Embassy of the United Arab Emirates

About the UAE

Arts & Culture

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Art presents museum-quality artworks from modern, contemporary, and design galleries. Manarat Al Saadiyat is a 15,400 square meter arts and culture centre, designed to bring the vision of the island to life through The Saadiyat Story. The venue also features four gallery spaces.

The main galleries of Manarat Al Saadiyat constitute of permanent spaces for a series of exhibitions and educational programmes organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority. This is part of an ongoing cultural programme dedicated to developing awareness and understanding of art and culture prior to the launch of the Saadiyat Cultural District.

An entire district on Saadiyat Island is devoted to culture and the arts. Unprecedented in scale and scope, Saadiyat Cultural District will be a live canvas for global culture, drawing local, regional and international visitors with unique exhibitions, permanent collections, productions and performances. Its iconic institutions will be housed in buildings drawing a statement of the finest architecture at the beginning of the 21st century.

Zayed National Museum is a place for all; for UAE nationals, residents, and visitors, for lifelong visitors to the world’s great cultural institutions, and for those making their first-ever museum visit. Sheikh Zayed was renowned for the warmth he extended to people from all walks of life, and this spirit continues in the institution that bears his name. The Zayed National Museum will have seven permanent gallery displays, as well as a dynamic special exhibition program in which visitors can explore the long history, heritage, and culture of the UAE and its place in the world. Each gallery is inspired by the values of Sheikh Zayed: his belief in education, conservation, heritage, and culture, all underpinned by his humanitarianism. The building is designed to minimize energy usage by incorporating natural ventilation and lighting in the five towers, and will have photovoltaic panels and heat exchange technologies.

Zayed National Museum will be surrounded by a beautiful garden where landscaping and installations will explore key moments in the life of Sheikh Zayed and his transformation of the UAE.

The future Louvre Abu Dhabi will be a universal museum in the Arab world. Its very name is a testament to an unprecedented alliance between the United Arab Emirates and France, through one of the highest levels of cultural cooperation ever created between two sovereign countries. This project establishes a long and solid relationship between the renowned Musée du Louvre in Paris and Abu Dhabi, which is a dynamic force in the contemporary world.

Another world-famous museum, the Guggenheim, will be adding a new location in Abu Dhabi. Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will move beyond a definition of global art premised on geography by focusing on the interconnected dynamics of local, regional, and international art centers as well as their diverse historical contexts and sources of creative inspiration. In realizing this endeavor, the museum will acknowledge and celebrate the specific identity derived from the cultural traditions of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates, as well as with other countries comprising the Middle East, even as it pioneers a novel, visionary model that will redefine the art-historical canon.

Designed by American architect Frank Gehry, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s cones recall the region’s ancient wind towers, which both ventilate and shade the museum’s exterior courtyards in a fitting blend of Arabian tradition and modern design.

Abu Dhabi Film Festival, formerly known as the Middle East International Film Festival, is held each October. Started in 2007, ADFF aims to showcase the best films from the region alongside standout productions from prominent international filmmakers. Since 2012, the festival has been part of the Abu Dhabi Media Zone Authority, specifically under Media Zone Events, and powered by its partner company.

The Qasr Al Hosn Festival celebrates centuries of heritage and history, as well as Emirati culture and tradition. The festival also includes a lively hub of visual and performing arts programs, traditional workshops, and cultural and interactive learning experiences led by professional curators, artisans, and experts. Qasr al Hosn, the symbolic birthplace of Abu Dhabi and the first permanent structure built in the emirate that housed its royal family, Al Nahyan, for generations. Visitors can watch how Al Sadu, a traditional form of weaving, is made. Al Sadu is used to produce furnishings and decorative accessories for camels and horses.

The Abu Dhabi Food Festival features a grand banquet comprising a three course affair: ‘Gourmet Festival,’ presenting food for the connoisseur.

The Abu Dhabi Classics concert season, lasting from October through May, reflects the excellence that the emirate has achieved in the field of culture.

 

Dubai

Art Dubai, the leading international art fair in MENASA (Middle East/North Africa/South Asia), has become a cornerstone of the region’s booming contemporary art community. Recognized as one of the most globalized meeting points in the art world today, Art Dubai places an emphasis on maintaining its intimate, human scale while foregrounding quality and diversity.

SIKKA is an annual initiative of its kind, showcasing Emirati and Dubai-based artistic talent. An annual showcase specifically designed to feature UAE contemporary art practices and initiatives through diverse artistic talents and stances, SIKKA provides an opportunity to experience home-grown creativity at its liveliest and best, in the heart of Dubai. Over the last few years, SIKKA has come to be the ultimate platform for Emirati and UAE-based artists to work and engage with their international counterparts, all of whom are in the city to experience its rich cultural roster of events.

Design Days Dubai is the leading fair in the Middle East and South Asia dedicated to collectible and limited-edition furniture and design objects. The fair draws leading international designers and galleries alongside up and coming designers from across the world, and also presents a strong non-commercial program consisting of education, workshops, installations, and live performances.

Spearheading the resurgence of cinema in the region, the Dubai International Film Festival has been an influential platform for Arab filmmakers and talent since its inception in 2004. As the leading film festival in the Middle East, DIFF has extended its platform to present and honor excellence in cinema from Asia and Africa. The festival’s pioneering initiatives, such as the Muhr Awards and Dubai Film Market, have raised the profile of regional works internationally and have provided independent and established talents a venue to showcase their vision to the world.

The Dubai Festival for Youth Theater is one of the largest celebrations of theatre in the region, providing upcoming talent with a platform to showcase their skills to a wider audience, with a focus on highlighting classical Arabic.

The Women’s Museum is a national archive and documentation center, dedicated to the Emirati women. It is concerned with all aspects of women’s lives in the UAE and their historical and social contexts, which have shaped their philosophy, their status in society, and their place in the family. As a contemporary cultural center, the museum explores the activities of Emirati women in the arts, academia, business, culture, politics, and society in general. The Women’s Museum aims to acquaint visitors to the UAE with the various aspects of the daily lives of Emirati women.

Established in January 2008, Tashkeel is an independent resource for artists and designers living and working in the United Arab Emirates. Tashkeel is committed to facilitating art and design, cross-cultural dialogue, and creative exchange. Members have access to its facilities, which include studios in fine art, photography, printmaking, textile printing, MAC suite, jewelry, and sculpture.

Founded in 2008, Cuadro Fine Art Gallery located in the Dubai International Financial Center(DIFC), has quickly become one of the UAE’s premier contemporary and modern art venues. Each year, Cuadro assembles a substantial curatorial program in four distinct visual areas of interest: painting, paper, photography, and sculpture.

Founded in March 2011, Lawrie Shabibi is a contemporary art gallery located on Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue in the Al Quoz industrial district. The gallery promotes the works of relevant and innovative contemporary artists from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.  The program’s focus is on supporting established and emerging contemporary artistic talent.

XVA Gallery is one of the leading galleries in the Middle East that specializes in contemporary art from the Arab world, Iran, Pakistan, and other neighboring countries. Exhibitions showcase artworks by the region’s foremost artists, as well as those emerging onto the scene. XVA Gallery exhibits both locally and internationally, and participates in international art fairs, such as Art London, SH Contemporary, and Art Basel Hong Kong, in order to further expose Middle Eastern contemporary art.

Artspace Gallery caters to the tastes and trends of the sophisticated Dubai art market and the gallery’s discerning worldwide collector base. The gallery’s diverse clientele includes private collectors, art consultants, corporate art consultants, architects, and designers, as well as leaders in the corporate, government, diplomatic, and social sectors.

Dubai Community Theatre & Arts Center contributes to the creative and cultural development of Dubai by presenting and hosting events for Dubai’s multi-national communities and visitors. The Theatre & Arts Centre is the first modern, non-profit, cross-community creative center in the Gulf. This flagship project was the brainchild of local theatre-lovers, arts enthusiasts, artists, and business people who recognized the need for an entertainment and educational center in Dubai.

KASA is home to the KHALID SHAFAR brand – a space where all KHALID SHAFAR designs are permanently on display. KASA, which opened in late 2012, reflects founder Khalid Shafar’s ambition to create a reference point or touchstone for UAE design.

 

Sharja

The Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) brings a broad range of contemporary art and cultural programs to Sharjah, the UAE, and the region. Since 2009, SAF has built on the history of cultural collaboration and exchange that began with the first Sharjah Biennial in 1993. The foundation’s education and public programs focus on building recognition of the central role art can play in the life of a community by promoting public learning and a participatory approach to art. Sharjah Art Foundation is funded by the Department of Culture and Information, Government of Sharjah.

Music lovers take note: Sharjah once again hosted its popular World Music Festival, offering various musical genres, which blend the magnificence of international music and its recent innovations with the purity of traditional Arabic music and its contemporary trends.

The Sharjah Museums Department (SMD) was established in 2006 by H. H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, as an independent government department. SMD includes 16 museums covering Islamic art and culture, archaeology, heritage, science, marine life, and the history of Sharjah and the region. The purpose of SMD is to deliver the highest quality of museum services for Sharjah residents and visitors through its facilities, exhibitions, research, and community outreach. SMD aims to achieve an understanding, appreciation, and respect for Sharjah’s identity and for the value of its cultural and natural heritage.

Sharjah Art Museum is the largest art museum in the Gulf with both temporary exhibitions and permanent collections by renowned artists. The museum explores the history of the region through the Orientalist painters of the 18th and 19th centuries.Three floors of galleries are dedicated to modern creative expression focusing on exhibitions and collections of over 300 works of art.

 

Ras Al Khaimah

The Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival was established to bring the community together to celebrate art, create opportunities for cultural exchange, and support the creative and artistic sectors of the emirate. The festival is designed to showcase the talent and work of local artists, musicians, and filmmakers in a community setting.

The National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah served as the residence of the ruling Quwasim family until 1964, when the late Ruler, H.H. Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed al-Qasimi, moved to a modern building in Mamoura. It later became a police headquarters and a prison, before being converted into the National Museum in 1987. Reflecting its eventful history, the National Museum has been continuously enlarged over time, displaying a rich diversity of traditional architecture.