Contemporary dance, live music, affordable art and specialised tours of some of Dubai’s leading galleries are all part of this weekend’s Quoz Arts Fest.
Taking place in Alserkal Avenue and the surrounding areas, the event is back for its fifth edition, with more than 30 venues participating in the free festival.
Alserkal Avenue director Vilma Jurkute says the fact that the event has grown since its inception is “testament to the creative energy that exists in Dubai”.
“It was important for us to start Quoz Arts Fest,” she says. “We wanted to spread the word about all the amazing creative talent that has developed inside of the Avenue as well as all around us in Al Quoz. “We wanted to support and nurture local artists and talent.”
It starts off with visitors given a chance to experience Tracing the Chora, a commissioned walk by artists Fari Bradley and Chris Weaver. With the aid of a recorded audio guide, participants can immerse themselves in the area by listening to its sounds.
Later in the morning, take a tour of Lawrie Shabibi Gallery where LA-based artist Asad Faulwell’s work is on display. It explores the little-known story of female freedom fighters during the Algerian war of independence.
There is also a variety of workshops – including tile relief at Yadawei Ceramic Studio, and The Art of Taste, a chocolate-tasting workshop at Mirzam Chocolate Factory.
Mirzam is a wonderful concept and if you have not visited, it is highly recommended. Staff create chocolate from the cocoa bean, unrefined cane sugar and a small amount of cocoa butter, as you watch.
Throughout the day, there will also be screenings of films from local initiative Cinema Akil, as well as music, including Japanese percussion from Shoten Dubai Taiko Drummers.
Contemporary dance is not something we see much of in the UAE, but there will be several notable performances over the weekend.
One is by Mounir Saeed, part of a new generation of contemporary-dance artists from Egypt. He has been a dancer since 2007, and has worked as a choreographer at festivals all over the world, including France, Germany, Italy, Syria and Lebanon.
Also performing will be Sima Dance Company, which was founded in 2003 in Damascus, under the supervision of artistic director and choreographer Alaa Krimed.
It consists of dancers and graduates from the higher institute and the school of ballet in Damascus. They will premiere a performance inspired by an apocalyptic poem called Dinosauria, We by American writer Charles Bukowski.
German-Iranian artist Anahita Razmi will give a lecture titled New Eastenders: The Prequel. This will be a tongue-in-cheek look at the boundaries of global geography, using long running British TV soap opera, EastEnders, as her starting point.
Sharjah-based abstract painter Thaier Helal will conduct a workshop for adults and teenagers that explores the use of alternative media in art. The artist, whose work is showing in Ayyam Gallery in Alserkal Avenue, will focus on using recycled materials, including plastic, paper and sand, which can be broken down, mixed, or repurposed. Helal will emphasise how combinations can add texture, depth, volume, or dimension to art, structuring the surface of a painting or sculpture.
All weekend, a relatively affordable art market will be in place at Warehouse 49. The participating galleries include eL Seed Studio, FN Designs, Gulf Photo Plus, Jean-Paul Najar Foundation, Showcase Gallery and Versus.
Visitors will be able to buy works in a range of media, including photography, sculpture, art books, prints and even original works, with prices ranging from US$50 to US3,000 (Dh183 to Dh11,016).