In Pictures | Old Dubai

These galleries bring out the soul of Dubai.” Ana Ivanovic

Some photos of our visit to Old Dubai and the Al Bastakiya quarter located in Bur Dubai alongside the creek, as part of our Dubai Staycation. Al Bastakiya has been deemed as a conservation area and was renamed as The Al Fahidi Historic Neighbourhood. The old traditional Emirati houses with its famous wind towers that once acted as early air-conditioners in the pre-electricity era are surrounded by narrow pedestrianised streets, alleyways and renovated houses. The site gives visitors a glimpse into Dubai’s history, back to a time when it was a sleepy trading port and not the modernised malls that’s known for today.

One of the oldest heritage sites in Dubai, this area was originally inhabited by wealthy Emirati families and frequented by Persian merchants who immigrated to the emirate to escape high Iranian taxation. Al Bastakiya was named after the town of Bastak in southern Iran and is now a mixture of small quirky shops (some still selling Iranian handicrafts), art galleries and an Arabian Tea House in a shady garden.

Image

The world’s Largest Abaya featuring artwork from the artists at MAWAHEB in collaboration with Future Fashion is on display in Al Bastakiya as part of Dubai Art Season and Sikka Art Fair. MAWAHEB from Beautiful People is an art centre for adults with special needs and it’s hoped that their vibrant painted Abaya will break the Guinness World Record for the Largest Abaya (of course its Dubai after all). The Abaya measures 10 metres tall with a bottom width of 4.02 metres and 5.47 metres across the sleeves.

Image

 Wind Towers and minarets line the heritage site skyline

Image

Image

 Arabian architecture and patterns

Image

ImageOld meets new in the streets of the Al  Bastakiya quarter where its famous old wind towers (cultural icon in the city) are twinned a wall of modern graffiti

Image

Image

The Majlis Gallery houses a collection of small enclosed exhibition and retail spaces that surround an outdoor courtyard (above). The emirates oldest art gallery, The Majlis Gallery provides a haven for artists and art lovers alike and was opened in 1989 by expat Alison Collins. With the help of two Iranian tea importers and an Egyptian curtain maker, Collins who was an interior designer opened the gallery with a mission to promote the works of international artists as well as a meeting place for creative minds.

Currently exhibiting ‘A Visual Exploration of a Scientific Hypothesis’ (I know what a mouthful!) which runs until 28th April, the gallery is featuring ‘Guided by Gaia’ by the artist Lynette Ten Krooden. Ten Krodden exhibit forms part of the exhibits that the gallery are presenting for the 2014 Art Season, Sikka Art Fair and the UAE Green Festival. Read more about Gaia Hypothesis here.

Ten Krooden’s exhibit (shown in snippets below) features painted double-sided old damaged recycled vinyl records displayed on acrylic stands in the centre of one of the gallery spaces. The display leads the eye to the larger wall hung paintings at either end of the room, all painted using her signature gold leaf, sand and oil technique. Her work focuses on the elements of the world, earth, moon, water and stone.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Narrow alleyways and streets that make up the heritage site

Image

ImageImage

Image

Image

Image

Wares on display and for sale in the traditional shops and outdoor galleries

Image

For more photos of Old Dubai and the Al Bastakiya Quarter visit Weekly Photo Challenge:Street Life and Staycation.