Not sure if you guys know the area in Dubai called Al Quoz, it was one of the areas that was infected with cockroaches, rats, cheaply paid labourers and dirty factories. Over the years we have avoided going there unless we really need to repair our cars in one of its hundreds of car repair shops; also in those days, if you are coming from Abu Dhabi side first you would pass the racecourse, then a complete nothing then you will see the scattered shacks that were considered warehouses and factories.
In the past few years that area started to have a new face, it is now a scene to art galleries, museums, expensive artifacts in the country. Courtyard, Jamjar and many others have their exclusive art galleries in Al Quoz area, but suddenly I get invited to a place called the Shelter, not easy to find in the beginning as it is hidden inside a huge warehouse-like building called Serkal Avenue. What is really weird is that once you are inside this huge warehouse looking building you will find rows and rows of art galleries as if you are in the midst of New york, Barcelona or Paris, and the people that own these galleries are not really known to me, except one of the oldest gallery in Dubai that used to be near our old house in Jumeirah, now it had moved there too and had the opening of the art show of a Syrian artist called Ziad Dalloul, really stunning pieces but really gloomy too, in actual fact it resembled the situation in Syria as we speak. One of the owners is my friend Amna, who recognized the opportunity 25 years ago, when she established the first gallery in Dubai (there was another one in Abu Dhabi too). here are some photos of the art pieces:
Anyway, when I talked to the co-owner of the gallery about my brother and his wife (who are both great artists but not known) and the possibility of having their art at the gallery, signed my name and wondered around to see the other galleries. The scene was astonishing, it was as if every who and who in the country was there, every magazine, every photographer, shaikhs, ambassadors,artists, us the unknown, and buyers of art where there. Even the food and drink on display and distribution was amazing (apart from the fact that they were even serving champagne which I almost took but knowing me I asked the waiter if it is was sparkling juice or alcoholic drink and she nodded, so I asked her to get me watermelon juice). After wondering around the place I spotted a person that I knew, started to chat with her about art, and why we all love it, then she introduced me to her french friends who were artist and we decided to meet to discuss how to make these artists and my brother and his wife known too.
Sorry if I am digressing here, but the whole thing is fascinating to me as I used to travel abroad just to get a culture injection, now one doesn’t need to do that, as you can find all sorts of things that you need to make your mind wonder few meters away from your house, or your place of work. I do feel however that there should be a directory of artists same as we would have a directory of doctors, dentists, accountants, inventors and so on. Art is as important as other forms science, the expressions of all artists is as important as the creation of new gadgets, why wouldn’t we encourage all of them to step forward and register themselves? Who knows, maybe soon we will have a Salvador Dally or a Picasso amongst us.
The following images are for my nephews and nieces learning to drew and the teacher is my sister in law:
And this too is art, but drawn on faces, these two boys are my nephews who are living in Bahrain, who were portraying the Arab spring over there in a Halloween fashion: