Brute Ornament Two New York-based artists, Kamrooz Aram and Seher Shah, showcase work that comments the use of decorative ornaments in the West. They focus on how this led to the abstract movement, and in particular, how it affected the popularity of modernism. Until May 5. Green Art Gallery, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz (04 346 9305).
Life is Too Short Collector Ramin Salsali’s latest thought-provoking exhibition comments on the place of photography and video installation in the world of modern art. Until July 31. Salsali Private Museum, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1 (04 380 9600).
Through the Looking Glass In her debut solo exhibition, Emirati photographer Lamya Gargash touches on identity, perception and acceptance in today’s society. Her subjects have all been shot looking at their reflection in a mirror where they must face their exaggerated imperfections, which are distorted and magnified using protheses. The artist cites US conceptual portrait artist Cindy Sherman as a major influence on her work. Until May 30. The Third Line, near The Courtyard, between Marlin Furniture and Spinneys, Al Quoz (04 341 1367).
Fighter Emirati pop artist Khawla Al Marri’s seven quirky sketches show ancient Arab women warriors, but each of the portraits actually depicts one of the artist’s closest friends and the inner beauty and strength that they embody (such as power). Until June 2. The Ara Gallery, Burj Plaza, Downtown Dubai (04 454 2784).
Instability Sculptor and artist Ahmed Al Bahraini’s first solo exhibition is inspired by the constant movement and instability he has experienced throughout his 15-year career. Using the ever-changing environment around him as reference, he revisits memories and nostalgia, and says the body of work was also inspired by the enchanted stories of classic Arabic book Kalilah wa Dumniah. Until May 7. Art Sawa, Gate Village 8, DIFC (04 386 2366).
Islamic Design, Discovery and Vision: Owen Jones Don’t miss this rare exhibition in Sharjah. It takes inspiration from treasures that make up the V&A (Victoria and Albert) collection to tell the story of 19th-century architect and explorer Owen Jones, who is known to have introduced elements of Islamic design into Britain. Open Fri 4pm-8pm. Until July 15. Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, Corniche Street, Al Majjarah, Sharjah (06 565 5455).
Workshops at Tashkeel This Nad Al Sheba-based gallery is hosting a number of fascinating workshops throughout May, including basic digital photography, modular Arabic typography, drawing on the right side of the brain, mixed-media workshops, and watercolour workshops. Prices and times vary. Until May 31. Tashkeel, Nad Al Sheba, www.tashkeel.org (04 336 3313).
Glimpses of Still Life Emirati landscape and still-life artist Rawya Al Malik, who specialises in oil and pastels, presents a solo exhibition featuring works depicting seascapes, boats and florals. Until May 9. Gallery 76, Dubai International Arts Centre, Villa 27, Street 75b, off Beach Road near Mercato Mall (04 344 4398).
Hybrid An exhibition featuring the existing works of Tehran-based artist Shirin Aliabadi, plus two new works not yet revealed by the artist. Until June 19. The Farjam Collection, Gate Village 4, DIFC (04 323 0303).
Living with Video Curated by respected gallerist and French curator Chantal Crousel, this installation exhibition features the videos of 10 international established artists including Wang Bing, Gabriel Orozco and Wolfgang Tilmans. Until June 30. The Pavilion, Emaar Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 447 7025).
My Family Egyptian artist Mohamed Abla presents a solo exhibition that tells the story of the artist’s family life in Egypt, using nostalgic imagery and portraits of family scenes to evoke a sense of familiarity. Until May 20. ArtSpace, Gate Village 3, DIFC (04 323 0820).
Colours of Eternity This vibrant exhibition showcases the works of three well-known Russian artists, including Alexandr Filippov, Albert Tsamaladz and watercolour expert Alexandr Matiash. Each of the artists has a classical style, and their colourful works depict nature and landscapes. Until May 31. Wafi Mall Gallery Area, Khan Murjan, Wafi (04 447 0576).
On the Wall Continuing the gallery’s Off the Wall exhibition, this is a colourful collection of works, including sketches in pen and ink, pastels, oils, watercolours and photos by a number of artists including Paul Wadsworth and Sylvia Woodcock Clarke. Until June 15. The Majlis Gallery, Al Fahidi roundabout, Bastakiya (04 353 6233).
Black is the New White Six new works from Tunis-born artist Nadia Kaabi-Linke – who was awarded the Abraaj Capital Art Prize in 2011 – are on display in this multimedia exhibition, which depicts social, political and historical ideas. Until May 16. Lawrie Shabibi, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz (04 346 9906).
It’s No Longer About Me Up-and-coming Syrian painter Mohannad Orabi presents a solo exhibition that focuses on the concept of self awareness. In this series, his subjects are forced to come to terms with themselves, their situations and the events around them. Until June 16. Ayyam Gallery DIFC, Gate Village 3 (04 439 2395).
Reflections on Islamic Splendour Dubai-based British painter Kate Toledo’s style is influenced by her unique upbringing in Tanzania and New Zealand. In this exhibition, her works are influenced by her current regional surrounds and contain themes such as Islamic embroidery and Persian ceramics. Until May 26. Gallery 76, Villa 27, Street 7b, off Beach Road near Mercato Mall, Jumeirah (04 344 4398).
Versus The works of Louisiana-born US photographer Jamie Baldridge and Austrian painter Bernhard Buhmann are on display in this show, which aims to highlight the similarities between both artists’ differing techniques. Buhmann creates narrative-ridden artworks, while Baldridge’s collages feature hundreds of digital photos. Until June 15. Carbon 12, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz (04 340 6016).
7 This exhibition comprises seven solo shows from seven artists, spanning mediums including drawing, painting, photography, video and installation. Artists include Nadine Kanso and Roberto Lopardo. Until May 9. Cuadro, Gate Village 10, DIFC (04 425 0400).
Art Nights The last event of this kind for the season (Art Nights will start again in November later this year), this community event will offer art lovers the chance to mingle among the new exhibition openings at DIFC, see live art demonstrations and live music, and enjoy drinks and Ritz Carlton canapés in an al-fresco setting. 7pm-9pm. Gate Village, DIFC (04 362 2222).
Hussein Al Mohasen Another first this week, as Saudi Arabian artist Hussein Al Mohasen launches his debut solo exhibition. The artist will open the exhibition with a live graffiti installation to be created on a four-metre wall on site. Using graffiti on canvas, Al Mohasen takes inspiration from Arabic music, poetry and calligraphy to reinvent the relationship between spaces and script. His paintings also feature figurative works combining machinery and objects with bold colours. Graffiti demo begins at 6pm. Until June 14. XVA Gallery, Building 7, Gate Village (04 358 5117).
Resurrection This exhibition features a selection of sculptures and new paintings by up-and-coming 28-year-old Iranian artist Ramtin Zad. He paints dream-like landscapes, and his more recent works include paintings of vases, which draw on the Japanese theatre movement of kabuki. He often uses historical, political, cultural and contemporary symbolism in his works to retell situations with an Iranian perspective. Until May 24. Gallery Etemad, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz (04 346 8649).