A Labour of Light A fascinating exhibition that documents the plight of a group of abandoned labourers in Sajja, an industrial area in Sharjah, as photographed by themselves. When their employer fled the country during the economic downturn the men were left to fend for themselves in the camp. When a local photographer became aware of the abandoned labourers, she collaborated with local charity Adopt-a-Camp to share her photography skills, donate cameras and make regular visits to encourage them to tell their story through imagery. Prints and postcards will be on sale during the exhibition and 100 per cent of the proceeds will be distributed evenly among the labourers. Until February 16. Gulf Photo Plus, Warehouse D36, Al Serkal Avenue, Street 8, Al Quoz (04 380 8545).
Colours of a Beating Heart Inspired by music, Dubai-based French artist and muralist Julie Dalloz presents a visually engaging solo exhibition full of movement and life. Until February 20. The Fridge, Al Quoz 4 (04 347 7793).
Dirty Laundry Syrian artist Tammam Azzam presents a solo exhibition of canvases featuring rope, clothes pegs and other found objects, which feature in silhouettes on dark backgrounds to appear almost like a photo negative. Until January 26. Ayyam Gallery, Gate Village Building 3, DIFC (04 439 2395).
Fakie 2012 Described as a skateboard ‘dexhibition’, this collaboration between Tashkeel Hub and FN Designs features 30 UAE artists, who were given old skateboards to use as their canvas. Until February 18. Tashkeel, Nad Al Sheba, intersection 1, Street 5 and 20 (04 336 3313).
Third Rock from the Sun This exhibition explores the history and future of space travel and features a number of mediums and artists, including prints by French photographer Vincent Fournier, Antwerp-based photographer Jan Kempenaers, architect and urbanist Nicholas de Monchaux, and 19th-century astronomers Maurice Loewy and Pierre Puiseux. Until January 31. The Empty Quarter, Gate Village, Building 2, DIFC (04 323 1210).
Art Sudan Celebrating the pioneers of modern Sudanese art, this exhibition features the works of Ibrahim Salahi and Mohammed Omar Khalil, who have shaped the region’s art by combining Western technical practices with their traditional cultural heritage. Salahi experiments with Arabic script, while Khalil creates collage compositions using traditional objects from the Arab world. Until February 29. Meem Gallery, next to Pressotto, Al Quoz (04 347 7883).
Beyond the Obvious Switzerland-based designer, art director, artist and advertising magnate Dean Williams presents an abstract exhibition of recent works that take on a transparency and are devoid of time and space. Until February 11. The Majlis Gallery, Al Musalla Roundabout, Bastakiya, Bur Dubai (04 353 6233). Jessica Mein The Brazilian artist’s debut exhibition in the Middle East features five animated videos as well as works on paper, which represent layered states of dreaming and time to alter the viewer’s experience. The videos are randomly looped: in one video, entitled ‘Blackout’, the artist has captured and manipulated Dubai’s power lines. Until March 8. The Pavilion, Emaar Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 447 7025).
Join the Festival Friends ahead of the Festival of Literature Enjoy a range of discounts and rewards for both the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in March 2012 as well as events in the year-round programme at Dar Al Adaab in Bastakiya. The three levels of benefits include discounted tickets, priority bookings, lounge access and invitations to events. For more info and to enrol, visit www.emirateslitfest.com.
I... Revolution This solo exhibition by award-winning Egyptian artist Mohammed Taman features a range of oil paintings characterised by the chemical reaction that occurs when he superimposes pigments onto the canvas to create unusual metallic-like hues. Until February 10. ArtSpace, Gate Village building 3, DIFC (04 323 0820).
Inspirationalists: Khalid Shafar This solo exhibition features furniture pieces, predominantly timber and woodwork, inspired by the artist’s Emirati heritage. Among the pieces included in the exhibition are a palm trunk-inspired coat stand, and a crate that can be used as a side table, corner table or coffee table by a slide of the top layers. Until February 4. The Pavilion, Emaar Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 447 7025).
Transgressions A conceptual exhibition featuring items such as feathers, mirrors, scrunched-up pages of books, antiques, cigarette packs and bric-a-brac. German-born artist Al Braithwaite uses these juxtapositions to challenge boundaries and comment on authoritarian positions in society. Until February 13. XVA Gallery, Building 7, Gate Village, DIFC (04 358 5117).
Elsewhen Drawing inspiration from the genre of science fiction, where time travel, voyages into space and ideas of what will happen next shape what is really to come in the future, Iranian artist Ala Ebtekar takes events that are actually occurring today and links them to stories and history in the past. Until March 8. The Third Line, Al Quoz 3 (04 341 1367).
Mr Passive Exploring themes such as human interaction and the subconscious body language used within day-to-day life, Iranian artist Mehrdad Mohebali’s detailed paintings capture people going about their seemingly mundane daily rituals and invite the viewer to explore a moment frozen in time. Until February 18. Gallery Etemad, Al Serkal Avenue, Al Quoz (04 346 8649).
Gulf Photo Plus movie night Showcasing the often-harrowing works of American war photographer James Nachtewy, a documentary entitled War Photographer will be screened at The Pavilion Downtown this evening. The film was produced over two years, during which time Swiss author Christian Frei shadowed Nachtewy as he documented the wars in Indonesia, Kosovo and Palestine. 7pm. The Pavilion, Emaar Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 447 7025).
Light From Life A stunning exhibition showing off the landscape and nature photos of eight regional artists, following a joint expedition to New Zealand to capture the unique natural environment of that region. To give viewers a better understanding of their adventure, the photographers will have their camping equipment on display in the gallery, as well as a short documentary. Until March 3. The Ara Gallery, Burj Plaza, Downtown Dubai (04 454 2784).
Marie Marie, The Devil in Me has Taken You for a Ride This solo exhibition by Lebanese painter Marwan Sahmarani is a complex personal insight into the artist’s own journey into fatherhood. It covers the conflict he feels as an artist to be more detached, when as a father he desires more involvement. Until February 16. Lawrie Shabibi, Unit 21, Al Serkal Avenue, Al Quoz (04 346 9906).
Innerscapes Acclaimed Turkish photographer Nazif Topçuoglu presents a series of playful and theatrical images, showing young women in medieval-style settings. His works depict a nostalgic view of youth and one’s desire to relive their prime, while also commenting on perceived and conventional ideas of adult life. Until March 5. Green Art Gallery, Al Serkal Avenue, Al Quoz (04 346 9305).
Mine In this exhibition of films, 19 South African artists explore the concepts of personal ownership, with each artist either starring in the film or referring to themselves within their work. Those on show include renowned artists William Kentbridge and Robin Rhode, as well as Bridget Baker, Jacques Coetzer and Teboho Edkins. Until February 4. Ductac, Level 2, Mall of the Emirates (04 341 4777).
Space Forward Citing artists Roland Barthes and Marcel Proust as inspiration, Austrian photographer Birgit Graschopf uses her medium to explore a variety of public and private spaces in a series of evocative black-and-white photographs, which almost appear as photo negatives. Definitely worth a look. Until February 12. Carbon 12, Al Serkal Avenue, Al Quoz (050 464 4392).