x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Summer of fun in the UAE

If you're worried that the start of the summer means the end of your cultural life, look no further. From art exhibitions to cinema screenings and beyond, we've got the lowdown on some of the highlights of the next three months.

Untitled, from the Third Line gallery.
Untitled, from the Third Line gallery.


Exhibitions are a reliable staple of the summer, and while some of the big players, including Jam Jar and Mojo, have yet to finalise their offerings, here are some of the highlights from those that have already been announced.

From June 2-13 at Abu Dhabi's Ghaf Gallery you can see Inspirations From the Deep, an exhibition of work by the participants in Jalal Luqman's annual art trip, which this year took its inspiration from the UAE's underwater environment. Call 02 665 5332 for more information.

Also in Abu Dhabi, until June 17, the first-ever solo exhibition of the Emirati artist Hassan Sharif: a 31-year retrospective of his work can be seen at the Qasr Al Hosn Cultural Centre. Visit www.adach.ae for more information.

From June 4 to July 7, you can catch an exhibition by the Bahrain-born artist Jamal Abdul Rahim at The Majlis Gallery in Dubai (www.themajlisgallery.com).

The Syrian photographer Jaber al Azmeh will be exhibiting his new work at the Green Art Gallery. His Traces exhibition (June 6 to July 17) features what is described as "a junkyard utopia" with images of empty rusting oil barrels, derelict buildings and walls, tires and abandoned cars (gagallery.wordpress.com).

From next week, Carbon 12 is taking a more futuristic route with Division by Zero (June 6 to September 15). Featuring the works of Anahita Razmi, Mathias Garnitschnig, Aamir Habib and Florian Hafele, art works include sculpture and photography. Division by Zero aims to explore "the paradox that makes computers and minds crash alike" (www.carbon12dubai.com).

The Empty Quarter Gallery will showcase the works of six emerging artists from the Indian subcontinent. With Of Blind Men and Elephants (June 14-July 31), the photographers attempt to give "a glimpse of the living entity that is India"(www.theemptyquarter.com).

XVA Gallery will also show a group exhibition from its roster of artists. Called Position, Velocity, Acceleration (June 18 to September 18), the exhibition is a celebration of the gallery's progress thus far. At this stage, only artist Sami al Karim has been confirmed with more to be announced soon (www.xvagallery.com).

The Third Line's intriguingly named Snail Fever (June 22 to July 28), brings a range of artists such as Abbas Akhavan, Fatima al Qadiri and Khalid Gharaballi in an exhibition featuring a mix of photography, video, installation and painting (www.thethirdline.com).

Those who haven't yet made it to Splendours of Mesopotamia exhibition at Manarat Al Saadiyat on Saadiyat Island have until June 27 to catch it. There's also an ArtScape event taking place towards the end of the exhibition on June 23 (www.artsabudhabi.ae).

Traffic will be launching three summer exhibitions beginning in June and running throughout the summer. These are The Graduate, which will showcase work by students from the Sharjah School of Fine Arts; a group show by the gallery's roster of artists titled Observe and Report; and Concrete Block, a solo exhibition by the acclaimed Saudi Arabian conceptual artist Abdulnasser Gharem, which will feature his largest installation to date (www.viatraffic.org).

Etemad Gallery will show an exhibition by the Turkish artist Mehmet Ali Uysal called Mist, which runs from June 12 to July 11. Uysal's work attempts to analyse how the artistic process is connected to time and place with pieces that combine canvas and mixed media.

Lawrie Shabibi gallery's summer group exhibition, Heros & Villains, features artists from all over the region, including the Afghan video artist and the photographer Gazelle Samizay and 2010 Abraaj Capital Art Prize winner Marwan Sahmarani. It runs from June 12 to July 31, www.lawrieshabibi.com.


Dancehall, trance, strings and classic pop can all be sampled in the UAE this summer. Next Thursday (June 2), Sean Paul will perform his dancehall favourites at Chi The Lodge. Since his 2000 debut album Stage One, the Jamaican singer has been influential in bringing the dancehall movement to the mainstream. His rapid delivery mixed with his melodic ear has made him responsible for hits such as Temperature, Gimme the Light and We Be Burning as well as his smash-hit collaboration with Beyoncé, Baby Boy (www.chinightclubdubai.com).

Michael Jackson fans might want to moonwalk their way to the Flash Forum for Thriller Live (June 9-10). This stage show is not simply a karaoke act - the high-budget tribute has had a successful run in London's West End as well tours across Europe. The two-hour spectacle pays homage to Jackson's legendary live shows, playing his solo hits as well as those from the Jackson 5 (www.thinkflash.ae).

Those who prefer harder dance beats should flock to see DJ Armin van Buuren, who will be twiddling the knobs at Flash Forum on June 30. Joined by Jochen Miller, the trance master is touring behind his fourth album Mirage, which sees him collaborating with dance heavyweights such as BT and Ferry Corsten. Those worried at the prospect of dancing in the sweltering heat can be reassured the venue is indoors and air-conditioned (www.thinkflash.ae).

Moby is also on his way to Dubai for his debut Middle East performance. Playing at Dubai World Trade Centre on July 4, the American artist will bring his full live band along to flesh out his eclectic work incorporating dance, rock, funk and smooth electronica. The set will feature hits including Go, Porcelain and Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad as well tracks from his latest album Destroyed. (For more information, e-mail info@thetalentbrokers.com).


Filmgoers have a wide variety of options this summer. Cinephiles can take an early peek at some Arabic and French language films at Shorts!, a festival of short films at Marina Mall's Cinestar Cinema, which takes place tomorrow and on Thursday.

Shorts! is a collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Film Festival and the International Shorts Film Festival of Clermont-Ferrand and Alliance Française. Visit www.af-aboudabi.net for information on the full programme. Some screenings are followed by a discussion with filmmakers. Short film masterclasses will also be held at Zayed University.

Highlights from the past two years of the ADFF will be showing in a series of screenings throughout the summer at The Pavilion Downtown Dubai. Next up is Here Comes the Rain, the Lebanese director Bahij Hojeij's story of a man struggling to return to normal life after being kidnapped and separated from his family for 20 years. It screens on Friday and Saturday (www.abudhabifilmfestival.ae).

A more chilled-out cinema experience is also on offer at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club where new and classic films can be viewed from the pool on an inflatable chair or beanbag. The screenings will continue throughout the summer, call 02 558 8990 for details of what's on.

Fans of Hollywood blockbusters can look forward to Transformers 3 (June 30) and the latest Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (July 14), hitting UAE cinemas this summer.


A couple of family favourites will provide heat-proof entertainment on stage this summer. After a successful run in 2004, the Birmingham Stage Company will bring back to Dubai's Madinat Theatre the stage adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic George's Marvellous Medicine (June 4-8). Also coming to the stage is Disney's Camp Rock. Running from July 11 to 16 at Dubai's First Group Theatre at Madinat Jumeirah, the family romp is about two competing summer music camps and their ultimate showdown (www.madinattheatre.com).

Meanwhile, adults can check out a slice of old showbiz glamour at Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre with West Side Story, the classic musical adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (July 19-23) (www.westsidestorydubai.com).

Those looking for laughs can check out any of The Laughter Factory's Abu Dhabi and Dubai shows. Performing in various Dubai venues are Geoff Norcott, Mandy Knight and Pete Johansson (June 8-10 and 15-17). The trio can also be seen in Abu Dhabi's Crowne Plaza on June 14 (www.thelaughterfactory.com).


The necessarily sedate pace of much of summer life can leave you longing for activity of a less cerebral kind. Those wondering if the summer would spell the end of anything sporty will be delighted with the opening of the Al Forsan resort in Abu Dhabi's Khalifa City. The multi-billion dirham project claims to hold the region's first cable park for wake boarders and water skiers. Spread over 1.6 million square metres, the park also offers activities including shooting, karting and watersports, as well as indoor and outdoor paintball centres and equestrian areas.

Those wanting a more hands-on experience - with some environmental education thrown in - can still kayak through the UAE's coastal waters and inland areas. Noukhada Adventure Travel offers kayaking, sailing, blokarting and trail biking. Tours take place early in the morning, late in the afternoon and even by moonlight.

Shopaholics in Abu Dhabi will be delighted with the return of the popular Shams Festival at Adnec (June 2-11) with a wide range of bargains available under one roof. Meanwhile, Dubai's famous DSS (Dubai Summer Surprises) has about 6,000 stores taking part by offering discounts and prizes all summer. Later on in the season, bargain hunting will mix with tradition at the Ramadan and Eid Festival at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (August 9-30) with exhibitions focusing on family-friendly goods and gifts.