Alserkal Avenue Dubai
One of the best attractions in Dubai, Alserkal Avenue now includes more than 40 warehouses, transformed into galleries, artisanal cafés, dance studios, and more. The community has sustained a culture of creativity and is now one of the region’s leading art centers.
Since its simple beginnings as a standalone gallery in 2008. Alserkal Avenue grew and became a popular parade of gallery exhibitions and examples of modern artwork, as well as seasonal events and open-air community days.
It’s the first such area or community to exist in the UAE and comes under the guidance of Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate-winner Rem Koolhaas. Even if you’re not typically a fan of the arts, it’s worth making time to visit Alserkal Avenue’s contemporary galleries and artistic community spaces.
It’s considered now a compound which is Dubai’s true present and modern art hub, arguably the most vibrant in the Middle East. Home to a great number of art galleries, Alserkal Avenue is a lifestyle vulture’s delight. Visit the decade-old, one of the emirate’s first contemporary art vanguards, The Third Line, which focuses particularly on contemporary Middle Eastern artists, Isabel Van den Eynde, known for its strong showing of Middle Eastern and North African talent, and Leila Heller, an outpost of a beloved New York gallery that places Western artists with Middle Eastern, Central, and Southeast Asian talent.
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Alserkal Avenue Sightseeing
Majestic polycarbonate-clad Concrete, the first building to be completed by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in the United Arab Emirates, offers exhibitions from prestigious establishments, such as London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and the Hayward Gallery, free of charge. Inside, multiple space arrangements include the art of all dimensions, and when the full-height doors are withdrawn, the interior mixes with the outdoor courtyard, to exciting effect. An outstanding supporter of the arts Malini Gulrajani showcases compelling contemporary Indian collections in her 1X1 Gallery. Expect modern installations that provide a narrative on the human condition, such as Mumbai sculptor Sunil Gawde’s elephant setting on an egg, titled Still Alive III, a story that recalls life’s awkward moments and the ongoing struggle for stability and balance.
Alserkal’s most famous artist in residency, eL Seed, grew to influence following projects such as Study in which his ‘calligraffiti’ spread across 50 buildings in a rundown neighborhood of unofficial garbage collectors drew attention to misconceptions about the community. His eponymous Alserkal studio is stocked with smaller works suited to home hanging and welcomes buyers by appointment. Get a handle on Middle Eastern art at The Third Line, housing two galleries given to promoting Arab talent. Past exhibitions prove that the genre extends far beyond calligraphy, with the botanical installations of Iranian visual artist Abbas Akhavan and the vividly monochrome photography of Libyan-Canadian photographer Arwa Abouon thoughtfully examining the role of Muslim women in Western society.
Shopping at Alserkal Avenue
Chi-Ka is a gallery-boutique specializing in traditionally printed kimono-abayas displayed like canvases on the walls of this typically minimalist Far East-inspired atelier. A scale model of Alserkal Avenue that complements User-friendly maps stocked at information points are complemented by a scale model of Alserkal Avenue at A4 Space, an area designed for coworking. Come here for free wi-fi, a book from the trusted library, coffee, a bathroom break, and pop-up shopping. Earlier guest vendors include Dubai-based British designer Deborah Henning, popular for crisp, androgynous tailoring, and affordable jewelry sourced by regional retailers Vice.
Dubai’s only independent record shop screens music documentaries, and hosts talks and the occasional block party in Alserkal’s public outdoor space called The Yard. Sports footwear enthusiasts worship at The Good Life, a gallery-like space dedicated to designer kicks. If you’re in the market for the latest Yeezys or a rare Cortez Kenny house shoe, you might get lucky here. Passionate about furnishings, the Saudi founder of The Odd Piece, Arwa Hafiz, and her team of experts clean souqs and antique markets around the world in search of various items to restore and resell at this quirky gallery of collectibles.
Where to eat in Alserkal Avenue
Plant-based restaurant Wild & The Moon recently opened a second venue in Paris, like the recognition of its smoothies, vitamin-loaded juice shots and palette of lattes that features golden (turmeric-infused), green (matcha) and black (charcoal), all made with vegan ‘milk’ produced in house. Enjoy these achingly on-trend tipples beneath a veritable garden of hanging plants while mulling over an Instagrammable bowl of acai or Moon porridge laced with organic syrup. Founded by a boutique bean supplier, Nightjar serves coffee short, long, black, flat, white, slow drip, and more. Food includes spuds with cream, polenta mash with gravy, and hot-buttered sourdough toast, except for a taste of the UAE, try the Dibba Bay buttie with oysters farmed within the emirate of Fujairah.
Best time to go to Alserkal Avenue Dubai
The weekends in January every year play host to Quoz Arts Fest, a street art party with food stalls, live performances, DJ sets, and open-air film screenings. In March, Art Week at Alserkal Avenue could be a time for brand spanking new exhibitions and gallery openings. Every September, galleries increase the opening hours for a program of exhibitions with late-night viewings called Alserkal Lates, and in November there's a month of programming designed to tie in with Dubai Design Week, a city-wide event to market design and creativity, and also the four-day Abu Dhabi Art Fair.
If you are interested in art galleries, exhibitions, or even shopping, so the best place to have all of this is Alserkal Avenue!