The Economist thinks Art Dubai may be a viable outlet for frustrations and political expression in the Gulf States:
The offerings at Art Dubai suggested that political art in the Middle East may well fill the void left by the nudes and sexy bachelor-pad art that litter so many fairs elsewhere. A number of galleries showed politicised work and a few even devoted whole stands to the recent uprisings. Artspace, a Dubai gallery that represents many Egyptian artists, changed the concept of its booth at the last minute, opting for colourful representational paintings that its director described as “a testament to freedom and the spirit of revolution”. […]
There was more political art on view in these Emirati shows than you would ever see at the Basel Art Fair or Venice Biennale, some of it even quite strident. Contemporary artists around the world insist on their independence and their right to free speech. These shows marked a change of mood, but in the Middle East the loudest voices may not yet have been heard.
Foment of the Moment (Economist)