the area of marketing and procurement. I first met her when we both took part in the Women Diversity exhibition early this month (read blog story here).

At the gallerRIA, you can expect to find calligraphic, figurative and abstract art under one roof. Ria felt the need to create a platform where locally based artists could show their work under one umbrella at the Hotel Show. “It is my belief that if emerging artists are given opportunities at such B2B shows, they will shine and continue to deliver their best work to the hospitality industry.  As you can see, the artists that we have showcased this year, come from different backgrounds and work with different themes and hence we are in a position to cater to a variety of client needs.” Ria also did live Arabic calligraphic work, which attracted a fair amount of attention from visitors.

Contact Ria Sharma for more information about the galleRia as well as the list of the artists who showcased their work at the galleRia stand.

I am with Ria (L) and other artist members of the galleRIA

I am with Ria (L) and other artist members of the galleRIA


Snapshots from the galleRia artist group

Snapshots from the galleRia artist group

Dubai Art Fans

I met the founder of Dubai Art Fans, Mona Al Assa’ad, at one of the experiential art events for art entrepreneurs last year (Read blog story here). Dubai is truly a city where artful bonds and eventually, friendships, are created to last for years. The Dubai Art Fans occupied a huge space where at least 15 artists showcased their work, some of them who I have known for the last ten years (Iraqi Canadian Fahimah Fattah being one of them, and of course Lilly’s Floral Decoration). For me, it was really encouraging to see many fellow artists at a B2B hospitality show, as the hospitality industry becomes more supportive of locally based artists.

Founding Dubai Art Fans came in a “space between two seconds,” as Mona puts it.  Majoring in art from a university in California, art has always been her life. “But I was one very shy artist.  Thanks to my youngest brother, who is the owner of Impact Hub, I felt encouraged to host my first solo art exhibition at the Burj Al Arab.”  That seemed to spark a new side of her that she never knew she had and that’s when she felt inspired to create a unified platform for emerging artists who wanted to raise their profile. “Dubai Art Fans provides the stepping stone to artists where we support them in areas of marketing and business while they focus on what they do best – i.e. create art all day long.”  DAF is known for organising exhibitions all around the Middle East. “DAF  caters to the need of both fine art and commercial art for clients who would like to work with us.”

More on Dubai Art Fans as well as the list of the artists who showcased their work at the Dubai Art Fans booth (Stand 6F262)

Mona (C) and two of the many DAF artists are all smiles

Mona (C) and two of the many DAF artists are all smiles


PS: Wondering whose artwork makes up the background of the main blog story title image? It was Ahsan Khan’s palette knife work (seen above with the DAF artists).

Artwork by Ahsan Khan

Artwork by Ahsan Khan. Photo courtesy Ahsan Khan. Used with permission.


The list of exhibitors are available on the Hotel Show, Dubai, website.