What’s On has details of the best art exhibitions currently in Dubai, including Sharjah, Al Serkal Avenue, in Al Quoz, DIFC and much more from the UAE.
From the swish streets of Gate Village in DIFC to the rough ‘n’ ready Al Quoz district, Dubai has plenty of art to keep you inspired. Here are the five best exhibitions to see right now, whether you’re a casual observer or the next Charles Saatchi.
In Europe, collectives such as The Museum Of Everything have turned Outsider Art into one of the ‘next big things’. In the UAE, the concept of these bright, talented artists working beyond the fashions and whims of the art world remains a relatively unknown concept – but not for long if XVA Gallery has anything to do with it. The title of this exhibition refers to the outrageous beauty such untended talent can create and features the work of three yet-to-be-discovered Iranian artists, Hazer Moshar, Salim Karami and Davood Koochaki.
Until May 22
XVA Gallery, Al Fahidi, Bur Dubai, free. Tel: (04) 3535383. Metro: Al Fahidi. xvagallery.com
WHISPERS OF LOVE
That artist Ramin Shirdel is also an award-winning architect comes as no surprise following even the briefest glimpse at this startling exhibition – each of the 10 brightly coloured works spelling out Farsi-Arabic script in bold, sculptural relief is an architectural construction in itself. It’s not just that each one is constructed from an average of 1,500 layered pieces; to fully understand the message requires time and exploration, in terms of finding the correct position to uncover each word being ‘whispered’. Fortunately, all that skill and effort comes with a joyfully light touch that is a pleasure to observe.
May 2 to June 5
Ayyam Gallery DIFC, Building 3, Gate Village, DIFC, Dubai, free. Tel: (04) 4392395. ayyamgallery.com
KAABA PICTURE AS A MISPRINT
Former Abraaj Capital prize-winner Hamra Abbas returns to Dubai with a playful and complex solo show. Working with notions of religion and deity, the exhibition challenges us to question what these mean, most significantly in the series of coloured abstracts representing that most holy of buildings, the Kaaba, but also conversely in a series of renderings of famous artists, modelled in plasticine.
Until May 27
Lawrie Shabibi, Unit 21 Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai, free. Tel: (04) 3469906. Taxi: Alserkal Avenue. lawrieshabibi.com
RASHEED AREEN – BEFORE AND AFTER MINIMALISM
This significant retrospective of the esteemed Pakistani artist takes over a significant proportion of Sharjah Art Foundation galleries and the art spaces outside to create a truly impressive show. Showcasing work from Areen’s time as a painter in Karachi all the way through to his conversion to minimalist sculpture while practising in London, there is plenty here to intrigue. Another great score for Sharjah’s museum and not one to miss.
Until June 13
Sharjah Art Foundation and Art Spaces, Arts Area, Sharjah, free. Tel: (06) 5685050. Taxi: Sharjah Art Foundation. sharjahart.org
THE EXQUISITE CORPSE SHALL DRINK THE NEW WINE
The Mona Lisa, the British royal family, unsuspecting holidaymakers – all these and more come under the playful, satirical eye of artist brothers Rokni and Ramin Haerizadeh and their friend and collaborator Hesam Rahmanian in this latest body of work. An immersive ‘experience’ more than the usual straightforward gallery show, this anarchic installation may throw up more questions than it proffers answers for, but it’s easily one of the most crowd-pleasing shows currently showing in the city.
Until May 18
Gallery IVDE, Unit 17, Street 8, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai, free. Tel: (04) 3235052. Taxi: Alserkal Avenue. ivde.net