Emirati pioneer and visual artist Jalal Luqman. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Emirati pioneer and visual artist Jalal Luqman. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

‘Who doesn’t play games?’

The UAE’s latest art gallery, founded by Emirati pioneer Jalal Luqman, hopes to stir up a creative storm with its inaugural exhibition, inspired by game artwork.

Citizen E is part of the new Dubai Design District (d3) and aims to deliver a unique mix of work by established and emerging artists.

The new gallery's Game Art Show mirrors exactly that, with pieces inspired by traditional board games and modern video games.

Luqman, one of the country’s first visual artists, previously co-founded Ghaf Gallery, the capital’s first, with Mohammed Khanoo, before moving on in 2006. However, he says he never felt he achieved his objective.

“There were lot of programmes that I started in Ghaf gallery, which a lot of people didn’t want me to stop just for the fact that I stopped at Ghaf. So, the ideas have always been there, but I was just waiting for the right time and the right place to open the gallery.”

When the chance came to open a space in d3, nearly a decade later, he realised he had found the right place, at just the right time. While Abu Dhabi will soon have an abundance of spaces for classic artwork, with the forthcoming Louvre, Guggenheim and Sheikh Zayed museums, Luqman says Dubai is moving at a pace that is “closer to the tempo” that he wants to move at, as far as contemporary young art is concerned.

“The space and the neighbours and the location itself are great – I mean, Citizen E is going to be in the middle of some of the top names in art, design and fashion – so how can you not decide to have a gallery there?”

This location, he adds, is “just a prelude”, however, to moving to the Creative Community, part of the next phase of d3, set to complete in 2018.

Citizen E is among the first outlets to open at d3 – a purpose-built design district announced in 2013 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice-President and Ruler of Dubai. The district aims to become a regional hub for creative thinkers, creating a permanent space for fashion designers, artists and other creatives.

Later this month, it will host the city’s inaugural Design Week, which hopes to celebrate Dubai as a regional “capital for design and as a global meeting point for the international design community”.

“Some people thing it’s E as in European, other people say it’s E as in Emirati. I’m not going to correct anybody, or say that anybody is wrong, but the more track record Citizen E has, the more people will know what E stands for. I think let’s make it fun that way; it’ll be good to hear other people’s interpretations of what they think it is,” he says with a smile.

The choice of game artwork for the inaugural exhibition is no coincidence. It encompasses the gallery as a meeting of minds from across different generations and backgrounds.

“Normally, when you think of an art gallery, you automatically have this image of uptight people of a certain age. What I wanted to do is, first of all, to let young creative people know that they can have their art exhibited in a proper gallery under international gallery standards, and they don’t have to be old, or renowned, or from an exotic faraway land.

“Then, after that, I have Najat Makki, and some other older, prominent Emirati artists, so I can balance the kind of people that we can attract, and the kind of art and artists that we will have in Citizen E.”

The Game Art Show fills the entire gallery, complete with a corner where Fahad's Couch will set up a collection of classic video game consoles, such as Nintendos and Ataris, to "add to the noise and action". It is a statement, he says, that "we are a cool, hip contemporary art gallery".

“Another thing is I don’t want people to sell their souls to me for the next few years.” Instead, the gallery will issue contracts for the duration of the exhbiiton – after that, whether the artist wants to stay or move on is up to them.

“We’re trying to make people feel comfortable to come and show us their work and if we can sell their work for them, then it’s a win-win situation for both of us.”

This also works both ways – there will be high-end pieces available for serious collectors, including some of Luqman’s own pieces, but young collectors “can come and find something reasonable to buy, without having to dish out hundreds of thousands of dollars”.

The gallery will also be providing services that Luqman and his peers never had when they were younger, and Emirati art was still in its ‘teething phase’.

“Art suddenly became good; it became popular, and everybody jumped on the bandwagon – so we got a lot of these bunny rabbits: the ones who jump from place to place. Some were good – maybe half of one per cent – and the rest were just copycats.

“That needed time to get filtered out, but we had to go through that phase, because real buyers don’t buy from people like that – they will buy from an artist that has longevity, that has a track record.”

Today, he says the art scene needs not just good artists, but curators, collectors, buyers, galleries and agents. In established art markets, such as in Japan, Europe, China or North America, there is a structure to the art business, he adds – people go to art school and are taught about agents. However, that is lacking here. “I am going to hire and train people to be agents.”

“There is a validity to the message that you put into your art, and there is also an identity that has to be in your artwork.”

It is especially challenging, he feels, for people to understand and communicate what lies at the core of their culture in a country as diverse as the UAE. “And I’m not saying young Emiratis have to paint a falcon, and a horse, and a dallah and a palm tree. But the messaging inside your artwork should be authentic.”

One of the young artists involved in the exhibition is 32-year-old Haakon Rist: marketing and brand strategist by day, graffiti artist and rapper by night. He has contributed a pair of illustrations based on the once-controversial video game Mortal Kombat – which pits fighters in semi-supernatural battles to the death.

"The first one is a piece called Scientific Wins," he begins. "It's set in the world of Mortal Kombat and it's essentially my rapper alias Scientific, – who I portray as a sort of urban-arts superhero, and the values he stands for, which are tolerance, education and creative expression – winning over ignorance."

Scientific is stood victorious over ignorance, similar to the way in which Mortal Kombat fighters pose after winning a bout.

The second piece, Hero, also features Scientific, but is based more on Guitar Hero and Def Jam's Rap Star, games that draw more on rhythm and musical talent. Rist says although graffiti has a criminal past, springing out of inner city gang activity, it has since changed — with urban art often reflecting positive values.

“You have artists, such as Rescue from New York, who has a lot of online videos where, first of all, he provides how-to guides on graffiti for young people, and he speaks about his background. He was sort of rebellious and he reached a point in his life where he had to make a decision about what to focus on.

“That resonated with me, not in terms of my past, because I have a very spotless past – I never did any illegal graffiti, I was always commissioned or,” he laughs.

“But I believe that when we create art, we put such energy into it, which comes across, and in my opinion it’s really important to infuse it with positivity.”

Another, slightly younger featured artist is 28-year-old Emirati, Amna Alblooshi. Among her many interests, which include watching sci-fi or comic-based movies, she enjoys playing board games – notably Cluedo. She is exhibiting a set of three immersive pieces inspired by the game, which pits players in a mansion where a crime has occurred; one which they have to solve through elimination of suspects.

“I chose three characters: Mrs White, Mrs Peacock and Miss Scarlett – I illustrated them in three artworks, and these have a very dark serial killer twist; each artwork is inspired by a real-life serial killer.

“I want the viewer to imagine themselves in that mansion, with these real serial killers, and from they should figure out who is that one killer who did the crime. So it will make the viewer think – they are all already serial killers, but one of them did the crime.”

Luqman concludes: “I want the opportunity to work with young people and to guide them, because a lot of them in this time are really misguided and need to be taken care of and to be set in the right direction.

“And who doesn’t play games?”


Dates for the diary

To mark Bodytree’s 10th anniversary, the coming season will be filled with celebratory activities:

  • September 21 Anyone interested in becoming a certified yoga instructor can sign up for a 250-hour course in Yoga Teacher Training with Jacquelene Sadek. It begins on September 21 and will take place over the course of six weekends.
  • October 18 to 21 International yoga instructor, Yogi Nora, will be visiting Bodytree and offering classes.
  • October 26 to November 4 International pilates instructor Courtney Miller will be on hand at the studio, offering classes.
  • November 9 Bodytree is hosting a party to celebrate turning 10, and everyone is invited. Expect a day full of free classes on the grounds of the studio.
  • December 11 Yogeswari, an advanced certified Jivamukti teacher, will be visiting the studio.
  • February 2, 2018 Bodytree will host its 4th annual yoga market.





Manchester City 6
(D Silva 26', Sterling 38', 81', 87', De Bruyne 61', Jesus 68')

Watford 0

Man of the match: Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)


Group A

Ireland beat UAE by 226 runs
West Indies beat Netherlands by 54 runs

Group B

Zimbabwe tied with Scotland
Nepal beat Hong Kong by five wickets

Company Profile 

Founder: Omar Onsi

Launched: 2018

Employees: 35

Financing stage: Seed round ($12 million)

Investors: B&Y, Phoenician Funds, M1 Group, Shorooq Partners

As You Were

Liam Gallagher

(Warner Bros)

Zayed Centre for Research

The Zayed Centre for Research is a partnership between Great Ormond Street Hospital, University College London and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and was made possible thanks to a generous £60 million gift in 2014 from Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation.

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
The biog

Favourite films: Casablanca and Lawrence of Arabia

Favourite books: Start with Why by Simon Sinek and Good to be Great by Jim Collins

Favourite dish: Grilled fish

Inspiration: Sheikh Zayed's visionary leadership taught me to embrace new challenges.


19 grand slam singles titles
Wimbledon: 5 (2011, 14, 15, 18, 19)
French Open: 2 (2016, 21)
US Open: 3 (2011, 15, 18)
Australian Open: 9 (2008, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21)
Prize money: $150m

20 grand slam singles titles
Wimbledon: 8 (2003, 04, 05, 06, 07, 09, 12, 17)
French Open: 1 (2009)
US Open: 5 (2004, 05, 06, 07, 08)
Australian Open: 6 (2004, 06, 07, 10, 17, 18)
Prize money: $130m

20 grand slam singles titles
Wimbledon: 2 (2008, 10)
French Open: 13 (2005, 06, 07, 08, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20)
US Open: 4 (2010, 13, 17, 19)
Australian Open: 1 (2009)
Prize money: $125m

The specs

Engine: 3.5-litre V6

Power: 272hp at 6,400rpm

Torque: 331Nm from 5,000rpm

Transmission: 8-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 9.7L/100km

On sale: now

Price: Dh149,000



Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

If you go

The flights
There are various ways of getting to the southern Serengeti in Tanzania from the UAE. The exact route and airstrip depends on your overall trip itinerary and which camp you’re staying at. 
Flydubai flies direct from Dubai to Kilimanjaro International Airport from Dh1,350 return, including taxes; this can be followed by a short flight from Kilimanjaro to the Serengeti with Coastal Aviation from about US$700 (Dh2,500) return, including taxes. Kenya Airways, Emirates and Etihad offer flights via Nairobi or Dar es Salaam.   

The end of Summer

Author: Salha Al Busaidy

Pages: 316

Publisher: The Dreamwork Collective 



In numbers

Number of Chinese tourists coming to UAE in 2017 was... 1.3m

Alibaba’s new ‘Tech Town’  in Dubai is worth... $600m

China’s investment in the MIddle East in 2016 was... $29.5bn

The world’s most valuable start-up in 2018, TikTok, is valued at... $75bn

Boost to the UAE economy of 5G connectivity will be... $269bn 

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

Pakistanis at the ILT20

The new UAE league has been boosted this season by the arrival of five Pakistanis, who were not released to play last year.

Shaheen Afridi (Desert Vipers)
Set for at least four matches, having arrived from New Zealand where he captained Pakistan in a series loss.

Shadab Khan (Desert Vipers)
The leg-spin bowling allrounder missed the tour of New Zealand after injuring an ankle when stepping on a ball.

Azam Khan (Desert Vipers)
Powerhouse wicketkeeper played three games for Pakistan on tour in New Zealand. He was the first Pakistani recruited to the ILT20.

Mohammed Amir (Desert Vipers)
Has made himself unavailable for national duty, meaning he will be available for the entire ILT20 campaign.

Imad Wasim (Abu Dhabi Knight Riders)
The left-handed allrounder, 35, retired from international cricket in November and was subsequently recruited by the Knight Riders.


CPU: Apple A15 Bionic

Capacity: 64GB, Wi-Fi only; 128GB, Wi-Fi + ethernet

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, ethernet (Wi-Fi + ethernet model only), IR receiver

I/O: HDMI, ethernet (128GB model only); Siri remote (charging via USB-C); accessibility features

Video: SDR/Dolby Vision/HDR10+ up to 2160p @ 60fps

Peripherals: Compatible with HD/UHD TVs via HDMI, Bluetooth keyboards, AirPods


Colour: Black

In the box: TV 4K, Siri remote, power cord

Price: Dh529, Wi-Fi only; Dh599, Wi-Fi + ethernet



Our legal consultants

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

12 restaurants opening at the hotel this month

Ariana’s Persian Kitchen
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Estiatorio Milos
House of Desserts
Jaleo by Jose Andres
La Mar
Ling Ling
Little Venice Cake Company
Malibu 90265
Nobu by the Beach
Resonance by Heston Blumenthal
The Royal Tearoom 

SPECS: Polestar 3

Engine: Long-range dual motor with 400V battery
Power: 360kW / 483bhp
Torque: 840Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 628km
0-100km/h: 4.7sec
Top speed: 210kph
Price: From Dh360,000
On sale: September

The specS: 2018 Toyota Camry

Price: base / as tested: Dh91,000 / Dh114,000

Engine: 3.5-litre V6

Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic

Power: 298hp @ 6,600rpm

Torque: 356Nm @ 4,700rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 7.0L / 100km

Company name: Play:Date

Launched: March 2017 on UAE Mother’s Day

Founder: Shamim Kassibawi

Based: Dubai with operations in the UAE and US

Sector: Tech 

Size: 20 employees

Stage of funding: Seed

Investors: Three founders (two silent co-founders) and one venture capital fund

The Greatest Royal Rumble card as it stands

50-man Royal Rumble

Universal Championship Brock Lesnar (champion) v Roman Reigns in a steel cage match

Intercontinental Championship Seth Rollins (champion) v The Miz v Finn Balor v Samoa Joe

SmackDown Tag Team Championship The Bludgeon Brothers (champions) v The Usos

Casket match The Undertaker v Chris Jericho

John Cena v Triple H

Matches to be announced

WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Raw Tag Team Championship, United States Championship and the Cruiserweight Championship are all due to be defended


Chelsea 4 (Mount 18',Werner 44', Hudson-Odoi 49', Havertz 85')

Morecambe 0


1. Jordan Spieth (USA) 65 69 65 69 - 12-under-par
2. Matt Kuchar (USA) 65 71 66 69 - 9-under
3. Li Haotong (CHN) 69 73 69 63 - 6-under
T4. Rory McIlroy (NIR) 71 68 69 67 - 5-under
T4. Rafael Cabrera-Bello (ESP) 67 73 67 68 - 5-under
T6. Marc Leishman (AUS) 69 76 66 65 - 4-under
T6. Matthew Southgate (ENG) 72 72 67 65 - 4-under
T6. Brooks Koepka (USA) 65 72 68 71 - 4-under
T6. Branden Grace (RSA) 70 74 62 70 - 4-under
T6. Alexander Noren (SWE) 68 72 69 67 - 4-under

The specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 640hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 850Nm from 2,300-4,500rpm
Transmission: 8-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 11.9L/100km
Price: Dh749,800
On sale: now


Creator: Tima Shomali

Starring: Tara Abboud, Kira Yaghnam, Tara Atalla

Rating: 4/5

Fighting with My Family

Director: Stephen Merchant 

Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Nick Frost, Lena Headey, Florence Pugh, Thomas Whilley, Tori Ellen Ross, Jack Lowden, Olivia Bernstone, Elroy Powell        

Four stars


Director: Abu Bakr Shawky 

Starring: Omar Alatawi, Tulin Essam, Ibrahim Al-Hasawi 

Rating: 4/5

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

The specs

Engine: 4-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: eight-speed PDK

Power: 630bhp

Torque: 820Nm

Price: Dh683,200

On sale: now

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024


Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).

Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).


Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).


Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

The specs

Engine: 6-cylinder, 4.8-litre
Transmission: 5-speed automatic and manual
Power: 280 brake horsepower
Torque: 451Nm
Price: from Dh153,00
On sale: now

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