Five galleries you simply cannot afford to miss this month
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 2003, a storage container was discovered in an unknown location in the Middle East. Inside were reams of political campaign material from the 1980s, featuring an unknown man. An American art collector bought the pieces, but was forbidden from displaying it publicly. Until now. The collector enlisted the help of Iraqi-Canadian artist Mahmoud Obaidi, who has reinterpreted the propaganda in prints, silkscreen, sculpture and video art. Who is this noble figure asking for our love, our respect, our vote?
Until May 1
Meem Gallery, Umm Suqeim Road, Dubai, free. Tel: (04) 3477883. Taxi: Near LuLu Supermarket. meemartgallery.com
Yes, the title of this exhibition does indeed refer to post-traumatic stress disorder, the devastating condition suffered by those who have been involved in warfare. It’s a nod by artist Shahpour Pouyan, not just to his continuing artistic investigation into ‘the enduring patriarchal structure of society in the Middle East’, but also to the use of his material of choice for this body of work – ceramics – and the role it plays in therapeutic counselling for those suffering from the condition. Less contrived than it might sound, this is in fact a quiet thoughtful meditation on some of the world’s ‘big’ subjects. Well worth a visit.
Until April 22
Lawrie Shabibi, Unit 21, Al Serkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai, free. Tel: (04) 3469906. Taxi: Al Serkal Avenue. lawrishabibi.com
Luma – Art In Film
Following on from its innovative exhibition of sound art last year, Ductac’s aptly named Gallery Of Light is host to this intriguing collection of some of the art world’s finest moving image-makers. Featuring a rolling display of films from such luminaries as Man Ray and Hans Richter, there’s also a chance to catch Iranian filmmaker Rouzbeh Rashidi’s HSP: There Is No Escape From The Terrors Of The Mind.
Ductac, Gallery Of Light, Mall Of The Emirates, Sheik Zayed Road, Dubai, free. Tel: (04) 3414777. Metro: Mall Of The Emirates. ductac.org
Susan Hefuna: Another Place
What’s On has long been a fan of the work of Egyptian-German artist Susan Hefuna. If you’re yet to be familiar with it, this impressive solo show should ensure it’s not too long before you are too. Never one to be pinned down to one medium, this exhibition boasts sculpture, photographs, drawings, video and site-specific installations – all musing on Hefuna’s familiar themes of culture, place and self, as seen through the psycho-geometry of the mashrabiya screens that she has made her own.
Until June 13
Sharjah Art Foundation, Heritage Area, Sharjah, free. Tel: (06) 5444113. Taxi: Sharjah Art Foundation. sharjahart.org
German artist Andre Butzer presents his second solo UAE show with a series of largely abstract, monochrome paintings – at first glance at least. As ever with Butzer, things are not that straightforward. What this apparent simplicity displays is in fact an abundance of colour and form so dense that this – flat surfaces of black and white – is all that’s left. To use a metaphor that alludes to the show’s outer-space theme: think ‘tiny’ black holes and the whole universes they contain. Fascinating.
Until April 30
Carbon 12, Unit D37, Street 8, Al Serkel Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai, free. Tel: (04) 3406016. Taxi: Al Serkal Avenue. carbon12dubai.com