Dubai is currently undergoing a solid art and culture revolution over the past few years. Every year, the arts activities have become greater than the next. Here are our top three picks in looking for something alternative to get the most out of the art trail:
Al Serkal Avenue, Al Quoz
Al Serkal Avenue is a venue for quirkers. An unconventional setting in the industrial area of Al Quoz, Al Serkal Avenue was the prime project of its owner Abdelmonem bin Eisa Al serkal. Alserkal was once an extremely discreet industrial area, but since 2007 has done a complete 180 degree turn with its art galleries, keeping the warehouse aesthetics in mind. This year, over 11 new art galleries are going to be added as this space establishes itself as one of Dubai’s most creative spaces. The plan is to grow to a whopping 94 galleries. Art is just not what you get at Al Serkal. It’s now the birthplace of plenty of bands and artisan coffee shops. It’s a space to do things differently and often one that people look to for inspiration. Now in Dubai, the arts are now becoming a radiant part of its lifestyle.
Gate Village, DIFC
Many would think a financial centre run by high powered executives is not exactly a place for an art gallery. The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is host to some of the bigger names in business, but yet manages to maintain its professional charm by adding some really classy art galleries. Previously, Art Nights at DIFC during Art Week used to the be the most sought after events in the Dubai calendar, but this year over 14 galleries have decided to make DIFC their home, most notable being Art Sawa, ARTSPACE, and Opera Gallery.
Bastakiya, Al Fahidi District
Located in Old Dubai, this area remains a favourite with both residents and tourists alike. Bastakiya burgeons the Dubai of yore; yet holds with it an innate brilliance. The name itself gathers much curiosity as its named after the province of Bastak in Iran and the merchants that emigrated here before in the early 20th century. But even though this area has plenty to admire and look at in terms of history, nothing can be asmind-altering as visiting it during Art Week. The Sikka exhibition is held here on an annual basis, but the focus is one on contemporary art. The pure juxtaposition of this makes you realise how far this country has come in leaps and bounds since its inception in 1978. It’s one of the few art exhibitions which focuses on local talents. Each piece is actually made by Emirati and local artists. Considering how diverse the UAE is, it is a visual masterpiece in itself. The exhibition truly expresses the melting pot that is Dubai in every nook and corner. The exhibition has come far and wide in representing its art since its inception in 2011. Recently, it has started to include several master classes, outdoor film screenings, workshops, live concerts, cultural events and more.
If you want to experience the full brunt of Art Week in Dubai, the ArtintheCity’s ArtBus returns from 17 - 19 March 2016, in collaboration with the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated authority for culture, arts, and heritage, and under the portfolio of Dubai Art Season 2016.
This is, hands down the easiest way to experience Art Dubai in a fun way with fellow enthusiasts. The art bus is now in its tenth year and has become hugely successful over the years, with several particpants. It offers passengers a diverse view of Dubai’s arts and culture scene, with three routes each taking in a distinct arts area in Dubai, specifically the ones mentioned in this article. The ArtBus commission initiative offers locally based artists the chance to work with a unique exhibition format, whilst also enabling them to reach a wide audience across Dubai. The bus will depart from the first roundabout at Souk Madinat Jumeirah at 10am and return at approximately 5-6pm where passengers will have the opportunity to visit Art Dubai. Make sure you plan your day well as Art Dubai closes to the public at 6:30pm on Saturday, 19th March 2016.
Images courtesy: Art Dubai, Dubai Culture Authority