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Art Dubai Preview / Courtesy of The Studio
Art Dubai Preview / Courtesy of The Studio
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2013’s Up and Coming Events in the UAE

Picture of Melissa Pearce
Updated: 9 February 2017
The multicultural and modern cosmopolitan of the UAE is a hub of arts and cultural events. With an impressive 2013 cultural calendar, the events programme for the remaining Autumn and Winter months is packed, centering around the visual arts, in addition to celebrations of the country’s individual and eclectic culture.

Art | The Birth of a Museum

Abu Dhabi: 22 April – 24 August, 2013

This ground-breaking exhibition has been extended due to popular demand, and presents a series of influential works from the Louvre Abu Dhabi‘s permanent collection, which is the first of its kind. The exhibition showcases over 100 items, many of which have never before been seen by the public. The Louvre Abu Dhabi is not yet complete, but held its first exhibition in 2009 and, along with other pending cultural organisations on the Saadiyat Island complex, seeks to increase the cultural dialogues between international figures through the contemplative promotion of art. There is a focus on the area as a tie between East and West, and there are a number of exhibition talks and workshops that accompany the exhibition itself.


Art | A Verse Imprinted – Islamic Art

Dubai: 4 June – 31 August, 2013

With a focus on promoting emerging Arab artists, the Ara Gallery combines a passion of the arts with an inspiring emphasis on humanitarianism. This enables them to promote certain charities through art events, and in the past have raised money to aid the building of orphanage homes in Lesotho in Africa. The exhibition titled A Verse Imprinted promotes works from a range of artists, and sees a collaboration with the Dubai Arabic Calligraphy Centre to display works of calligraphic art that have been inspired by the Holy Quran, featuring some stunning and precisely crafted pieces. With spiritually inspired quotes in addition to prose from Arabic poetry, the exhibition portrays this especially intricate part of Arabic visual art.


Culture | Eid in Dubai

Dubai: August – September, 2013

A celebration of the Islamic festivities Eid Al Fitr (the end of Ramadan) and Eid Al Adha, Eid in Dubai centres around traditional core values and aims to emphasise these through family events and celebrations. The event is commendable for its desire to bring together the many different nationalities of Dubai and the UAE, in addition to the rest of the Middle East and also Asia. There are a number of events taking place over the course of the holiday, but two notable events are the Cirque Éloize, a professional contemporary circus show, featuring incredible acrobatics, dancing, and circus talents, in addition to a series of Dubai Arabic Comedy Nights, which will run until the end of August and feature some of the top emerging acts from the across the UAE.


Art | Larissa Sansour at Lawrie Shabibi

Dubai: 9 September – 12 November, 2013

This exhibition will be held at the renowned Lawrie Shabibi gallery in Dubai. The Lawrie Shabibi gallery was first opened in 2011, and has become a forerunner in the exhibition of contemporary art in Dubai. It works hard to support emerging talents, whilst arranging a busy schedule of public programmes. Artist Larissa Sansour’s Science Faction exhibition has received heated attention for its content, particularly for its ‘Nation Estate’ series. Initially planned for the Lacoste Elysée Prize in 2011, the exhibition’s subject matter has been contested, which resulted in the prize being cancelled. Following a growth in support, the project is now complete and the Lawrie Shabibi gallery is displaying the full collection, including works from the artist’s earlier series, A Space Exodus.


Dance | Dubai international dance festival

Dubai: 25 – 29 September 2013

The Dubai Dance Festival is in its 6th year running, and is renowned for its diverse selection of events, which span a range of art forms including both classical and contemporary dance, in addition to music performances. It is a great place for visitors to view some talented performers, and for professionals to converge and discuss ideas for future creative works. The festival holds educational programmes and workshops that run alongside the dance events, and include participation from both UAE and global organisations. Boasting itself as the largest dance event of the year, the festival will include dance parties and competitions and performances from some of the world’s top international DJs.


Music | Sandance Music Festival

Dubai: 11 October, 15 November and 31 December 2013

Following its launch date in 2010, the Sandance Music Festival at the Atlantis Hotel has become one of the largest events on the UAE music calendar. 2013 sees the famous festival celebrating its 3rd year, and the following months in Autumn make for an enjoyable end to the 2013 events. The music festival is a biannual event which will be celebrated in October, November and December, and the October event will represent an anniversary dedication with performers such as The Killers and The Wailers being confirmed to headline. Held on the vast Sandance Beach, at Atlantis in Dubai, tickets sell out fast as the festival’s popularity is rapidly growing.


Film | Abu Dhabi Film Festival

Abu Dhabi: 24 October – 2 November 2013

Founded in 2007, the Abu Dhabi Film Festival runs over a ten day programme and is dedicated to local and regional film, in addition to international cinema. The festival has become well known throughout the film and culture sphere of the UAE for harnessing the rich cultural scene in Abu Dhabi and seeking to bring together members of the local community, along with professionals in order to foster collective development. It encourages this development through engaging with and including international professionals and experts, who with them bring an influx of cultural influences to this already flourishing cultural capital of the UAE. With a focus on up and coming talents, the Abu Dhabi Film Festival is always an exciting event.


Photography | FotoWeekend 2013

Dubai: 13 – 16 November 2013

Beginning in 2009 as an offset of the annual GPP event that happens earlier in the year, FotoWeekend is a fantastic series of events for photography enthusiasts, and photographers of both beginner and professional levels. The four day event features a wonderful array of activities, exploring both indoor and out shoots, and will focus on the main genres of photography including portraits, landscapes and fine art. Activities, workshops and shoots will be led by a group of photography professionals, each of whom are especially talented in their own respective fields. The 2013 event will see repeat visits from popular photographers Louis Pang from Malaysia, and Brooke Shaden, who specialises in fine art photography.


Art | Abu Dhabi Art Fair

Abu Dhabi: 20 – 23 November

Held at the UAE pavilion, the Abu Dhabi Art Fair aims to provide an arena within which contemporary and modern artists can show their works, and seeks to bring together an assortment of creative organizations and art galleries from all over the globe. 2013 will see the fair’s 4th year, and it is known for attracting emerging and established artists, collectors, curators and artistic professionals. Its placement within the UAE pavilion in the developing Saadiyat Cultural District is testament to the city’s famous arts and culture scene. With the fair including sections on design, literature and providing areas for cultural exchanges, it is a must visit for arts and cultural enthusiasts this Autumn.


Film | Dubai International Film Festival

Dubai: 6 – 14 December, 2013

A success since its inauguration in 2004, the Dubai International Film Festival works as a focal point for local members of the film industry to form an active dialogue with international filmmakers and enthusiasts. The film industry in the UAE is steadily emerging, and with its growing popularity comes a thriving culture of cinema and fresh talent. The core events include workshops, seminars and screenings. In addition to showing a vast array of film genres, the film festival is important to the film industry in the UAE as it has supported the Dubai Film Market in developing, promoting, producing and distributing film from across the Middle East. Through this, the festival offers professional and financial support to emerging talents within the industry, enabling new filmmakers to pitch potential ideas within a creative and encouraging environment.


By Melissa Pearce