• Dubai is becoming an important cultural hub on the world stage
    Image: Corbis
  • The Islamic Museum in Sharjah
  • Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is due to open on Saadiyat Island

Art and Culture

The UAE’s arts and culture scene is driven from the top – through government investment in new museums and cultural districts – and from the grassroots, led by trailblazers who have opened dozens of independent galleries in recent years.

In Abu Dhabi, the 27-square-kilometre Saadiyat Island will be home to the Zayed National Museum, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi, a performing arts centre and maritime museum.

Dubai, meanwhile, is emerging as an important destination for artistic institutions, dealers and collectors, all looking for art with a fresh – and distinctly global – twist.

Contemporary art show Art Dubai is now a key date on the international art world calendar, acting as a gateway to the MENASA region’s vibrant cultural scene. Works can also be seen in Dubai’s Al Quoz district. Home to a raft of studios and galleries, this former industrial quarter is being transformed into an exciting new hub for contemporary art.

Against this backdrop the major international auction houses are now basing themselves in UAE, with the likes of Christie’s Dubai breaking auction world records in the emirate.

The list of UAE cultural events and initiatives is long and growing, taking in the Sharjah Biennial, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the Abu Dhabi Festival and the Dubai and Abu Dhabi Film Festivals.

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