DIFC's outdoor Art Nights back for one last session before summer

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Lock up your doors! Crank up your AC! Build yourself a small fort of cushions for hibernation, and surround it with a canyon of assembled boxset DVDs!

That's the usual sense of panic that accompanies the coming of summer, when the UAE looks ahead to three/four months of elevated temperatures and a lot of time spent indoors.

While there is a touch of hyperbole in the idea that everything grinds to a halt during these more sweltering times, the local art scene does slow down a bit, as frazzled gallerists set up lengthy shows to last the summer and head West for Europe's big fairs.

DIFC Gate Village holds the last of the season's Art Nights on May 8, before the heat takes hold. Outdoor canapes and drinks, a batch of new exhibitions opening concurrently and a chance to take in all this art district has to offer in one night. Here's three of our highlights:

It's No Longer About Me

Ayyam Art Gallery

April 30-June 16

I remember sitting with Mohannad Orabi in his Damascus studio two years ago, watching as he laid out canvases adorned with the round, cherubic faces he was becoming well known for. They were, he said, self portraits - representations of his own inner, emotional landscape. 

But that was a very different body of work, and a very different Damascus, from what we seen now. In this new show, we see more realistic faces, more greys and a more mature painter emerging; one ready to look beyond himself.

Image from Mohannad Orabi's new show at Ayyam Gallery, DIFC Gate Village


My Family


Until May 20

Sketchy line paintings of familial bliss, all laid over a kitschy wallpaper-esque background. That's the new work by Mohamed Abla, with a distinctively naive style of painting and playful depiction of domestic happenings.

The Egyptian artist takes us through an album of recollections from his Cairene life, bringing out the characters who have shaped his personality and his style.

The Poetry of Speed

The Empty Quarter

May 8-June 20

Building up a country from the sands in a mere 40 years takes some accelerated thinking. That's what this group show of photographers explore and celebrate in The Empty Quarter's new show, looking at the many fast-paced pursuits that defines the UAE's culture.

Everything from camel racing to competitions of souped-up cars goes under the lens here, with works by five regional and international photographers including Maitha bint Khalid and Andre Lavadinho.

Tuesday May 8, 7-9pm, DIFC Gate Village, Dubai