Dubai’s Thriving Art and Design World: An Explorer’s Guide

Published on: Feb 19, 2024
Charlie Levy
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Are you passionate about culture and art? Why not plan a trip to Dubai, where a wealth of creative talent awaits? Beyond its iconic landmarks like the Burj Khalifa and The View at The Palm, this city boasts a vibrant art scene featuring numerous art galleries and events like Dubai Design Week.


In its pursuit of becoming a global art and cultural hub, Dubai continuously expands its creative landscape. It has also introduced long-term cultural visas, extending invitations to artists seeking residency while honing their skills in the UAE. In this piece, we'll dive deep into Dubai's art world and shine a spotlight on celebrated artists awaiting discovery by art enthusiasts.


Exploring Dubai's Art Galleries

There's no denying that art has claimed the centre stage in the UAE's most lavish Emirate. With a mix of edgy painters, sculptors, and muralists, here are four art galleries in Dubai that are definitely worth checking out:


Jameel Arts Centre

Nestled on the Jaddaf Waterfront; this striking exhibition venue beautifully combines contemporary art and stunning architecture. Inside, visitors can explore a lively array of rotating art exhibitions and an artist's library. There’s even a trendy espresso bar for when you want to take five.



Established in 2008 by artist Lateefa bint Maktoum, Tashkeel was created as a nurturing space for emerging artists in Dubai's culture and growing art scene. Located in Nad Al Sheba, the primary gallery serves as a hotspot for exhibitions, artist-led tours, and engaging workshops, encompassing a wide range of artistic expressions, from embroidery to calligraphy.


The Foundry

Launched in 2020, The Foundry hosts an array of events like exhibitions, workshops, and screenings, often in collaboration with Cinema Akil. Drop by this versatile spot in Downtown Dubai to see artists in action or soak in the atmosphere with a cappuccino. The Foundry keeps its doors open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and offers a free-access library with cosy reading spaces and communal work areas. For those interested, they also have podcast recording booths available to book for around £40 per hour.

The Third Line

Concerned about the lack of Middle Eastern and North African artists in Western art galleries, a trio of friends established The Third Line. This gallery, situated in Warehouse 78 on Alserkal Avenue, occupies a collection of white corrugated metal structures and is dedicated to showcasing contemporary art and talents on a global scale. It also features a shop where limited-edition prints and books by affiliated artists are available for purchase.

Street Art in Dubai: Where to Find the Best Murals

City Walk

Nestled in the heart of Jumeirah, Dubai's City Walk is a dynamic centre that seamlessly combines shopping, dining, and entertainment. One of many open-air galleries in Dubai, this urban canvas came to life through the Dubai Walls project in 2016, a creative collaboration involving 16 world-renowned street artists such as Rone, Blek Le Rat, and Ron English.

As a result, City Walk now boasts a remarkable collection of murals, each a testament to diverse forms of creativity. While strolling through the area, you'll encounter a playful standoff between a group of kids and a rat, courtesy of the famous Blek le Rat.  Another mural, created by British artist Eelus, depicts a child sheltering under a cheese plant leaf from a sweet downpour of colourful rain.

But the Dubai Walls project doesn't end here; it continues to adorn the city with colourful, large-scale murals that celebrate the fusion of local and international artistic talent.


Design District: Dubai's Creative Hub

Dubai Design District, commonly known as d3, is a bustling metropolis in the heart of Dubai. Established in 2013, it’s home to the city's art-loving crowd and hosts many of Dubai’s flagship design events.

With its sleek architecture, galleries, and stylish boutiques, Dubai Design District d3 is a lively place that's all about celebrating creativity and pushing the limits of artistic expression. In addition to hosting the renowned Dubai Design Week, the district is also home to Sole DXB, an event that offers a celebration of diverse elements, including street fashion, music, art, and sports.

Notable Artists from Dubai

Here are a few noteworthy artists who feature their work in various art exhibitions across Dubai:

  • Darah Ghanem - Darah Ghanem is a talented artist, writer, and advocate for emerging talents from the Middle East. She explores diverse art forms through 'Follow the Halo,' her digital art publication.


  • Sarah Al Agroobi - Sarah, a classically trained artist from the Royal College of Art in London, delves into the blend of Middle Eastern and Western cultures in her colourful acrylic-based collection.


  • Wissam Shawkat - Based in Dubai, Shawkat is a renowned self-taught calligrapher and graphic designer known for his bold, distinctive designs, which have graced the products of major brands and are now available in his expanding print shop.


  • Fathima Mohiuddin - Fathima Mohiuddin, an Indian and Canadian artist, is known for her unique style influenced by comic book illustrations and Indian block-printed fabrics. She is also the founder of The Domino, advocating for emerging artists and public art spaces in Dubai.


  • Dina Sami - Dina Sami is a prominent multidisciplinary artist in Dubai, known for her captivating black-and-white illustrations and energetic, textural works.

Top Art Events and Festivals

While 2024 is a few months away, Dubai's upcoming art festivals are already creating a bit of a buzz. Be sure to mark these dates on your phone; you don’t want to miss out. Here are three art events we've visited in Dubai:


Art Dubai

Save the date: Art Dubai 2024, now in its 17th edition, is scheduled for March 1 to 3, 2024, at the beautiful Madinat Jumeirah. The art fair will feature its usual three sections: Contemporary, Modern, and Bawwaba. For digital art enthusiasts, Art Dubai Digital will also make a comeback. Stay tuned for ticket details and more information as the event date approaches.


World Art Dubai

Get ready for World Art Dubai's ninth edition,  from May 2 to 5, 2024, at the Dubai World Trade Centre (TBC). As part of Dubai Art Season, this event is a budget-friendly art lover's dream and features affordable art for sale.


Sikka Art and Design Festival

From February 23 to March 3, 2024, the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood in Old Dubai hosts the 12th Sikka Art and Design Festival. This event shines a spotlight on budding talents from Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, offering a chance for visitors to explore intriguing art installations and enjoy local food, among other creative experiences.

Also, mark your calendar for Downtown Design from November 8 to 11 2023 at Dubai Design District. While it's not exactly an art event, if you're into interiors, it's a must-visit and a great chance to connect with fellow design professionals from various fields.


Immerse Yourself in Middle Eastern and International Art

In general, Dubai and the United Arab Emirates are fantastic places to immerse yourself in the artistic community. Whether you're planning a special trip dedicated to art or a spontaneous luxury break, we offer a range of Dubai vacation packages that include flights and accommodations to suit your preferences.

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