Summer is the perfect time to study up on the embarrassment of riches Dubai has to offer

BEYOND THE GRID

IN A NUTSHELL

Islamic geometry meets op art illusion

THE LOWDOWN

Saudi artist Lulwah Al Homoud has created colourful geometric designs based on the laws of proportion, practised in traditional Arabic calligraphy with principles of numerology. They may be traditional in concept but they are minimalist in form and resemble the illusionary and accessible style of op-art.

INSIDER’S TIP

Discover why Islamic geometry has remained relevant across centuries. The enduring symmetry and three-dimensionality means it can be constantly reinvented while sticking to traditional principles

Contact

Tabari Artspace, DIFC, Dubai, Sun to Thurs, 9am to 9pm until June 28. Tel: (04) 323 0820. Taxi: DIFC. tabariartspace.com

INNER AND OUTER SPACE

In a nutshell

A legendary US street artist and his achingly cool murals

The lowdown

Kenny Scharf moved to New York in 1978 and immediately became friends with prominent artists Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The trio embraced street art and were mentored by Andy Warhol on the pop-art aesthetic. Scharf’s large scale fantastical mural-type paintings feature plastic toys, cartoons and imagined creatures, which celebrate and criticise the modern world.

INSIDER’S TIP

Although they seem loud, bright and fun, Scharf is also asking his audience to consider more serious issues such as environmental concerns and the excess of capitalism.

Contact

Leila Heller Gallery, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai. Sat to Thurs 10am to 7pm until August 31. Tel: (04) 321 6942. Taxi: Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz. leilahellergallery.com

OUT OF FOCUS/UNION

In a nutshell

Conceptual art that discusses themes of migration

The lowdown

With six artists from the Indian subcontinent, Iran and Iraq, the very current issue of global migration and displacement is the focus of this exhibition. You will find blurred black and white photographs and drawings as well as a painting made of ashes. All are attempting to ask whether borders are confined and defined or, in reality, are they an uncertain and blurred line?

INSIDER’S TIP

The paper manuscript that divides the gallery is intended to be the unifier of the exhibition. It is written in Arabic, Urdu and Farsi and highlights the region’s shared linguistic heritage.

Contact

The Farjam Foundation, DIFC, Dubai. Sun to Thurs 10am to 7pm until June 30. Tel: (04) 323 0303. Taxi: DIFC. farjamcollection.org

I WILL BUILD A TALL  CITY INTERCONNECTED BY CUL DE SACS

In a nutshell

A fantastical world behind a crochet curtain

The lowdown

The shapes that form most cities as well as how we connect and interact with each other in urban environments are the key themes of this exhibition by Iranian artist Nargess Hashemi. The gallery is full of handmade crochet curtains and drapes that hang from the ceiling to the floor and invite you to discover what’s behind them.

INSIDER’S TIP

Notice the colour of the threads used in the crochet; the artist intends them to resemble nature. Think green for grass, blue for water and sky and black for shadowy space between buildings.

Contact

Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai, Sat to Thurs 10am to 6pm until July 26. Tel: (04) 323 5052. Taxi: Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz. ivde.net

THE DIVING BELL & THE BUTTERFLY

In a nutshell

Systematic and logic-based art from
11 artists

The lowdown

This exhibition’s poetic title comes from a novel about a French journalist who was paralysed but managed to write a book using only his left eyelid. Whether you’ve read the book or not, the title is simply a literary device to unite artists who find creative freedom in a restrictive system.

INSIDER’S TIP

Keep an eye out for the work of Julia Ibbini. Using only paper and a laser cutter plus a good dose of mathematics, her art pieces are mesmerising and beautiful.

Contact

Showcase Gallery, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai, Sat to Thurs 10am to 7pm until June 30. Tel: (04) 379 0940. Taxi: Alserkal Avenue. showcaseuae.com

MADE IN TASHKEEL

In a nutshell

A collection of art produced in Dubai’s only artist studio hub over the past year

The lowdown

For those who don’t know, Tashkeel is an artist’s paradise tucked away in a leafy part of Dubai’s Nad Al Sheba district. With a host of studios and equipment as well as regular workshops and exhibitions, it’s a place where artists gather and produce. The annual summer exhibition showcases the best of each year’s work.

INSIDER’S TIP

The show brings together art in many mediums. Watch out for Nasir Nasrallah’s Atlas of Imaginary Places: cartoon-like illustrations of a fictional and mythical realm.

Contact

Tashkeel, Nad Al Sheba, Dubai, Sat to Thurs, 9am to 10pm until August 30. Tel: (04) 336 3313. Taxi: Nad Al Sheba (near police station). tashkeel.org

ELEMENTS: MOHAMMED AHMED IBRAHIM

In a nutshell

A solo exhibition by one of the UAE’s most important artists

The lowdown

Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim lives in Khorfakkan on the east coast and for the past three decades he’s been producing his unique form of art, consisting of brightly coloured and oddly shaped sculptures as well as paintings made of signs and symbols. He also collects the mountain rocks from his local vicinity and wraps them in wire – as a way of trying to capture the soul of the UAE’s natural habitat.

INSIDER’S TIP

Take your kids along to this one. Although art exhibitions can be a bit daunting for the whole family, this one is full of colours and shapes and is a lot of fun. Don’t miss the entire building covered from ceiling to floor in his black and white marks and symbols.

Contact

Gallery 3, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, Sat to Thurs 9am to 9pm, Fri 4pm to 9pm until June 16. Tel: (06) 568 5050. Taxi: Al Mureijah Square. sharjahart.org

UNTOLD STORIES: RETOLD

In a nutshell

A replay of the most recent exhibitions from UAE’s Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

The lowdown

Have you heard of the Venice Biennale but never managed to go? Now is your chance to see what the fuss is all about. The exhibitions from the past two years are on show at Warehouse 421 in Abu Dhabi. Transformations: The Emirati National House is a celebration of traditional architecture and Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play is a group exhibition of artists who create playful art works.

INSIDER’S TIP

This dual presentation also offers a rare glimpse behind the scenes into the making of a National Pavilion exhibition. Visitors can learn about the Venice Biennale and the ways in which the UAE’s participation continues to serve as a powerful platform for cultural exchange.

Contact

Warehouse 421, Mina Zayed, Abu Dhabi, Tues to Sun 10am to 8pm until June 24. Tel: (02) 6768803. Taxi: Mina Zayed. warehouse421.ae

HABIBI FUNK

In a nutshell

A multimedia display of funk music fusion from across the Arab world

The lowdown

Habibi Funk is a record label founded by a Berlin-based DJ called Jannis Stuertz. It is dedicated to re-releasing the music of funk artists from Cairo to Casablanca and across the Arab world. This exhibition comprises photography, video and music, which aims to revitalise Arabic musical history of the 1970s and 1980s with a focus on the obscure and forgotten performers of the region.

INSIDER’S TIP

This is part of an ongoing artistic and musical collaboration

Contact

East Wing. Building 2, Dubai Design District, Dubai, Sat to Thurs 10am to 7pm until September 1. Tel: 050 553 3879. Taxi: d3.

east-wing.org