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Take 5

Art Galleries in Dubai

The United Arab Emirates’ transformation from desert into art oasis has been long in coming. Since the launch eight years ago of Art Dubai, a week-long annual festival, new galleries have been opening throughout the country, especially in Dubai, where the international spirit is strongest. Check out these favorites within the City of Gold.


Located in the Dubai International Financial Centre — a key business hub and home to the NASDAQ Dubai stock exchange — this posh gallery benefits from a large pool of big spenders passing through. Happily, they invest a lot on canvases and calligraphy by contemporary Middle Eastern artists like Devrim Erbil and Mouneer Al Shaarani.


Arising from the owner’s zeal to provide a platform for free expression, the gallery offers restricted regional artists an international stage to call home. Many of the exhibitions hosted here present a provocative yet subtle edge in style and subject matter, often lightly brushing sensitive topics like politics and religion.


Guillaume Cuiry opened this 20th-century art-furniture dealership in the burgeoning Al Quoz arts district in 2011. Part of his mission is to bridge the different perspectives of art and beauty in Western and Middle Eastern cultures. He does so with his impressive collection of work by designers such as Le Corbusier and Jean Royère, as well as an extensive library to help customers learn about the surrounding objects.


Perhaps more than any other gallery, Majlis has ambience. Located inside a century-old wind tower house, which catches and recirculates cooler desert breezes, the gallery gives a taste of Dubai’s early history as a trading port. When a break is needed from the bronze sculptures, watercolors and photography in the five exhibition rooms, enjoy some water and a complimentary serving of dates under the henna tree in the central courtyard. It’s as refreshing as any of the work inside.


Although this gallery is also located in the Dubai International Financial Centre, it prefers a more stripped-down approach, with bare concrete floors and no-frills, white spot lighting. The energy of the space, however, remains highly charged, as the owner works to manifest the gusto of the gallery’s name (meaning position, velocity and acceleration in physics) in its collection of photography and pop art.