The Guides

DIFC: a sanctuary of art and culture

Discover a world of incredible contemporary art in DIFC's art galleries

Words by Fatima Rao in The Guides · Jul 24th, 2017

Promoting a diverse range of artwork and culture across the region by local and international contemporary artists, Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) hosts several art galleries in its vicinity. 

A close proximity of galleries means that art enthusiasts, residents of DIFC, and visitors can easily find them nearby and tackle them in one visit. DIFC's Gate Village offers a walking tour guide that covers six of the art galleries located within. Convenient for residents living in their rented homes nearby, galleries have open houses with refreshments are held on Tuesdays to gain insight into the local art scene, encouraging a trendy and urban atmosphere. DIFC is a growing art market that continues to gain momentum by drawing all kinds of international attention and marking Dubai as a professional, in terms of cultural endeavours. 

1. Artsawa

Promoting world-class contemporary art to a global and regional audience, Artsawa hosts innovative exhibitions, educational programs and publications that reflect current issues and practices. Located in Dubai's industrial zone, in approximately 10,000-square feet of area, they decided to pursue a smaller branch in DIFC because of the voguish and young admirers of art.  Amel and Ziad Makkawi are the power couple that own and manage the gallery, and they often lean in towards artists from Middle East, North Africa and their neighbouring countries. 

Location: Gate # 8,Gate Village - Al Sa'ada St - Dubai.

Contact: 04 386 2366

2. Artspace

Modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art and artists are exhibited by Artspace since 2003. By giving their clients and visitors tastes and an overview of trends of the urbanely mature art scene of Dubai's discerning worldwide collector base is now in their hands.  Private collectors from a global clientele, along with art consultants, social VIP's, and more, avail the gallery's distinctive and unrivaled services, as well as corporate art services. Diverse and regularly highly acclaimed exhibitions aid in consultation for art investors.

Location: Podium Level, Building 3, Gate Village, Sheikh Zayed Rd، Dubai International Financial Center - Dubai.

Contact: 04 323 0820

Picture credits: Artspace

3. Cuadro; Fine Art Gallery

Focusing on four key areas: exhibitions, education, residency and consultation, Cuadro has curated exhibitions that premier leading-edge art venues. Offering a Cuadro Education Program that is comprised of lectures, workshops and panel discussions, as well as residency options, that is, work space for artists in their studio. Cuadro is committed to dynamically engage and add value to local and international art communities. 

Location: Gate Village, DIFC, Dubai.

Contact: 04 425 0400

Picture credits: Cuadro

4. Christie's

Christie's is an international establishment that is based in Lolndon and opened up shop in DIFC, Dubai, in 2006. It is not only an art gallery, but the largest auction hall for art in Dubai, having sold over $235-million worth of art here and raised more than $20-million for Middle Eastern charities by the help of their regular charity events.  They sell modern and contemporary art in regular auctions that are either held in real time or by placing an online bid, while artists can buy or sell their artwork privately. Educational seminars about the themes of art and the luxurious international art market are offered at the gallery space. Islamic art, post-war and contemporary art, jewelry and watches are all auctioned at Christie's.

Location: Gate Village 05 Sheikh Zayed Rd - Dubai.

Contact: 04 425 5647

5. Opera Gallery

Founded in Paris, Opera Gallery is an international establishment that endorse recent and contemporaneous art in a museum-style setting. The gallery indulges worldwide private clients in the highest of quality of artworks. Due to the global demanding clients, Opera Gallery offers a high level of service by assessing quality and authenticity of the artwork, and then evaluating, exhibiting, caring for, buying and selling the art to the collectors. 

Location: Gate Village 03 Sheikh Zayed Rd - Dubai.

Contact: 04 323 0820

Picture credits: Opera Gallery

6. The Empty Quarter

Co-founded by Saudi Arabian princess, HRH Reem Al-Faisal and the Emirati, Safa Al-Hameed, The Empty Quarter is the only gallery that is exclusively devoted to fine art photography. They have a rapidly growing membership of artists and photo enthusiasts. Offering a spectacular display of young emerging artists and internationally renowned, established photographers, they indulge their visitors in the finest of photography. Studio is available to rent for opening receptions, exhibitions, installations, photo/film shoots, training, workshops, social and corporate events and pop-up shops. Fine art printing is taught in the workshops held at the gallery. 

 Location: Gate Village, Bldg 02, DIFC - Dubai.

Contact: 04 323 1210

Art Nights, Dubai

Picture credits: Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC)

Played along the 'Art Fresco' theme is the bi-annual cultural and artistic platform (held in March and November), in the heart of DIFC's Gate Village, that showcases artists from all over the world. Art nights is held in the evening, after sunset, flourishing a night of contemporary artists, established and new talent, as well as a global cuisine to be indulged in. An eve of culture and entertainment that gives artists from all over the world an opportunity to showcase their top artworks, and local galleries get to have exhibitions and special events indoors, as well as outdoors. The night takes its riders on a culinary journey with its eclectic international eateries, and Indie restaurant organizes a live band for the event that plays upbeat jazz and funk music to go along with the art viewings, and they serve their scrumptious food and delicious cocktails to ensure a good time.