The Best Art Galleries in the Middle East

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In the last decade, we’ve seen the UAE explode with a variety of up-and-coming galleries and artistic hubs. Alserkal Avenue, Dubai’s artistic hub, has nearly doubled in size since it was first conceived in 2009, and new galleries are being added every year. Not to mention the popularity of returning art festivals like World Art Dubai and Art Dubai.

In Abu Dhabi, the Louvre Abu Dhabi has become not just a popular destination for residents and nationals, but it also brings in world visitors and tourists seeking solace among the artworks under the dome. Indeed, even Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince has been pouring investments into the kingdom’s emerging art scene, and many of the younger Saudis are finding their voices specifically through art. The relentlessly curious who find themselves in Beirut, Tehran, Doha, Kuwait, Jordan, or Bahrain will not be too hard pressed to find alternative regional art fixes anymore either. With so many interesting creative spaces around the region to explore, we’ve selected the top galleries across the Middle East guaranteed to give you a hearty dose of thought-provoking art.

Saudi Arabia

Darat Safeya Binzagr Gallery

Darat Safeya Binzagr Gallery is a private, boutique gallery founded by Safeya Binzagr and hosts a permanent collection of Binzagar’s own work, including ‘Al Zaboon’  – the Hijazi’s Mona Lisa. Additionally, it is home to research libraries, gift shops, exhibition halls, invaluable vintage clothes, textiles, and tools over 100 years old.

Jeddah
Tel: +966-12-6571030
www.daratsb.com

Hafez Art Gallery

A captivating oasis, Hafez Gallery, was founded in 2014 by Qaswra Hafez. With a vibrant curation of local and international artists, this visionary gallery showcases Saudi Arabia’s finest art, fostering creativity and cultural exchange.

Jeddah
+966-55-551-7000
www.hafezgallery.com

Naila Art Gallery

Naila Art Gallery, one of Saudi Arabia’s best museums for art enthusiasts, is founded on the inseparable connection between artistic brilliance, art culture, and critique. With carefully curated programs catering to artists, intellectuals, critics, and eager audiences alike, it stands as a beacon for art appreciation in the nation.

Riyadh
Tel: +966-53-339-6880
www.gallerynaila.com

Maraya

Built into the landscape, Maraya‘s (which means ‘mirror’ in Arabic) architecture is a stunning work of art in and of itself with its mirrored walls reflecting the natural beauty of AlUla. Within it is a concert hall as well as a restaurant, the delicious Maraya Social by Jason Atherton. However, the art gallery housed within is one of the best exhibition spaces we’ve seen in a long time. Curated with insight and intelligence, it regularly brings in extraordinary works featuring prominent, female Saudi artists – like the 2022 exhibit curated by Saudi patron, Basma Al Sulaiman) – or internationally recognizable artists – like the 2023 exhibition Fame featuring exclusive works and rare archival photographs by Andy Warhol. Maraya’s thought-provoking works push the boundaries in healthy and exciting ways.

AlUla
Tel: +966 9200 25003
www.experiencealula.com

best art galleries in the middle east
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United Arab Emirates

Ayyam Gallery

Started in Damascus in 2006 and now with spaces in Beirut, Dubai, London, and Jeddah, Ayyam Gallery is a pioneer in nurturing Syrian art. The gallery is also best known for its efforts to document the underrepresented aspects of art history on a global scale.

DIFC and Alserkal Avenue, Dubai
Tel: (+971) 4 323 6242
www.ayyamgallery.com

Jameel Arts Centre

Jameel Arts Centre in Jaddaf Waterfront was founded and supported by Art Jameel in order to bring contemporary art to the public as well as create opportunities for community engagement with learning, research, and commissions. The gallery presents both regional and international collaborations, and is also home to a number of commission spaces, a writer’s studio, Teible restaurant, and Jameel Librarya free and open research center for artists and cultural movements.

Jaddaf Waterfront, Dubai
Tel: (+971) 4 873 9800
www.jameelartscentre.org

Leila Heller Gallery

Since the Leila Heller Gallery opened its doors in Alserkal Avenue, it has become one of the most popular galleries in the UAE and features three state-of-the-art exhibition spaces. The gallery is dedicated to supporting the practice of regional and international artists, and features innovative curatorial and educational programs to promote engagement or dialogue.

Alserkal Avenue, Dubai
Tel: (+971) 56 829 8026
www.leilahellergallery.com

The Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi is the result of an unprecedented partnership and cultural exchange between France and the United Arab Emirates. Besides being one of the most beautiful buildings in the UAE, Louvre Abu Dhabi brings selected works in conjunction with Musée du Louvre based on historical importance, condition, provenance, and curatorial narrative.

Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi
Tel: +971 60 056 5566
www.louvreabudhabi.ae

best art galleries middle east
@LOUVREABUDHABI

Sharjah Art Foundation

Since 2009, Sharjah Art Foundation has been committed to supporting the development of a flourishing arts environment in the Gulf through its range of contemporary art projects, residencies, production grants, commissions, and the Sharjah Biennial program. Found in the Heart of Sharjah, it’s unique location works to bridge the UAE’s rich history with its exciting future.

Al Mareija, Al Shuwaihean Area, Sharjah
Tel: (+971) 6 544 4113
www.sharjahart.org

The Third Line

Over 30 artists are represented at The Third Line, one of Dubai’s first and most compelling spaces for contemporary Middle Eastern artists. It’s known for pioneering both emerging and established voices across a multitude of practices.

Alserkal Avenue, Dubai
Tel: (+971) 4 341 1367
www.thethirdline.com

XVA Gallery

Tucked away in Dubai’s historic district of the Al Fahidi neighborhood, XVA is a leader in curating contemporary works by the region’s most up-and-coming artists. Exhibitions aim to reflect the cultural identities and perspectives of the artists while challenging the preconceptions of visitors.

Al Fahidi, Dubai
Tel: (+971) 4 353 5383
www.xvagallery.com

best art galleries middle east xva
@XVAGALLERY

Bahrain

La Fontaine Center of Contemporary Art

Located in a historical monument dating back 150 years, La Fontaine Center of Contemporary Art is a one-of-a-kind gallery. It’s not just your average stroll through halls of precious artwork, but it also houses an amphitheater, fine dining restaurant, an exclusive spa, and a state of the art pilates and dance studio, for a truly unique experience.

Manama
Tel: 0973 17230123
www.lafontaineartcentre.net

Lebanon

Beirut Art Center

Beirut Art Center
Located in the industrial area of the city near the Beirut River, the Beirut Art Center includes an exhibition space, book store, and auditorium, all of which are dedicated to promoting contemporary art in the city.

Jisr El Wati, Beirut
Tel: (+961) 1 397 018
www.beirutartcenter.org

Sursock Museum

Before the civil war broke out, the Sursock Museum was the epitome of Beirut’s arts and cultural scene. Now after a seven-year renovation and expansion, the museum has completely transformed into a destination for modern and contemporary art with a mission to collect, preserve, and exhibit a diverse selection of work from both local and international artists.

Greek Orthodox Archbishopric Street, Beirut
Tel: (+961) 1 202 001
www.sursock.museum

best art galleries in the middle east
@SURSOCKMUSEUM

Qatar

Arab Museum of Modern Art

A centerpiece of modern and contemporary Arab art in Qatar, the Arab Museum of Modern Art (MATHAF) celebrates the achievements of Arab artists through exhibitions in painting, sculpture, and photography.

Education City, Doha
Tel: (+974) 4402 8855
www.mathaf.org.qa

mathaf
MATHAF

Fire Station Museum

Fire Station Museum is another leading supporter of contemporary art and an incredible resource for new artists, especially those looking for a creative residency. Located in a refurbished fire station, Fire Station Museum is the home to gallery spaces that show regional and international contemporary works, studio and work spaces, a woodshop, a fabrication lab, Cass Art (an art supply shop), Fire Station Cinema, and one of the coolest cafes/coworking spaces in Doha, Cafe #999.

Doha, Qatar
Tel: (+974) 4422 4222
www.firestation.org.qa

best art galleries middle east
@CUPPATEA_E

Iran

Shirin Art Gallery

With branches in New York and Tehran, Shirin Art Gallery is dedicated to establishing an international context for Iran’s modernist art movement. In Tehran, the gallery showcases established talents as well as bi-weekly exhibitions by up-and-coming artists.

No. 9, 18th Street Velenjak, Tehran
Tel: (+98) 21 8834 3969
www.shiringallery.com

Jordan

Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts

Gain an appreciation of contemporary Jordanian painting, sculpture, and pottery at this small yet impressive space. The gallery highlights contemporary art from the Middle East and beyond with exhibitions serving as an influential introduction to Islamic art.

Hosni Fareez Street, Amman
Tel: (+962) 6 463 0128
www.nationalgallery.org

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