The Middle East has always been a capital for artistic expression, its artists drawing inspiration from lyrical landscapes and effervescent cities alike. The region’s contemporary cultural heritage is perhaps best articulated in Dubai, where cutting-edge galleries rub shoulders with dynamic exhibits and impressive installations. Here’s how to spend a day exploring Dubai’s vibrant arts scene.
Mattar Bin Lahej at Jumeirah Al Naseem
Mattar Bin Lahej is one of the UAE’s most cherished artists. Focusing on sculpture and painting, Bin Lahej is a pioneer of contemporary Emirate art. His installations combine twisting steel and centripetal impetus, while his paintings explore motion and dynamic movement. At Jumeirah Al Naseem, some of Bin Lahej’s best-known works are on display: the hotel entrance is graced by his river-crossing parade of metallic camels, while inside, a number of paintings and sculptures greet visitors as they explore the interior. From Jumeirah Al Naseem, it is a short drive to the Mattar Bin Lahej Gallery, where the artist’s fantastical pieces are available for purchase.
Art Collection at Jumeirah Creekside Hotel
The urban, contemporary interiors of Jumeirah Creekside Hotel are home to an extraordinary array of artistic masterpieces. Almost 500 pieces were specially commissioned for the hotel, combining artists from Morocco to Oman. The pieces range from the sublime to the exalted, encompassing sweeping installations, such as Chahine Khosravi’s DiscOriental, a pinnacle of painted steel diskettes emoting leaves in the wind, or Asmae Alami’s Belly Raining, a calligraphic mobile depicting the complexity of human thought. All in all, over 400 works are Limited Edition series. To walk through Jumeirah Creekside Hotel is to walk through one of the most abundant galleries of contemporary Middle Eastern art in the world.
Meem Gallery in Al Quoz
Al Quoz is Dubai’s arts and culture district. Spanning several abandoned factories and other industrial architectures, the district is home to a brilliant collection of cafés, theatres, and galleries. It is here that the acclaimed Meem Gallery set up shop in 2006. The gallery is a forerunner in the regional contemporary arts scene. Its halls have been home to artists now featured in the British Museum, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. Each year sees a carousel of regional masters at Meem, with flamboyant artworks draped against industrial-minimalist interiors.
For over 10 years, Alserkal Avenue has been the boulevard of Emirate artistic expression. The Avenue is set over a low-slung zigzag of warehouses and comprises half a million square-feet of exhibition and performance space. As Alserkal Avenue has gained momentum, it has attracted all manner of curators, designers, performers, and artists from around the world. At its centre lies Concrete, a multi-disciplinary space for state-of-the art exhibitions that was shortlisted for the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. A walk through its warehouses is a walk through the vibrant pizzazz of contemporary Middle Eastern art and an exposition in exuberant modern-day curating.
Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts shares in the artistic heritage of the Middle East. Stay at Jumeirah Al Naseem
or Jumeirah Creekside Hotel
to discover Dubai’s energetic arts scene.