Arts & Culture

10 fantastic exhibitions at Alserkal Avenue this summer

Check out these shows from local and international artists.

We’re calling it: Alserkal Avenue is the art hub of Dubai. The streets are bursting with an impressive range of galleries, workshops and concept stores, all ready to provide you with a culture fix.

Over the summer, Alserkal Avenue is the location that keeps on giving. What makes its art offering unique is the sheer diversity, as the current exhibitions cover the female gaze to facial recognition. Plus, there are emerging and established artists sharing their strokes of genius.

Best of all, most of the exhibitions are free. So, when you need a break from painting the town, spend those dirhams at the local favourite: Nightjar Coffee Roasters.

Don’t believe the haters who say that Dubai lacks culture. A day of Insta-worthy paintings, large-scale installations and even a song and dance await. Here are all of the exhibitions at Alserkal Avenue this summer.

Eyes Wide Shut at Firetti

In Firetti’s exhibition, Eyes Wide Shut, see the world through the female gaze. The studio has bought together ten female artists from the UAE, Iran, Armenia, Ukraine, Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Kuwait. The exhibition explores gender identity, relationships, socio-political issues and the struggles that women face privately and publicly, all in the hopes of exposing – as the title suggests – our blind spots. The exhibition runs until 12 August.

exhibitions at Alserkal Avenue

Facial Recognition at Fabien Fryns Fine Art 

How do you unlock your phone? Go through passport security? Or even enter work? If you said facial recognition to one of these questions, then you’ll be fascinated by this exhibition. The show explores themes of privacy and how technology is transforming our lives. Plus, it shows how when technology is doing the looking, portraits take on a whole new meaning. The artists include Francis Annan Affotey, Angeles Agrela, Alic Brock, Yukimasa Ida, Victoria Nunley, Julian Pace, Walter Robinson and Adam Parker Smith. The exhibition runs until 4 September.

exhibitions at Alserkal Avenue

In the Footsteps of Cai Lun II: Selected Works on Paper at Ayyam Gallery

When China’s Cai Lun created paper back in the day, he probably never thought it would be so significant or that there’d be an exhibition named after him. Many historians claim that modern day paper can be traced back to Cai and that his invention arrived in the Middle East in the eighth century. This exhibition explores the magic of paper and how it has provided painters, draftsmen and printmakers with image-making possibilities. The show includes the artists Tammam Azzam, Nihad Al-Turk, Mohammad Bozorgi, Thaier Helal, Samia Halaby, Athier Mousawi, and Faisal Samra. The exhibition runs until 5 September.

exhibitions at Alserkal Avenue

Inner Sanctuary at Zawyeh Gallery

Everyone has their happy place and Rana Samara has explored this idea in Inner Sanctuary at Zawyeh Gallery. Whether it’s a lounge, café, swimming pool or even a hospital room, she brings these peaceful places to life in her paintings. Rana is a Palestinian artist and often looks at the role of women in her work as well as modern Palestine. The exhibition runs until 28 August.

exhibitions at Alserkal Avenue

More than Human

It’s time get your thinking caps on, as More than Human encourages you to ask some big questions about the art world. Whether it’s about our entangled lives as humans or the relationship between nature and culture, you are invited to join the debates. The five emerging artists who are on hand to explore the big themes include Fatema Al Fardan, Zuhoor Al Sayegh, Lubnah Ansari, Arthur de Oliveira and Vamika Sinha. More than Human season runs from 13-28 August.

exhibitions at Alserkal Avenue

Night Coveys the Light, Every Day & Every Night at Leila Heller Gallery 

Iranian Reza Derakshani is one of those multitalented people who put us to shame, as he’s a painter, musician and performance artist. Reza’s work has featured in public art collections ranging from the British Museum, London to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Now you have the chance to see his work right here in Dubai at Lela Heller Gallery. The exhibition Night Coveys the Light, Every Day & Every Night runs until 15 September, and brings together a collection of his work.

exhibitions at Alserkal Avenue

Ryhme at Sima Performing Arts

Okay, so it’s not technically an art exhibition, but it is an art-inspired show. Sima Dance Company have created a captivating performance, which is inspired by Arabic sentences with a melodic character. Choreographer Alaa Krimed has put the piece together, which is a 50-minute contemporary dance show, and it runs until 30 July.

exhibitions at Alserkal Avenue

The Sherbet Project at Grey Noise 

Just like a perfume brings back memories for some, the taste of sherbets does that for Fazal Rizvi. Go on a nostalgia fest with Fazal as he explores the idea of memories. As his late aunt would make him the sweet Indian drink, using mint, apple cider vinegar, sugar and water, he uses this as starting point to reflect on her life and his own childhood. The exhibition runs until 31 July.

exhibitions at Alserkal Avenue

The Swimming Pool at Carbon 12

Carbon 12 began way back in 2008 and hosts about half a dozen exhibitions a year. Dive right into its current exhibition, The Swimming Pool, which brings together global artists. The David Hockney vibes are real, as the theme is pools and how they are a symbol of luxury as well as leisure. The show features the gallery’s artists Olaf Breuning, Gil Heitor Cortesaõ, Philip Mueller and more. The exhibition runs until 31 August.


‘Wim Delvoye’ by Wim Delvoye at Leila Heller Gallery 

Wim Delvoye loves to create the unexpected, as his powerful pieces combine high and low art. He is a fan of painting onto everyday objects: think coats of arms on ironing boards and shovels, Delft patterns on gas canisters, and stained-glass windows on goal posts. He even went one step further by tattooing a live pig. This is a rare chance to see his creations in the Leila Heller Gallery, as he previously displayed his work in the likes of the Venice Biennial, Italy and Musée Rodin, France. The exhibition runs until 15 September.

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Kohinoor Sahota - Deputy Editor
A sucker for a good story, if you invite Kohinoor to a gallery, comedy night, new restaurant, hiking trip, cycle ride, pool day or just about any activity, preferably with the promise of wine, she’ll probably say yes – that is if she isn’t busy planning her next adventure.

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