In a city that is often called cultureless, creative
types have finally found themselves a home in the Al Quoz industrial zone,
where dust blows across pot-holed roads and trucks rumble past on their way to warehouses on unidentifiable backstreets.
The maze-like, shambolic area has housed a few art
galleries for some years now, but they were lost and unconnected among the industrial
laundries, wood importers and uniform manufacturers. Going to see an exhibition
took determination and patience, as the streets, quite literally, had no names.
But with the twin developments of Dubai Marina and Downtown (the area
with Burj Khalifa at its centre) in recent years, this industrial zone now sits
halfway between two popular residential areas and is being reborn as cultural
and arts centre, thanks to cheap rent and creative vision.
Over this past year, Dubai’s artistic minds have
collaborated to bring about Al Serkal
Avenue, a one block radius of interconnected back roads in Al Quoz that is
the focal point of this cutting-edge arts movement. Warehouses are being dusted
off, repainted and revitalized; new galleries, installations and music spaces
are springing up; and the arts scene finally has a recognizable -- and
locatable -- home. Today there are almost 40 creative and industrial businesses
here, including more than 20 art galleries.
And there are exciting things going on for
visitors to the city. Carbon 12 is showing
an exhibition from American multi-media artist James Clar through 8 December; Ayyam
Gallery is hosting Syrian artist Tammam Azzam’s Syria exhibition until 31
December, fuelled by the political upheaval in the country over the last year;
and musical space The Fridge is holding
Hour Film Project, the world’s largest filmmaking competition, with the best
being screened starting in mid-November.
is the Dubai Localite for BBC Travel. She also writes the hotel review blog sogoodtogetoutofthecity.wordpress.com