Art & Culture

The UAE is on track for a cultural awakening, the heart of which will undoubtedly be Saadiyat Island’s Cultural District. With the Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed by Jean Nouvel, due to open in 2015, and the Frank Gehry designed Guggenheim to follow, there’ll be some seriously impressive exhibitions housed in soon-to-be iconic buildings. Zayed National Museum is another eagerly awaited centre that will soon find a home on Saadiyat. It’s a refreshing and admirable investment by the capital, and puts Abu Dhabi firmly on the global map.

Elsewhere in the city
There are a number of independent galleries around the city including the Salwa Zeidan Gallery, that recently moved to Saadiyat Island, and Ghaf Gallery. The newly opened Etihad Modern Art Gallery in Al Bateen is an extension of the Etihad Antique Gallery, both of which are now open to visitors. For something different, Abu Dhabi Pottery showcases some fine ceramics and also holds classes. To find like-minded people to explore Abu Dhabi’s art scene with, try groups like Abu Dhabi Art Squad. Art work can also be found in many of the city’s hotels, from classic antiquities at The Barakat Gallery in Emirates Palace, to contemporary work from international artists at places like the Lightbox in the Yas Viceroy. The Souk Qaryat Al Beri also houses Gallery One. Other hotels like the Rosewood, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr and the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers have all hosted one-off exhibitions too, so keep your eyes open for those as they crop up.

Abu Dhabi Art Hub
If you want to get more involved, the Abu Dhabi Art Hub (adah.ae) in Mussafah is the place to go. As well as having a gallery and holding affordable art fairs, it’s also a working studio. Most months a small group of invited artists from a specific county is invited to live and work in the specially designed accommodation for residency artists. Not only do they each produce a series of works inspired by the region, but they also give classes and workshops to UAE residents, helping to spread their knowledge and techniques. ADAH also promotes traditional crafts and tries to help artists find new ways of incorporating them in contemporary pieces.

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