From bright and beautiful calligraphy to an art and dine concept at Coya, here are our favourite art exhibitions showing in Dubai this May….

Artist Run New York: The Seventies

March 9 to June 30

The 1970s were a turning point for contemporary art in New York, where artists spurned the traditional gallery space and instead turned to the city itself. What was born was an Artist Run culture that questioned all previous definitions of art. This exhibition showcases groundbreaking works from that era, across photography, video, painting, sculpture, drawing, writing, archival materials and live performance, from a host of accomplished artists.

Jean Paul Najar Foundation, 45 Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai, free, Sun to Thur 11am to 5pm, Sat 1pm to 5pm. Tel: (04) 2587078. Taxi: Alserkal Avenue.

House of Cards

March 13 to May 25

Tehran-based painter Afshin Pirhashemi tackles the mainstream media and its role in shaping worldviews in his latest offering. Employing metaphor, and a theatrical use of black and white, to emphasise the underlying meaning behind his work, he makes reference to the current state of American politics with cameos from the White House and Statue of Liberty, and the refugee crisis with images of violence and mass exodus.
Until May 25

Ayyam Gallery, Gate Village 3, DIFC, Dubai, free, Sun to Thur 10am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 4392395. Metro: Emirates Towers.

Abstract Calligraphy

May 10 until June 30

Finding his inspiration in Persian rugs, souks and spice bazaars, Canadian artist Hamza Abdulbasit has long had an affinity with the Middle East. This connection, along with his love for Arabic and Urdu scripts, inspired his latest work, featuring a hand-drawn letter and lively background. While they’re unlike any Persian rug you’ve probably ever seen, Abdulbasit’s eclectic use of colour is intended to represent the people and culture of the languages: bright, bold and beautiful.

Z Gallery, Five Points by Sheraton, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, free, daily 10am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 3230333. Metro: Financial Centre.

Workneh Bezu Kassa

April 10 to May 31

Sure, Coya may be known for its Latin American fare, but it’s also coming into its own as an artistic destination. This month, diners can see Ethiopian artist Workneh Bezu Kassa’s top pieces from six differently themed collections. Kassa, who grew up in Addis Ababa and was originally encouraged to become an auto mechanic, has produced everything from watercolour paintings and sculptures to rug puppets. He’s also a founder of Habesha Art Studio, an avenue for young and emerging Ethiopian artists to showcase their talent.

Coya, Four Seasons Resort, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, free, daily 12.30pm to 7pm, Tel: (04) 316 9600. Taxi: Four Seasons Resort.

Air Drive

May 10 to August 10

Ever wondered what the future will look like, and whether we’ll be driving flying cars one day? What about if this “future” had hit in the 1950s? French photographer Renaud Marion is bringing a series straight out of Futurama to Dubai, with a collection of levitating vehicles. While the series evokes a certain sci-fi vibe, the subjects aren’t futuristic at all – instead depicting wheel-less vintage classics such as Chevrolets, Porsches and Jaguars. It’s a perfect mash-up of past and future – and Marion’s own childhood idea of what flying cars should look like.

MAD Gallery, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai, free, Sat to Thur 10am to 7pm, Tel: (04) 3307366. Taxi: Alserkal Avenue.