Searching for something to do in the desert that doesn’t involve shopping, dining out or sweltering in the outdoors? MOJEH’s rounded up where to get your art and culture fix this autumn – in Dubai, there are exhibitions, immersive shows and live stage performances
Dubai Design Week
From November 8-13, Dubai Design Week will present a diverse programme of outdoor installations, exhibitions, pop-ups and activities from its main hub in Dubai Design District (d3). Among the various components are Downtown Design, running from November 8-12 at the d3 Waterfront, with companies and artisans offering bespoke, limited-edition items, from furniture to accessories. Abwab, the showcase for regional creatives in architecture, is back, with this year’s projects themed around sustainability, and the MENA Grad Show, Global Grad Show and UAE Designer Exhibition 2.0 will also be taking place.
A new modular programme of dialogue and design stories, Meet the UAE Creatives, is planned, and there is The Marketplace, with a focus on exhibitors from Lebanon. Book now
No talk of art events in the city would be complete without mentioning Alserkal Avenue. This vibrant cultural district in Al Quoz is home to a number of galleries, including Carbon 12, Firetti Contemporary, Ayyam Gallery, Grey Noise, Mestaria Gallery, Lawra Shabibi, Custot Gallery Dubai, The Third Line, Zawyeh Gallery, 1×1 Art Gallery, and others. All will have something fresh and exciting as part of their autumn line-up. For example, at Carbon 12 from now until November 4, you can catch Thanks a Million, an exhibition from Nigerian-American artist Anthony Akinbola, whose du-rag paintings are used to explore identity politics. Also on now and running until November 22, is Firetti Contemporary’s first group show, Praxis of Change, with images and sculptures themed around sustainability. Book now
Expo 2020 Dubai Public Art Programme
Now, we all know that the Expo 2020 Dubai will begin on October 1, running until March 31 next year, but were you aware that permanent artwork in its public spaces will also be unveiled? There are 11 leading local, regional and international commissioned artists involved, creating installations that are set to become lasting fixtures of District 2020. The first to be unveiled is a surreal, twisted sculpture, Chimera, by Kuwaiti artist Monira Al Qadiri, said to merge the region’s pre- and post-oil eras into one body, linking pearls and oil through colour and symbolism. More works will be unveiled soon from Hamra Abbas, Afra Al Dhaheri, Shaikha Al Mazrou, Abdullah Al Saadi, Asma Belhamar, Olafur Eliasson, Nadia Kaabi- Linke, Khalil Rabah, Yinka Shonibare and Haegue Yang, creating the UAE’s first curated permanent open-air art exhibition. Book now
If you prefer your cultural experiences to be a little less static, and louder, take a look at what Dubai Opera has planned this autumn. From October 8-9, you might like Rock the Ballet, a show that mixes classical ballet moves with modern pop and rock music. Or for a full-on opera, head back from October 11-12 to see Rigoletto by Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi, performed by the Saint Petersburg Opera and based on the work of Victor Hugo.
Later in the month, from October 21-23, catch a Bollywood-style Broadway show with Devdas, featuring costumes, dance and a classic Indian love story. November 22-23 offers something a bit more sedate with a stage production of Dial M for Murder, while we head back to music and ballet from December 2-4 for Anna Karenina, choreographed by Boris Eifman, based on the work of Leo Tolstoy. Book now
Infinity Des Lumières
This incredible immersive digital art centre opened back in the summer at Dubai Mall, with its launch exhibitions still up and running. Here you can see masterpieces by the world’s greatest artists projected all around you at a larger-than-life scale, with the venue utilising a host of amazing technology, moving the images to sound as you stare in awe. Each show ranges from 11 minutes up to half-an-hour.
The exhibitions change every 10 months, but right now you can catch Van Gogh The Starry Night, featuring the artist’s most famous paintings, vibrant and enlarged, projected around the space. There is also Dreamed Japan, offering 19th century depictions of Japanese landscapes, with animated geishas and samurai warriors, and Verse, which turns sound into visual art, with an array of colours and shapes set to classical music. Book now
Jameel Arts Centre
Over on Jaddaf Waterfront, overlooking Dubai Creek, the Jameel Arts Centre is planning a packed calendar this autumn. See more than 55 artists from 14 countries, with group and solo exhibitions, international collaborations, and film and public programmes. Highlights include The Distance From Here, a major group show that highlights 11 artists and their approach to the concept of space and time, accompanied by talks, workshops and film screenings. Then Off Stage/On Centre uses photographs from the 1970s through to the present to show the development of Dubai.
Also catch the solo exhibition from Filipino artist Pacita Abad, and the sound and video installation from Samson Young, with The Jump, a film by Palestinian artist Shuruq Harb, screening until November 27. There are also events organised with the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and The Hugh Lane, Dublin. Book now
The World Of Banksy
Clearly The World of Banksy exhibition, which began earlier this year at Mall of the Emirates, has been a success, because it has just been extended – and you can now book tickets up to December 30. This is said to be the largest Banksy exhibition in the world, featuring 120 recreated works by this well-known, anonymous street artist, based in the UK and active since the 1990s. Known for his distinctive stencilling, Banksy’s works are often political and satirical in nature, and have randomly appeared all over the world.
Many of his most iconic frames and murals are on display, including Girl with a Balloon, The Flower Thrower and The Mobile Lovers. Spread over 1,000 sqm, the exhibition allows visitors to retrace the artist’s footsteps over the years, with rooms decorated to reflect the setting that a particular mural was found in. Tickets can be purchased online – just head to the mall’s website. Book now