Sunday 23 June 2024 (UAE)

Art Galleries and Exhibitions in Dubai

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Art Galleries in Dubai

The art scene in Dubai and the UAE has grown significantly since the 1990s (when there wasn't much around) with many exhibitions and works displayed from artists based in Dubai and elsewhere in the Middle East, in addition to works displayed from international artists. Popular art fairs take place in Dubai and Abu Dhabi annually. Sharjah has an art biennale, and a historical district with museums and an art history gallery, and several other museums dotted around the city. Dubai has the fascinating Bastakiya historical area, and a larger art and cultural area planned - The Dubai Opera district in Downtown Dubai. Abu Dhabi has a cultural area on Saadiyat Island with a branch of the Paris Louvre under development, and the interesting Manarat Al Saadiyat art gallery and museum (sort of).

A few shops in Dubai call themselves a gallery when they really are only a furniture or picture frame shop. Nevertheless, some of them have some interesting stuff to look at. Petals is the best furniture shop in Dubai pretending to be an art gallery (and is well worthwhile visiting), but otherwise just wander around one of Dubai's shopping centres and you'll find something. But that's hardly what most people are looking for in an art gallery.

There are two 3½ areas of Dubai with a cluster of art galleries and recommended for a visit. The galleries highlighted in green are on the "must see" list (although to be fair, it's worth visiting all the galleries in the same group as they're so close to each other). A list of galleries and further details follow the two suggested areas.

  1. Bastakiya historical area (or Bastakia) in Bur Dubai to visit the Majlis, XVA (was in DIFC area from Jan 2011 to Nov 2013), Eye Art Gallery, Ostra Art Gallery and maybe the Basta Art Cafe for a coffee - all within walking distance of each other and near the Dubai Museum. It's a pleasant walk around a historical and scenic part of Dubai amongst the Wind Towers.
  2. Al Quoz Industrial Area to visit B21 Gallery, The Courtyard (gallery, cafe and shops - and the fascinating "Petals"), The Third Line - all within walking distance of each other, and Meem Gallery a short, complicated, drive away. B21, TTL, and Meem are all similar in that they have a large single warehouse style room with periodic exhibitions. Al Quoz really is an industrial area so don't be put off when first venturing in to its cement dusted depths. It's not quite the Louvre (although Abu Dhabi is building one on Saadiyat Island) but persevere, and you'll find these refreshing artistic oases in the desert.
  3. Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) (DIFC Gate Village) - the financial hub of Dubai (sort of), with several art galleries and shops in The Gate Village. Nice quiet place for a stroll in the weekends with several coffee shops and restaurants, but most of the galleries are closed on Fridays. The well-known XVA Gallery moved to DIFC in Jan 2011 ... and moved back to Bastakiya in Nov 2013.
  4. ... or 3½ for now. Downtown Dubai and Burj Khalifa area might see a few art galleries opening up, but more commercial than Bastakia or Al Quoz. There are several art shops (sort of) in The Dubai Mall, and it's a pleasant area to walk around anyway. The Ara Gallery opened in Apr 2011 (and closed in Sep 2013) in the Burj Plaza area, which is a good spot to see the Dubai Fountains away from the crowds outside Dubai Mall. The Pavilion on Emaar Boulevard is a popular spot (or was ... it closed in Jul or Aug 2013 as part of a development of a new art and culture district in the area).

Art gallery entries in yellow text are waiting for updated information (send information to Status unknown, might have closed or relocated. Art gallery entries in grey text mean they are closed.

Dubai Metro art museum project

A new initiative announced in March 2014 means the Dubai Metro journey could become more of an art gallery or art museum tour by early 2015. The Dubai Metro Art Museum project will see several art museums installed at various stations, each with a different theme. Initially 4 stations (which ones were not mentioned), possibly expanding to more stations.

Art Galleries and Shops in Dubai, UAE
Art Galleries in Abu Dhabi
Art Galleries in Al Ain
Art Galleries in Sharjah

Art exhibitions, fairs and auctions in Dubai and UAE

Art societies, clubs, councils and groups in Dubai and UAE

Last update Sunday 27-Jul-2014
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