Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 30 October 2020

The best art exhibitions this Ramadan

From abstract calligraphy to paintings inspired by Islam, Anna Seaman rounds up her pick of the best exhibitions to check out during the holy month.


Against the Darkness; Mohammad Bozorgi

Ayyam Gallery, DIFC, Dubai

May 30 to August 25

Ramadan timings: Sunday to Thursday from 11am to 4pm

Selected from the artist’s recent series, the featured works in this show were produced in response to regional conflicts. They describe the impact that such widespread destruction has on the global community. Using only calligraphy, Bozorgi’s work also serves as an exploration of colour and the high level of abstraction that can be realised when calligraphic forms are freed from the normal rules to create complex compositions.


Affordable Art Sale and Exhibition

Abu Dhabi Art Hub, Mussaffah, Abu Dhabi

June 4 to 25

Ramadan timings: Saturday to Thursday from 9am to 3pm, closed on Fridays

The 10th edition of this successful event offers art enthusiasts a chance to get their hands on work by strong, emerging artists for a fraction of the normal price. The exhibition features 100 pieces of art, including paintings, sculpture and works on paper from 20 international artists.


Made in Tashkeel

Tashkeel Studio Hub, Nad Al Sheba, Dubai

Until September 1

Ramadan timings: Saturday to Thursday from 10am to 5pm

This annual exhibition kicks off the summer season with works by Tashkeel members, workshop participants and recent exhibiting artists. Those on show include Emirati photographer Ammar Al Attar, French-Tunisian calligraffiti artist eL Seed, Saudi multimedia artist Manal AlDowayan and British artist Kathryn Wilson. The exhibition celebrates the practice of members who contribute to the creative and communal atmosphere of the place.


Jeddah: a Unesco World Heritage Site

Empty Quarter, DIFC, Dubai

Until September 15

Ramadan timings: Daily from 10am to 4pm

With photographs dating back to the 1980s, this exhibition is a celebration of the Saudi city of Jeddah. Photographers Sarah Abudawood and Samir Nicolas Saddi present images of the old city, or Al Balad, and present them in this charming exhibition, which brings to life one of the region’s most richly historic areas. Jeddah was added to Unesco’s World Heritage Sites list in 2014 due to its 2,500-year old trading route and its positioning as a gateway for Muslim pilgrims arriving by sea to visit Mecca.


The Short Century

Sharjah Art Museum, Al Shuwaihean, Sharjah

Until December 24

Ramadan timings: Check with venue

This comprehensive exhibition contains the largest number of works ever displayed from the Barjeel Art Foundation, and takes a regional survey of the 20th century. From the influence of European impressionism, through the Modernist era and taking in the melancholy effects of several wars, the exhibition is a history lesson as well as a wonderful show of art.


Summer Mix

Opera Gallery, DIFC, Dubai

June 1 to August 31

Ramadan timings: Sunday to Wednesday from 10am to 10pm, Thursday from 10am to 12am, Friday 2pm to 9pm, Saturday from 11am to 9pm

Opera Gallery is known for always having a collection of masterpieces on site, if you are ever in the mood to pick up a Picasso or get your hands on an original Dali. They also have a vast collection of contemporary art. For the summer, the gallery has chosen to concentrate on bright and colourful art pieces from international contemporary artists, as well as showcasing some of its collection of the masters.


The Big Picture

Pro Art Gallery and Andakulova Gallery, Dubai

June 2 to June 30 (Pro Art), June 4 to June 30 (Andakulova)

Ramadan timings: Pro Art Gallery – 10am to 3pm; Andakulova Gallery – 11am to 5pm

The fourth edition of the annual independent art exhibition, The Big Picture will take place at two venues – Pro Art Gallery and Andakulova Gallery. Featuring 24 artists spread across the venues, the exhibited works were chosen after an open call by The Big Picture team and by the two curators: Irina Burmistrova from Andakulova and Nabil Sammer from Pro Art. All artworks were submitted under the themes of rebirth and transitions.


The Future Is in Their Hands

Etihad Modern Art Gallery, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi

Until June 18

Ramadan timings: Saturday to Thursday from 10am to 1pm and 8pm to 11pm

Twelve participating schools in Abu Dhabi have asked their most promising art students to display their work in this exhibition, which celebrates the future generation of artists. Each school has submitted the work of six students, making this a large exhibition of art of various media.


Art Souq

Etihad Modern Art Gallery, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi

Until June 18

Ramadan timings: Saturday to Thursday from 10am to 1pm and 8pm to 11pm

More than 100 pieces of art, priced between Dh2,000 and Dh10,000, are on show at this annual exhibition, which gives art enthusiasts a chance to get their hands on a discounted piece of art.


Intricate Lines

N2N, Nation Towers, Corniche, Abu Dhabi

Until June 30

Ramadan timings: Daily from 10am to 2pm and 8pm to 12am

A look into the art of printmaking and sculpture in Ukrainian artistic practice is the subject of this group exhibition. It features etchings, bronze works and linocuts that explore everyday scenes, floral motifs and complex urban landscapes.


The New Orientalists

Court Art, Park Hyatt hotel, Dubai

Until October 31

Ramadan timings: Exhibition is on view 24 hours a day in the hotel

In collaboration with Majlis Gallery, Dubai’s oldest gallery, this exhibition showcases the work of 20 artists, who are being classed as new orientalists because they feature images of everyday life in the Middle East. Subjects in the paintings are of a time before modernisation took over Dubai – they include old camel tracks, arish huts, wind towers and old streets of Dubai, where goats used to roam.


Calligraphy by Faouzia Hilmy

Cascades, Fairmont Dubai

June 6 to July 7

Ramadan timings: Daily from 11.30am to 6.30pm

This French artist who is of Moroccan origin learnt to read and write Arabic at school but did not take up calligraphy until much later in life. Since 2004, she has been practising the art and is one of the few female Arabic calligraphers. Her work, which takes a free approach, will be on show in the iftar tent at the hotel for the duration of Ramadan.

Yesterday Is Tomorrow’s Memory: a group show of work from North Africa


El Marsa Gallery, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai

Until July 30

Ramadan timings: Saturday to Thursday from 10am to 4pm, and from 8pm to 11pm on Wednesdays

This group exhibition presents key works by 23 artists who have played a major role in the history of modern and contemporary Arab art from the Maghreb. Dating from the late 1960s to the present day, this selection aims to tell the story of art produced in North Africa during that time, demonstrating richness and variety and a shared formal language across the generations.


Ross Bleckner: Forever Overhead

Leila Heller Gallery, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai

Until June 15

Ramadan timings: Saturday to Thursday from 10am to 4pm, and from 8pm to 11pm on Wednesdays

The artist’s first major exhibition in the region features 10 large-scale paintings, as well as smaller canvases, which are described as “meditations on light”. The show also contains large-scale woven rugs, which can be seen as a reinterpretation of the Muslim prayer mats. Meditative and spiritual phrases have been threaded into the artworks, which complement the paintings.



Lawrie Shabibi Gallery, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai

Until September 10

Ramadan timings: Saturday to Thursday from 10am to 4pm, and from 8pm to 11pm on Wednesdays

To celebrate the closing of the season and to mark the start of the summer, this group exhibition features unseen works from the gallery’s diverse stable of artists: Adel Abidin, Farhad Ahrarnia, Asad Faulwell, Yazan Khalili, Driss Ouadahi, Shahpour Pouyan, Nathaniel Rackowe and Larissa Sansour.


In Between

XVA Gallery, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, Dubai

June 11 to July 5

Ramadan timings: Check with venue

This is Yemeni artist Mukesh Shah’s first solo exhibition at XVA Gallery. His abstract canvases offer a contemplative and detached response. “I am drawn to the space where figuration dissolves into abstraction and where abstraction coalesces into figuration,” he says. The paintings feature geometric structures that are often repetitive.


Parataxic Distortion

East Wing, Limestone House, Dubai

June 2 to September 1

Ramadan timings: Daily from 10am to 7pm, closed on Fridays

The work of Doha-based artists Christto & Andrew is the subject of this exhibition at Dubai photography gallery East Wing. Sarcastic and thought-provoking images, characterised by exaggerated colours and featuring design elements, make up this evocative exhibition. It is fresh and exciting and reflects on life in the region.


Soil Oil

1x1 Gallery, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai

Until June 30

Ramadan timings: Saturday to Thursday from 10am to 3pm, Wednesdays from 7pm to 11pm, closed on Fridays

Indian artist Sachin Bonde’s deeply complex work is the subject of this solo show at 1x1. He has mapped the world’s networks of oil pipelines to explore the movement of petrol and kerosene. The works end up being a sociopolitical map of the 20th century, as oil has been the cause of so many wars and invasions since the Second World War.


Updated: May 29, 2016 04:00 AM

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