Learn to Appreciate the Arts with These 5 Art Galleries in Dubai


Arts and Culture   Dubai Diaries  


Nowadays we aren’t really able to make time to appreciate art and culture the way people used to in the past. With art programs losing funding left and right it’s something we’re sorely missing in our lives! Thankfully however there’s no time like the present to do something about it. Traveling is a great time to make time for things you actually want to do instead of spending all of your energy doing things you have to do.

This list contains the top 5 art galleries we found in Dubai so you can get your dose of culture and fine arts while you still can. And while you’re doing it you’ll be supporting these fine institutions that will help make sure art is a part of all of our futures for many years to come – talk about a win-win!



1. The Third Line


Picture Credits: The Third Line


The Middle East has a rich tradition and history in music, food, and of course art. The Third Line is a space that’s dedicated to contemporary art from the region and celebrates it in a way that must be seen. The gallery hosts a rotating variety of exhibitions, including the newest addition titled Arrival by artist Farah Al Qasimi. This artist primarily works with photography, video, and performance and always explores highly interesting topics such as gender in the Gulf Arab states.

Because these exhibitions change regularly, I’d definitely recommend checking out their website to see what you can expect to see during your visit! Along with their exhibitions, they also have a selection of books available at the back of the gallery that’s definitely worth browsing through. You never know what new treasure you’re going to find to add to your personal collection back home!



2. XVA Gallery


Picture Credits: XVA Gallery


Since it was established in 2003, XVA Gallery has been a pillar of contemporary art of the Arab world. The works on display feature a variety of artists at all points in their career, from freshly emerging artists to some well established favorites. Their exhibitions change on a roughly monthly basis so there’s always something new to feast your eyes on! Accompanying the visual art is another form of artistry truly everyone can appreciate… food!

The XVA Café has been called “Dubai’s Best Kept Secret” and one of its most notable admirers is the one and only Chef Gordan Ramsay. That’s not the only accolade this restaurant has received in the recent past either. The National Newspaper praised XVA as having the best cheesecake in Dubai – truly a cause for celebration! So whether you visit XVA for the world class art, or the world class cheesecake you’re going to be in great hands.



3. Carbon 12


Picture Credits: Carbon 12


I always thought that one of the best ways to get to know a new culture or even city is to look at it’s art. It’s a pretty unique experience to be able to get to know a culture through the lens of how it seems itself, don’t you think? Well then head to Carbon 12 and prepare for your education. Opening in 2008 they’ve been supporting an intentionally international community of artists and their work ever since. Not only are their exhibitions interesting and informative, they also make for some stunning phone backgrounds if you’re looking to change it up!

Carbon 12 hosts 6-8 annual exhibitions as well as a liberal sprinkling of activities and events throughout the year. These can include everything from publications with deep-dives on relevant topics to speaking events with artists or individuals within the art community as a whole. Don’t miss out on this cultural gem!



4. Tabari Artspace


Tabari Artspace
Picture Credits: Tabari Artspace


Nestled in the heart of Dubai’s financial district is a cultural “diamond in the rough” waiting to be seen. The Tabari Artspace has been going strong for more than 16 years now and is a tour de force in Dubai’s art scene. Currently on show is Stitched Stories by naqsh collective. This Jordanian design duo is known for their works that reimagine traditional Levantine embroidery patterns in unexpected materials like marble and wood.

Some of the other works and artists that have passed through this gallery are now being displayed in internationally recognized institutions like The British Museum and The Guggenheim(Abu Dhabi). Don’t miss your chance to check out both emerging and established artists of the Middle East in their home region before another institution finds them!



5. Lawrie Shabibi


Picture Credits: Lawrie Shabibi


Can’t get enough of Middle Eastern art or artists? Then add Lawrie Shabibi to your list and take it all in. They’ve been presenting Middle Eastern artists to international artists for years now. They are committed to growing and developing the careers of younger regional artists. This work goes hand in hand with their efforts to organize exhibitions for more “mature” generations of regional artists. This means that we get to see how themes, medias, and struggles change and adapt to each generation in a unique way. This gallery is also very active in the international art fair scene too. They frequently showcase works both throughout the city of Dubai and abroad to places like London, Hong Kong, and even Dallas. Currently on display is ALIVE by Larissa Sansour. It includes a host of monochromic photographic works that leave an impression on any visitor!




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About the Author: Keith Perrotta

Keith is a freelance writer, English teacher, baker, and travel junkie currently based in Madrid, Spain. When not creating content or teaching ESL he enjoys going to the beach, researching bread recipes, looking through bookstores, and relaxing with a glass of wine. Having lived in the USA, France, Ghana, Kenya, and now Spain, his main goal in life is to visit every continent once (including Antarctica). You can usually catch him eating ice cream in the park or stopping someone in the street to ask to pet their dog.

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