5 Reasons You Should Visit UAE’s Art Galleries – by Maán Jalal
It’s been an amazing few weeks for the UAE’s art and culture scene. The long-awaited Louvre Abu Dhabi has opened its doors to the public, Art Abu Dhabi has officially started and Alserkal Avenue has an array of new exhibitions to start off the art season. And this is only the start of the winter months descend on Dubai with more art exhibitions, initiatives, and talks in and around Dubai.
This is great news for art enthusiasts in the UAE. However, there are many of people out there who know that they should be interested in art, who can see that it’s a worthwhile activity to take part in but don’t. Art can be mysterious and bizarre. Galleries and museums can also be strange and intimidating places, especially if you don’t frequent them often. So why should we engage ourselves and our families in this long time social practice of visiting galleries and museums on the weekends? What are the benefits? Well here are five simple reasons why you should engage with the arts in the UAE.
Did you know that galleries are free? While museums entrance fees are minimal compared to what you get in return. When you enter an art gallery or museum you’re invited to have an experience. You are literally swept up into an era, a world, a story that is far removed from yourself and your own experiences. Whether educational, inspiring or interesting you’ll definitely be leaving with an experience to remember.
Think of galleries and museums like a living and breathing book or even a movie. Each room or space you enter, each artwork or artifact you look at is part of a larger story. It all should be explained to you in a cohesive manner to give you an insight into an idea or era. This type of visual experience over a period of time not only entertains you and helps to develop your aptitude for empathy but will naturally make you smarter.
It doesn’t matter where you come from or what you do, it’s almost impossible to walk through a gallery or museum and not leave feeling inspired. Ask anyone who is a frequent gallery or museum visitor and they’ll tell you that there is always one piece of work or one exhibition that inspired them to be better, do better or learn more. Why would you not want to be inspired?
The UAE has managed to build a growing and vibrant infrastructure within the arts and culture sector over the last decade. This is definitely an achievement worth celebrating. For the first time in a long time, Arab and Middle Eastern artists from the region and abroad now have a platform where their work is accessible to a diverse range of people. Being part of that movement isn’t only imperative but it’s exciting that we might be witnessing the rise of artists whose work will be celebrated for generations to come.
Bridge the Cultural Gap
Now more than ever, it’s important for us to be able to communicate with cultures and countries that are completely different than our own. Art and culture have a long history in building cultural bridges with the rest of the world. It really is our duty living here in the UAE to support the local arts scene by simply showing up and experiencing the exhibitions on display.
Maán Jalal is a writer, journalist and video content creator. With over 11 years of experience as a journalist, Maán has covered arts, culture, and entertainment after graduating from a Bachelor of Fine arts (2006) and a Masters in Creative Writing with first class honors (2010). Maán has a real passion for education and reading fiction and has a website and a YouTube Channel dedicated to book reviews with a leaning towards contemporary Arab and Muslim centric narratives and writers, videos essays discussing issues pertaining to Arab identity in pop culture as well as interviewing personalities and celebrities from the arts and culture sector here in the UAE and abroad.