Monday, 18 June 2007

The Bastakia Art Trail

Started on the Bastakia trail today taking in two of the galleries there.

The first was the well established Majlis Gallery, the oldest in Dubai, which opened in 1970. They are very well organised with plenty of information available about the gallery, its history and each artist. Western expat artists seem to dominate but there are several regional artists too.

Some lovely textures and uses of colour but generally conservative stuff that is easy on the eye but doesn’t make much more of an impact than that. Still. I was given a VIP invite to an upcoming event so shouldn't knock it too much!

No pics of this one I’m afraid. They didn’t want me to take photos citing the dangers of the Chinese copy market, which I do understand but think that’s a battle we’re all going to lose…. in the short term at least!

The second one I saw was the XVA Gallery, which opened 4 years ago. It’s modern, it’s funky and has very interesting and quite emotional work from regional and South Asian artists. Very diverse in terms of subject matter and materials used, and definitely more innovative although a few influences were clear.

This gallery is much more than an exhibition space. It is also a café and guest house with resident artists, so is something of a creative diwan which is fantastic!

The only problem is that it’s a little too laid back in the information department! I did learn a lot from a very friendly Spanish guy but there was not enough information easily available about the diverse range of artists on display. In some cases there was no indication of the artists name, or title or - crucial for me - medium!! I think I worked most of them out but it was a bit frustrating. I really wanted more info as both an artist and viewer. It would have been nice have a few more pics (and links) on the website too.
Given the level of this work I don't think they need to worry about the Chinese copy market (yet!) so couple of pics from this one. On the right is Sabhan Adam and on the left is Nadim Karam.

More galleries to come.


  1. sounds like these galleries need an administrator!

  2. nothing for three days....we want more reflections on being in Dubai