DUBAI // A Syrian artist has praised the city's monthly Art Nights for allowing him to show his work at a time when it is almost impossible to do so at home.
Mouteea Murad, whose exhibit Through The Looking Glass will be on display at Ayyam Gallery in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), said he was pleased to be able to overcome the current unrest in his homeland.
Damascus-based Murad said: "The creativity in Syria is ever growing and evolving intellectually.
"The situation just limits our opportunity to market our art to the general public. I'm glad through Ayyam Gallery and Art Nights, I'm able to reach out to a wider audience abroad, overcoming the circumstances in my home."
As for his first solo exhibit in Dubai, Murad hoped the mixed-theme effort would "send a message of happiness, peace, love and positive energy, as well as an invitation to approach your inner spirituality".
His is one of four new exhibits on show at Arts Nights @ Gate Village, which features eight galleries. This is the last instalment of the series before summer to include live music and one-off receptions of current shows.
Ayyam Gallery opened in DIFC last October and launched the revival of Art Nights alongside other Gate Village galleries.
Hisham Samawi, who is the co-owner of Ayyam Gallery, and several others restarted Art Nights - initially launched by the DIFC a year ago - due to demand from the public. He said Arts Nights helped with his decision to open up shop in the refined confines of the DIFC.
"We decided to be proactive after people in the city kept asking us when Art Nights was coming back," he said.
"Dubai is such a diverse city, with such a robust art scene, that allowing people to come to something like this and sample all that in one night is great."
Part of the appeal of the event, he added, was that people could move from gallery to gallery with ease.
All eight galleries in the DIFC, from Art Space to The Empty Quarter, are participating in the event.
"When it comes to art, our strength is in numbers," said Mr Samawi. "There is a reason why there are eight galleries here, in DIFC and Al Quoz and none in Jebel Ali."
The opinion was mirrored by Roberto Lopardo, an American artist represented by the Cuadro Fine Art Gallery. His photographic project, Mapping Dubai, is among those being showcased tomorrow.
"These galleries are showing solidarity, which has helped to create a movement," he said.
A professor of photography at the American University in Dubai and a resident of the city for seven years, Lopardo said the feeling created by the event was reminiscent of the art scene in New York or Berlin.
Art Nights will also see the popular local musician Noush Like Sploosh bring "jazzy folk" to the audience. The singer-songwriter was approached to take part after missing out on a slot at Art Dubai.
"I kept hearing about Art Nights and it was amazing to hear that it restarted," she said.
Noush will also support Gayathri, a musical collaboration that will see a string quartet descend on Gate Village.
Those who are unable to make it to the one-night event need not worry, said Mr Samawi, who promised, "this will be the first of many more."
Art Nights @ Gate Village will take place from 7pm to 9pm tomorrow and entry is free. For more information, visit www.difc.ae/art-nights-gate-village.