A guide to museums and galleries that have reopened across the UAE
All galleries and art spaces require masks for entry, with varying restrictions on the number of people allowed in the space
As the UAE government continues to ease lockdown restrictions, people are returning to public spaces, including parks and beaches, and businesses are beginning to reopen.
A growing number of art galleries have also started returning to regular timings, replacing the appointment-only arrangements implemented around the end of April.
For most of these reopened art spaces, the rules for entry are similar: masks must be worn at all times and a distance of two metres between people not from the same household or family must be maintained.
We will continue to update the list below as more venues reopen. It includes timings for galleries, as well as the measures being taken towards protecting visitors against Covid-19.
Louvre Abu Dhabi
After shuttering in March, the museum reopened its doors on Wednesday, June 24.
Its timings are from 10am to 6.30pm daily, except Mondays.
The museum currently operates at 40 per cent capacity, and visitors must book slots in advance to be guaranteed entry. Visits are restricted to three hours maximum.
As with other places in the UAE, sterilisation machines and temperature detectors have been installed at each entrance. Masks and gloves are mandatory for staff and visitors.
There will be no tours, but digital guides will be available to download on smartphones. Touch screens have been removed from all facilities.
Louvre Abu Dhabi's exhibition Furusiyya: The Art of Chivalry between East and West will be on view from Wednesday, July 1, until Sunday, October 18. The display explores the knightly traditions of the Islamic and Christian worlds, showcasing 130 artefacts, from weaponry and armour to manuscripts and decorative objects. This includes swords, crossbows, turban helmets and medallions, as well as items of artistry such as ceramic bowls, reliefs and tapestries. Divided into three sections, the exhibition examines the emergence of horse riding, warfare and the lives of knights in both cultures.
Abu Dhabi's other cultural sites, including Cultural Foundation and Qasr Al Hosn, also opened on June 24.
In Al Ain, the Al Ain Oasis's outdoor areas, Qasr Al Muwaiji, Al Jahili Fort and Al Ain Palace Museum are also back to welcoming visitors.
The cultural sites are open from 10am to 7pm between Saturdays and Thursdays, and from 2pm to 7pm on Fridays. Like Louvre Abu Dhabi, visitors must reserve slots online prior to their arrival.
The Cultural Foundation is hosting three exhibitions, including The Red Palace, which highlights the material culture of Saudi Arabia through the works of Sultan Bin Fahad and Common Ground, a group exhibition with 13 artists that explores links between Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Abu Dhabi Children’s Library exhibition, Step into a Story, explores the role of pop-up and moveable books in literacy development.
Sharjah Art Foundation
The first phase of Sharjah Art Foundation’s reopening will begin on Friday, June 26. Select venues, specifically the foundation's Al Mureijah Art Spaces and Al Mureijah Square and Rain Room Sharjah, will be open to the public daily from 4pm to 9pm on Fridays and from 9am to 9pm between Saturdays and Thursdays.
All visitors are required to wear face masks. The foundation is also undertaking other safety measures, including operating at limited capacity, enhanced disinfection of spaces and temperature checks of staff and visitors.
On view is a major exhibition curated by Omar Kholeif titled Art in the Age of Anxiety, which explores the impact of digital technology on society and features more than 30 international contemporary artists and art collectives. Visits are limited to 45 minutes per person. The show will run until Saturday, September 26.
For Rain Room Sharjah, visits are limited to five guests at a time, with a 15-minute time limit for each person.
The foundation has created an online booking system to enable visitors to schedule a time slot ahead of their arrival in Sharjah.
Sharjah Art Museum
Sharjah Art Museum, as well as Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation (SMIC), Sharjah Archaeology Museum and Sharjah Aquarium, are now open from 10am to 6pm, Saturdays to Thursdays. The museums are closed on Fridays.
Two temporary exhibitions at the Sharjah Art Museum are on view, specifically Aida Muluneh's Homebound: A Journey in Photography, which features the Ethiopian artist's conceptual images and Fairytales Come True: Worlds from the Imagination of Hans Christian Andersen, which celebrates the author's life and work through interactive displays.
Barjeel Art Foundation's permanent collection A Century in Flux – Chapter II is also on view.
At SMIC, visitors can see more than 5,000 unique Islamic artefacts, including the clothing of the Ka’aba, known as the “Kiswah”, and rare Quran manuscripts.
Sharjah's museums will operate at 50 per cent capacity. Vistors' temperatures will be checked prior to entry, and face masks and gloves must be worn inside. The emirate's remaining museums will reopen gradually, following a four-phase plan outlined by the Sharjah Museums Authority.
Maraya Art Centre
Located in Sharjah’s Shurooq complex, Maraya Art Centre returned to regular timings over Eid, operating from 10am to 7pm from Saturday to Thursday, and 4pm to 7pm on Fridays. Temperature checks will be conducted at the entrance, with masks and gloves required for visitors.
Only 10 people are allowed into the galleries at a time, and elevators are restricted to one passenger for each ride.
Currently, the centre is exhibiting Shaikha Al Mazrou’s Rearranging the Riddle and the group show The Place I Call Home.
Dubai's Etihad Museum, which traces the story of how the UAE came to be, is open to visitors from 10am and 5pm daily. Its collection includes personal artefacts and interactive installations about the unification of the emirates in 1971.
Dubai Culture's other museums, such as the Al Shindagha Museum and the Coins Museum in Al Fahidi Historical District, are also open. Timings for the former are from 10am and 5pm daily, while the latter operates from 8am to 2pm, Sunday to Thursday.
Visitors' temperatures will be checked prior to entry, and masks must be worn inside the museums.
Naif Museum and Museum of the Poet Al Oqaili
The Naif and Poet Al Oqaili museums started welcoming visitors back on Wednesday, 1 July. The timings are from 8am to 2pm, Sunday to Thursday. Both spaces operate at 50 per cent capacity and group entries are limited to five members at a time. Visitors are required to wear masks before entering the museums, and thermal scanners will be present at the entrance.
Located in Deira, the Naif Museum shows parts of Naif Castle, originally built in 1939 as the first police station in Dubai. The museum highlights the history of police in Dubai, with historical documents and decrees related to Dubai Police dating back to 1956.
The Museum of the Poet Al Oqaili is a heritage house constructed in 1923 and formerly owned by poet Mubarak bin Hamad bin Mubarak Al Manea Al Oqaili. The Emirati poet's original documents and collections are on view.
Jameel Arts Centre
Located along the Al Jaddaf Waterfront, the contemporary art institution is open again after being closed since March 16.
Jameel Arts Centre has introduced guidelines amid the Covid-19 pandemic, including asking visitors to book a two-hour slot online before arriving, which allows the centre to monitor capacity. The venue is open daily except Tuesdays, from 10am to 6pm. Children aged below 12 and adults above the age of 60 are not allowed to visit as per UAE regulations.
As with other places in the country, visitors must undergo temperature scan at entry and wear masks. Each gallery has been designated a certain capacity, and security staff will ensure this is maintained.
On view until November is Michael Rakowitz’s major survey exhibition featuring large-scale installations that consider the ways architecture, artefacts and geopolitics intersect. In the lobby is Lubna Chowdhary’s Metropolis, a world of 1,000 ceramic structures that are vibrant and abstract. It is on view until October.
From June 10, Jameel Arts Centre is presenting new iterations of their Artist’s Rooms series, with works by Larissa Sansour, Taysir Batniji and Lawrence Abu Hamdan.
1x1 Art Gallery
1x1 Art Gallery resumed timings from 10am to 7pm earlier this month. Visitors are required to wear masks and gloves, with only eight to 10 people allowed in the space at one time.
The gallery is currently presenting a group exhibition entitled Tapestry of Fading Gardens, which draws together works by contemporary Pakistani artists that bear remnants of classical traditions, modernist elements and indigenous identities. In the show, creations by emerging and established artists, including Adeela Suleman, Salima Hashmi, Ghulam Mohammad, Saba Qizilbash, Sarah Ahmad and Ali Kazim, are displayed side by side, offering a diverse look at the country’s art scene.
Presenting a solo exhibition of Andre Butzer, which features the German artist’s colourful and playful paintings, the gallery resumed its usual timings of Saturday to Thursday, 11.30am to 7pm.
The gallery says it is “maintaining government directives”, including ensuring that social distancing is maintained and there will be “frequent wipe-downs of common touch points”.
Five visitors are allowed at a time, with mandatory face masks. Hand sanitisers are also readily available, and temperature checks are conducted at the entrance of Alserkal Avenue.
Back to its pre-pandemic hours, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde (IVDE) is now open from Saturdays to Thursdays, 10am to 6pm.
The space can welcome five people in at one time, with masks required for all visitors and hand sanitisers available at the entrance. Temperature scans will be conducted at the entrance of the avenue in Al Quoz, where the gallery is located.
On view is Mohammed Kazem’s Infinite Angles, which features the Emirati artist’s new works on paper, including an installation comprised of a found door and his signature method of scratches on paper. The show also includes new hyperrealistic paintings.
Green Art Gallery
The gallery is operating from Saturday to Thursday, 10am to 7pm. The usual measures apply, including the two-metre rule between people and the use of face masks. Temperature checks are completed at the gate of Alserkal Avenue.
On display is a group exhibition with recent works by Kamrooz Aram, Alessandro Balteo-Yazbeck, Hera Buyuktasciyan, Lubna Chowdhary and Ana Mazzei.
Gulf Photo Plus
Gulf Photo Plus is back to hosting photography workshops in their Al Quoz space, though with about 50 per cent reduced capacity following restrictions from the UAE government. Teachers and students must have face covered for the duration of the class, with a distance of two-metres to be maintained at all times. Classrooms are sanitised after each session.
Those looking to purchase books and film at the space are asked to refrain from touching the products, and should ask for assistance from GPP staff instead.
In the gallery, GPP is currently presenting All What I Want Is Life, a photography exhibition that documents the protest movements that have swept the Middle East and North Africa in the last year.
Meem Gallery's exhibition, which opens on Wednesday, July 1, focuses on modern Egyptian sculpture with works by Mahmoud Mokhtar, Adam Henein and Armen Agop. The show looks at three generations of Egyptian sculptors and traces the development of sculpture in modern and contemporary art, as well as the country's heritage in the art form.
The exhibition, which is on until Saturday, September 19, will be dedicated to Henein, who recently passed away in May at the age of 91. A prominent figure in Egypt's Modernist movement, the artist sculpted bronze, wood, clay, and granite into curving forms that drew elements from ancient Egyptian sculpture.
The art studio and education centre, which typically offers workshops and classes in its space, but has recently shared tutorials online, has reduced their timings to open only twice a week: Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 12pm to 6pm. Classes have not resumed yet, but visitors can use the studio for DIY painting sessions.
Temperatures will be recorded at the entrance, and visitors – who must be masked and gloved – will be required to sanitise their hands in the reception area. Children under the age of 6 are not allowed, and those aged 6 to 12 must be accompanied by a guardian.
Following social distancing rules, the easels have been spaced two metres apart. All materials are washed after every use. Only 25 people are allowed inside at a time.
Updated: July 1, 2020 04:41 PM