Dubai is emerging as a top destination for art lovers. Small pockets of colorful art districts have established themselves in the ultra-modern city. A whole slew of independent artists call Dubai their home and you can see their influences in a large number of creative hubs and galleries that have emerged over the past decade.
A glimpse into Dubai’s art districts
Alserkal Avenue is Dubai’s top art district and a haven for artists and art lovers. This is the heart of Dubai’s burgeoning art scene. It’s a repurposed industrial area which started with one single gallery and now has over 40 galleries. Here you’ll find all the best studios, artisanal cafes, and vintage showrooms in Dubai. Walk around the area to find amazing and colorful street art.
The district witnesses a number of eclectic events throughout the year ranging from pop up stalls, art shows, and open-air exhibitions that welcome people from all over the world. A gallery you should not miss in Alserkal is The Third Line, one of the most well-established galleries in UAE. Check out Lawrie Shabibi, a gallery that showcases Middle Eastern and North African contemporary artists. Or if you ‘d rather learn about Indian art, you can head over to 1X1.
Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood
Experience Dubai’s rich past in Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood. The neighborhood is a heritage site that perfectly preserves life in Dubai during the 19th century. The narrow winding alleyways are flanked by traditional houses build from stone, palm wood, gypsum, and teak. A welcome relief from the metal skyscrapers that dot Dubai’s skyline.
One of Dubai’s most respected galleries, XVA is located in the charming streets of Al Fahidi neighborhood. This art hotel, the only one in Dubai, specializes in contemporary art from the Middle East. Besides XVA, the historical neighborhood also has shops selling traditional art and restaurants serving traditional fare.
Dubai Design District
Dubai Design District or d3 is often touted as one of the coolest neighborhoods in Dubai and with good reason. The atmosphere in this district is electric. The entire place is dedicated to designing and bringing like-minded people together. A large number of international events and exhibitions are held here every year including the annual Dubai Design Week. Besides being a creative hub, the area is also a hot spot for shopping and dining.
The district has a number of galleries that add to its eclectic character. One of the most famous is the Sconci Gallery, a renowned gallery from Rome. The gallery showcases a wide range of art from the 17the century till present. A few other art centers worth checking out are the Swarovski Creative Center which promotes creativity in fashion, jewelry, art, and film. And the Sinyar Gallery which is popular among art circles for promoting up and coming artists.
Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC)
The Dubai International Finance Center (DIFC) is one of the top financial and economic hubs in the Middle East. This vibrant urban area is not the first place you think of when you talk about art. But since its inception, the center has been at the forefront of art and culture with a selection of some of the best galleries in Dubai.
One of the most famous galleries in DIFC is Opera Gallery. It is one of the leading dealers in modern and contemporary American, European and Asian art and has hosted art by big names like Pablo Picasso. Another important gallery is the Cuadro Fine Art Gallery which offers a wide range of contemporary art exhibitions, educational programs, and art consultation. The only gallery dedicated to photography, The Empty Quarter, is also located here.