Dubai is home to a rapidly-growing art scene that attracts people from all around the world. But where can you go to enjoy the creative masterpieces that have been proudly displayed by local and international artists? The answer is, emphatically, Alserkal Avenue. Home to galleries, creative spaces and an eclectic array of events all year round, this inspirational hub of art is well worth a visit – and our guide is the perfect companion.
ABOUT ALSERKAL AVENUE
Founded in the year 2007 by Emirati businessman and patron, Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, Alserkal Avenue is a shimmering hope of an artistic Dubai – where everyone gets involved in sharing ideas.
Located in the industrial district of Al Quoz, it has made a significant impact on the creative landscape of the emirate and welcomed local, regional and international businesses. The venue is equally popular among residents and visitors as well as tourists.
Home to beautiful art galleries, homegrown businesses and non-profit organisations, art lovers can rejoice when they visit Alserkal Avenue, Dubai’s artsy hot spot. Besides, it is just the place to enjoy a cup of coffee while engaging in intellectual debate with your friends.
THE ALSERKAL ARTS FOUNDATION
The Alserkal Arts Foundation supports work that is socially engaging and has multi-disciplinary practices. It also favours projects that facilitate cross-cultural exchange based on the four core initiatives:
- Public art commissions
- Research grants
- Educational programmes.
The foundation empowers Dubai-based cultural practitioners and those who critically investigate the artistic themes of the region. Opportunities for research, artistic production and scholarship encourage artists to take risks and explore newer areas. The foundation’s activities are supported by Mr Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal. Here’s a quick look at some of the programmes hosted by Alserkal.
- The Tree School Chronicles
- Fahd Burki and Ala Ebtekar – Take to the Skies
- Mud, Minarets and Meaningless Events – A Research Convening
- A Slightly Curving Place
- A Tour Through a Supplementary Country Called Cinema
- Reshaping the Narrative of the Desert – Modern Excavations
The arts foundation commission art projects, supports alternative learning and awards research. There are multiple spaces where different programmes are held to promote local and international artists. Let’s see what the art foundation offers.
RESIDENCY + RESEARCH
The studio at Alserkal Avenue hosts two residency cycles every year. The residency is research-based and focuses on generating discursive exchange.
Throughout the year, multiple programmes are held at the art foundation. The goal is to encourage artists channel their imagination. Experimentation and critical feedback are at the heart of programmes at Alserkal Avenue Dubai.
This is a common ground for academic researchers and cultural practitioners. It is an interdisciplinary space dedicated to writing and study groups. You can also book a meeting room here, all you have to do is check with the management to reserve your slot.
- Timing: Monday to Saturday, 10:00 am – 06:00 pm | Closed on Sunday
Currently, Alserkal Avenue houses various art, design and creative spaces. This 500,000 sq. ft. district is a vibrant community where numerous designers, visual/ performing arts organisations and artisanal spaces are thriving. There’s plenty to see and do when you visit. You can find foundations, private collections, community concepts as well as homegrown chocolate shops.
CONCRETE – ALSERKAL AVENUE DUBAI
Concrete is one of the main features of the Alserkal art district. Inaugurated in 2017, this multi-disciplinary space was the brainchild of Mr Alserkal. This was the first building to be completed by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). For its beautiful and efficient layout, Concrete was shortlisted for the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. This was the first time a building from Dubai had been shortlisted for the prestigious award.
The building was designed to transition as per the demand of the artists. Artists can mould the place based on their vision, which empowers their creativity. This is one reason international museum-grade exhibitions are held here. Visitors have enjoyed events related to design, fashion and performing arts.
This is a multi-purpose outdoor space adjacent to Concrete. It can be booked for recreational activities and can accommodate upto 600 people.
SHELL & CORE
Want to host a private event? Then Shell & Core is an ideal space for you. Located in Warehouse 46, it is 360 sqm and can accommodate upto 200 people. It also features a pantry and a restroom.
Jossa by Alserkal Avenue Dubai is located in Warehouse 45 and is created to preserve the contemporary architectural heritage of the UAE. It is bespoke space where you can host exhibits and events. It can house upto 200 people.
Who says you need to visit Broadway to get a taste of improv? Those interested in standup, plays and dance can check out The Junction Dubai – an ideal platform for local performers. The idea behind the venue was conceived in 2015 and brings together comedians, dancers, poets, actors, artists, musicians, writers, producers, directors and composers.
Movie enthusiasts can head over to Cinema Akil. The Alserkal Avenue cinema regularly features independent art films and hosts film festivals that are not to be missed. Considered one of the best outdoor cinemas in Dubai, it is a permanent member of the Network of Arab Alternative Screens (NAAS) and many other notable organisations.
If you get hungry, you can head over to any of the restaurants in Alserkal Avenue. Some of the most popular options include Project Chaiwala, Wild & The Moon, Appetite and Techarc. For a caffeine fix, Nightjar Coffee Roasters has got you covered.
PROGRAMMES AT ALSERKAL AVENUE DUBAI
Typically, the avenue hosts events related to design, fashion, art and performing arts. Programs by some of the most well-known art houses like New York-based Heller and Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde have been cherished by art lovers in the UAE. Let’s take a look at some of the programmes that are held annually here.
QUOZ ARTS FEST
A year-round programme has been developed to promote art, cultural education and engagement at Al Quoz Alserkal Avenue. Screenings, workshops and talks are held and the venue sets the stage for artists and critical thinkers to come together. The Quoz Arts Fest organises talks, workshops, performances, art installations and exhibitions. The event is free for the public.
ALSERKAL ART WEEK
Art Week at Alserkal Avenue takes place in conjunction with the Dubai Art Week. New exhibitions, Guest Projects, Majlis Talks and commissions are held by local and international artists and curators. November in Alserkal Avenue also hosts a month-long celebration of art. Performances, workshops, talks and warehouse takeovers are the highlight of this wonderful event that one can attend in early winter.
It’s common for many popular tourist destinations to not operate during the month of Ramadan. However, with Ramadan at the Alserkal Avenue program, things are in full swing at Alserkal. People visit to enjoy pop up traditional iftars, musical evenings, tours, exhibitions and other activities. Most galleries at the venue remain open until late at night to allow people to experience the rich tradition of Arabic hospitality.
ALSERKAL AVENUE EVENTS
You can attend the following Alserkal Avenue events 2023. All details regarding the events are available on the official website.
- The Follower – till 30th August
- Fragile, Handle with Care – till 17th September
- Four am – till 9th September
- Made in Tashkeel 2023 – till 11th October
- Inhale/Exhale – till 22nd September
- Martin Scorsese Retrospective – till 14th September
- Only Life, Myriad Places: Sudarshan Shetty – from 25th August till 9th December
- Timeless by Robert Santore – from 1st September till 1st October
- MORAL CODES by Josh Rowell – from 6th September till 6th November
- Breaking Boundaries: A journey through the evolution of language – from 1st October till 1st November
FAQS ABOUT ALSERKAL AVENUE DUBAI
CAN I HOST EVENTS AT ALSERKAL AVENUE?
Yes, there is space available for rent at Alserkal Avenue. The experienced event management team can help design the arena as per your demands. The Alserkal Avenue team regularly takes up the Development of bespoke concepts.
WHAT ARE THE ALSERKAL AVENUE TIMINGS?
Alserkal Avenue Timings are from Saturday to Thursday: 10:00 am to 07:00 pm.
WHAT IS THE ALSERKAL AVENUE OF LOCATION?
The location of Alserkal Avenue Dubai is 17th Street, Al Quoz, Dubai
HOW CAN I CONTACT ALSERKAL AVENUE’S MANAGEMENT?
You can call the management at + 971-4-333-3464.
This wraps up our guide to Alserkal Avenue. It is a little surprising to find such a culturally rich place in an industrial district. Still, the compound attracts art lovers in large numbers. The activities and events on offer are a delight for anyone with even a remote interest in art.
Besides, Alserkal Avenue, you can also visit the Selfie museum in Dubai. It is a fascinating experience, a testament to how modern technology is now influencing art. 3D World Dubai is another similar place which provides an immersive, artistic experience.
Want to continue your artistic journey? There are many more art galleries in Dubai that are worth exploring. Or if you want to live in the cultural hubs of the UAE, our guide lists the top five areas.
The cover image is courtesy of Alserkal Avenue’s Instagram account.