The Vogue Guide to Dubai’s Art and Culture Scene – Gallery
Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood (Bastakiya) Located in the Bur Dubai area and near the Dubai Creek, the atmospheric Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood (also known as Bastakiya) is one of the oldest heritage sites in Dubai. Here, buildings with high wind towers, built with traditional building materials such as stone, gypsum, teak, sandal wood, fronds, and palm wood are aligned side by side, separated by winding alleys, pathways, and public courtyards. Al Fahidi currently hosts various art exhibits and a number of seasonal cultural and artistic events such as Sikka Art Fair and an Artists-in-Residence program. The neighborhood is also home to the striking XVA Art Hotel and Café — a place not to miss. Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, Bur Dubai Tel: +971 4 515 5000 www.dubaiculture.gov.ae/en/Live-Our-Heritage/Pages/Al-Fahidi-Historical-Neighbourhood.aspx
Art Galleries at Alserkal Avenue Situated in the Al Quoz industrial area, Alserkal Avenue is Dubai's foremost arts and culture neighborhood. Established to support the region’s burgeoning contemporary art scene and foster a sense of community, Alserkal is a cluster of warehouses that is home to a vibrant community of galleries, concept spaces, and even a chocolate factory. Throughout the year, Alserkal plays host to a series of community events, including workshops, artist talks, conferences, film screenings, performances, and other commissioned projects. Notable galleries to explore include The Third Line, Ayyam Gallery, and the Green Art Gallery, among others. Also nearby (across the street) is The Mine, a 6,000 square foot contemporary art gallery. Alserkal Avenue Street 8, Al Quoz 1 Tel: +971 50 556 9797 www.alserkalavenue.ae
Art Galleries at DIFC The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is also home to a number of high-profile art galleries (not to mention striking architecture and several of the city’s most perennially popular restaurants). Noteworthy mentions include Ayyam Gallery (also located in Alserkal Avenue), Opera Gallery, The Empty Quarter, and Art Space, which collectively showcase a wide spectrum of art from the region and international artists. Twice a year, DIFC also hosts a free-to-the-public event called Art Nights, which features exhibitions, live art installations, special happenings from many of the galleries, and soulful music performances. Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) www.difc.ae/event/difc-art-nights
Dubai Opera On August 31st of this year, the legendary Placido Domingo inaugurated the Dubai Opera to a full house (the nearly 2,000 tickets sold out within three hours of going on sale). Located in Downtown Dubai and adjacent to the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Opera’s striking structure is inspired by the Arabian dhow, a tribute to Dubai’s ancient maritime heritage. The Dubai Opera is designed to transform effortlessly from a concert hall into a theater or into a “flat floor” to host a banquet or gala event. For its first season, Dubai Opera is hosting Les Misérables, The Nutcracker on Ice, and West Side Story. The holiday season will see Slava's Snowshow, starring Slava, “the best clown in the world,” climaxing with a blizzard. Dubai Opera Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, near Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai Tel: +971 4 440 8888 www.dubaiopera.com
Dubai Walls Inaugurated in March 2016, Dubai Walls is an initiative to promote street art in the Middle East. Initially, sixteen internationally renowned graffiti artists from five continents were invited (including D*Face, Icy and Sot, and VHIS) to create large-scale original works at the City Walk mall, a fitting outdoor exhibition gallery for the artworks. Dubai Walls City Walk, Al Wasl and Al Safa Road junction, Jumeirah www.dubaiwalls.com
The Scene Club Dubai is currently embracing art in all its forms, including film. In 2007, award-winning Emirati director Nayla Al Khaja founded the Scene Club, a not-for-profit, members-only film club that showcases the best of Indie cinema. It provides a networking platform for independent film producers, film enthusiasts, and industrialists alike, rolling out the red carpet to host 24 unique private screenings each year. Membership fees range from AED 260 – 1,275 (US $70 – 347). www.thesceneclub.com
Dubai Creek Dhow Boat Tours Few experiences in Dubai are more authentically atmospheric than cruising the Dubai Creek between Deira and Bur Dubai in the city's historic center. Select your transport of choice portside — from a traditional luxury dhow with a restaurant to a small wooden abra (water taxi) — and enjoy the view of the Gold Souk, the Heritage Village, palaces, mosques, and many other Dubai landmarks from the vantage point of the Dubai Creek waterway.
Desert Safari One of the most common tourist experiences in Dubai is a desert safari. While these can often be tourist traps, Platinum Heritage’s tours stand out both for their uniqueness and the quality of their services. The safari tours take place in vintage, 1950s-era Land Rovers (or luxury Range Rovers for the “platinum” tours) and feature an array of bespoke experiences including meeting with local Bedouins, learning the ancient art of falconry, stargazing with a professional astronomer, and discovering the native desert wildlife. The platinum tours include a private chef, who serves up a 6-course dinner. A variety of other experiences are also available, including overnight stays and sunrise hot air balloon tours. Platinum Heritage Luxury Tours & Safari Tel: +971 4 388 4044 www.platinum-heritage.com
Hatta Located about 130 Kms southeast of central Dubai is the mountain town of Hatta, a popular weekend getaway for tourists and locals alike. Situated in the Hajar Mountains and particularly well-suited for mountain biking, hiking, or climbing, Hatta is known for its ancient Hatta Fort, built in 1896 (and restored in 1995) and one of the most significant architectural monuments in the UAE. In the heart of the town is Hatta Heritage Village, which has been preserved and reconstructed to showcase rural life from centuries ago. Also of note is the Hatta Dam, built in the late 1990s and now one of the area’s main attractions.
Dubai International Film Festival Now in its 13th year, the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) is one of the most glitzy events in Dubai. It celebrates Arabic and international cinema with a series of exclusive screenings and popular parties. www.dubaifilmfest.com
Art Dubai and Design Days Dubai Art Dubai Art Dubai is the leading international art fair in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. Art Dubai presents a curated selection from approximately 90 galleries from the UAE and worldwide, across three programs — Contemporary, Modern, and Marker — with a specific theme every year. The eleventh edition of the fair will take place from March 15-18, 2017. www.artdubai.ae Design Days Dubai Design Days Dubai is the Middle East and South Asia's leading salon showcasing limited edition furniture and design. Leading international designers and rising talents from across the world are exhibited. Design Days Dubai also presents design workshops, installations, and live performances. The next edition will take place from March 14-17, 2017. www.designdaysdubai.ae
Inked Located in Alserkal Avenue, the newly launched Inked is a new creative culinary platform which encourages visitors to “play” with their food. Founded by Patrick and Kenza Jarjour and housed in a custom-fitted warehouse with fully-equipped kitchens, Inked hosts conceptual dinners, guest-chef pop-ups, inventive cooking workshops and tastings, talks, and various events and activations. Inked Warehouse 57, Alserkal Avenue, Street 8, Al Quoz 1 Tel: +971 50 845 1359 www.inked.ae
Frying Pan Adventures Sisters Arva and Farida Ahmed grew up in Dubai. After they began to feel that authentic local food was being obscured by the international cuisines of Dubai, they founded Frying Pan Adventures, obsessively unearthing small, unassuming, and local food establishments in Dubai for the real taste of old Dubai with their “walk, explore, and taste” journeys — by foot or by bicycle. Ideal for an unexpected culinary experience in Dubai. Frying Pan Adventures Tel: +971 56 471 8244 www.fryingpanadventures.com
The Laughter Factory The Laughter Factory is the Middle East’s longest-running stand-up comedy night since it began in 1997. In partnership with the UK’s Comedy Store, The Laughter Factory hosts three professional comedians every month, many of whom are already TV stars in the UK. Some of the A-list comedians to have starred here include Michael McIntyre, Russell Peters, and Dara O’Brian. The Laughter Factory has won a number of awards over the last two decades. The Laughter Factory Tel: +971 50 878 6728 www.thelaughterfactory.com
Freshly Ground Sounds Since being founded in 2013, Freshly Ground Sounds has carved a niche in the UAE’s music scene by bringing independent musicians, music-lovers, and community venues together. Over the past three years, Freshly Ground Sounds has hosted more than 20 gigs, won 3 national awards, recorded and released an independent EP, and discovered more than 380 artists. www.facebook.com/FreshlyGroundSounds