Dubai boasts for its entertainment capabilities and outstanding art and cultural events all year long. The city’s agenda lines up a continual and captivating array of options from local art exhibitions, to exciting design shows, till grandiose traditional festivities. Though a great majority of the summer season falls under the Ramadan, during which time the city alters its face and quiets a little, Dubai’s cultural agenda is still filled with excellent programs. We have collected the city’s ten best summer art and cultural events for 2014.
Art | Kamal Boullata, Bilqis
Until 31 July
Born in Jerusalem in 1942, Kamal Boullata is today’s most acclaimed Palestinian artist and historian. Known for his silk-screen works fusing acrylic and abstract means, the artist is displaying his 15 large artworks at Dubai’s modern and contemporary art gem, the Meem Gallery. The exhibition, titled as Bilqis, demonstrates an interesting combination of colours transfered along geometric lines, leaving the impression of vagueness and intense contrast. The canvases are displayed in the form of five triptychs, which create a complex horizontal composition. The Meem Gallery, which typically focuses on the greatest artists of Middle East, is home to outstanding solo and joint exhibitions as well as accommodating the largest international resource for arts of the region.
Culture | Iftar
1 – 16 July
The annual event is held during the biggest Islamic festival, Ramadan, and aims to help non-Muslims to better understand the traditions and cultural features of the United Arab Emirates. The word Iftar refers to one of the religious ceremonies of Ramadan, when the fast is broken during sunset. This ritual is often performed collectively through an Iftar gathering; and it’s this collective experience that lies at the heart of Dubai’s Iftar event: visitors can take part in the Athan and the Iftar, familiarise themselves with the characteristics of Ramadan, acquire an insight to the UAE’s traditions and visit the outstanding Diwan Masjid, or Grand Mosque. The event is organised by The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) and set in old Dubai’s Al Fahidi district. This first-hand traditional experience is very popular among foreigners, so reservation is a must.
Culture | The French Night
A fantastic cultural montage with a French twist is on offer at Dubai’s best British eatery, The Ivy. Following the intense success of The Italian Night in Spring, The French Night will be fully dedicated to French culinary art and culture. Though the restaurant is known for its live jazz events, June 11 is the night for opera enthusiasts, The Ivy’s three-course French meal will be accompanied by a live show of French opera from singers at the Emirates Opera Project. The establishment consists of diverse multi-ethnic musicians who are living in the UAE and aim to share their passion while sustaining their Project purely with the help of donations.
Music | Dubai Music Week
17 – 20 Sept
Dubai Music Week is the perfect event for music lovers in the broadest sense. Whether the aim is to learn about the music industry, network with leading figures or to listen to great local and international music stars, this one-week event offers it all. Besides each years’ expansive list of performing artists, Dubai Music Week hosts numerous lectures and seminars that promise to reveal how to succeed in music. Taking place at the Dubai World Trade Center business complex, Dubai Music Week is the first music industry trade show in the region that offers the platform for all professional artists, vendors and music enthusiast to mingle together to listen, play, network and promote’.
Art | Syria’s Apex Generation
7 June – 2 August
An exceptional exhibition is presented by Dubai’s prominent contemporary art venue, the Ayyam Gallery Dubai, which opened in 2006 and showcases Middle Eastern artists, aiming to promote the region’s vivid contemporary art scene. During the summer months Ayyam features an exhibition of Syria’s Apex Generation, which displays the work of the region’s greatest modernist painters: Nihad Al Turk, Abdul Karim Majdal Al-Beik, Othman Moussa, Mohannad Orabi, and Kais Salman. The exhibition reflects on the current Syrian conflict with a somewhat ironic but realistic approach through expressionist, symbolist and abstract languages. Don’t miss the opening day’s public talk with the artists themselves.