A sign that summer is on its way out in the UAE is the return of Alserkal Avenue's popular Alserkal Lates, an annual event that marks the start of art season.
Over the past 10 years, the cultural district in Dubai's Al Quoz has grown organically, creating a space for more than 70 contemporary art galleries, visual and performing arts organisations and home-grown entrepreneurs.
Most notably, Alserkal Avenue has fostered a tangible creative community.
Proof of this was clear on Tuesday night.
The roads leading up to Alserkal Avenue were gridlocked, parking was difficult to secure, the avenue’s alleys and galleries were thronged with people. From young artists and art collectors to film enthusiasts, book lovers, the culturally curious, tourists and families, everyone came together to experience art in all its forms.
More than 12 new exhibitions featuring Emirati as well as regionally and internationally renowned artists were launched at the event.
Scroll through the gallery above for more pictures from the Alserkal Lates event
“Our galleries are representing a very mature artists roster,” says Vilma Jurkute, executive director of Alserkal.
“September is now seeing a stellar line up of presentations and solo exhibitions of artists such as Youssef Nabil who is showing for the first time after seven years and is bringing a new body of work, or Emirati artist Sarah Al Mehairi in Carbon 12, a gallery which was always known for bringing international artists to the region now signed an Emirati artist. This tells us that there is an important evolution of talent here and we want to support it.”
Emirati artist and designer Azza Al Qubaisi's exhibition at Leila Heller Gallery, titled Between the Dune Lines, reveal a sculptural wonderland of scale, intricacy and sophistication.
Al Qubaisi, who began her creative career as a jeweller producing wearable art, has now created art that people can be a part of. Her colossal, rusted sculptures that take their shape and patterns from the textures of the desert are embellished with delicate patterns inspired by traditional ancient techniques.
The solo exhibition by Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz at Green Art Gallery, titled The invisible enemy should not exist, is a powerful and immediate ongoing project centred on the threatened, destroyed and missing cultural heritage of Iraq.
Rakowitz reimagines and reconstructs artefacts looted from the National Museum of Iraq in the aftermath of the Second Gulf War that began in in 2003. His pieces are created from a database of images and constructed using papier-mache made from Arabic-English newspapers and West Asian food packaging.
It is a surreal and contradictory melding of time streams and references, leaving anyone who interacts with the work at a loss for words at the poignant story Rakowitz is telling.
Syrian-Palestinian artist Sawsan Al Bahar’s first solo exhibition Talaliya at Firetti Contemporary reveals a young artist with the insight and sensitivity to translate the past into the present using an immersive and striking visual language.
Bahar’s stunning installation, Leaving is Home, is an absolute experience. Sculptural 3D printed sheets are suspended mid-air, appearing windswept, fleeting and also frozen in time. Words, passages and memories of her late grandfather are inscribed on the sheets, describing memories from his own personal diaries that recount his life in Jaffa, Palestine and his family’s departure from the homeland.
The Beautiful Voyage is a curated selection of Nabil’s works from 2016 to the present, at the Third Line gallery, and is a delightful oeuvre of an internationally acclaimed artist. The exhibition includes photographs of cinematic landscapes, surreal self-portraits and the regional debut of his fourth short film.
Revealing an insight into a deeply poetic mind and unique imagination Nabil is clever at subtly referencing inspirations, movements and trends with his very own, highly cultivated and rich visual language.
More information and the schedule of events launched at Alserkal Lates is available at alserkal.online