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Testing Waters

ABDULLAH QANDEEL, THE RACE, 2014. Oil on Belgian linen, 200 x 200 cm. Courtesy Sotheby’s Qatar.

Amid relentless political tensions, social conflict and falling oil prices in the Middle East, the region's art market remains resilient. Buoyed by an expanding arts infrastructure–mega-museums, rising numbers of galleries, long-standing art fairs and local patronage—the scene, though still an emerging one, attracts buyers to sales by international auction houses. Christie's and Sotheby's have conducted annual sales of modern and contemporary art since 2006 in Dubai and 2009 in Doha, respectively.

However, they may be…

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