Travel broadcaster Phil Blizzard discovers amongst the old wind tower houses in Bastikiya, alongside Dubai Creek, the Majlis Gallery and its 25 Squared exhibition.
The first and foremost “peoples” Fine Art Gallery in the UAE is celebrating 25 years with an Exhibition entitled 25 Squared. This is a unique collective Exhibition and Installation of works from over 40 artists, all of whom the Majlis Gallery has represented over the years.
The Majlis Gallery is a haven for artists and art lovers and was set up by Alison Collins who came to Dubai in 1976 to work as an interior designer. She fell in love with the country, especially the architecture and ambiance of the old wind tower houses in the Bastakiya, securing in 1978 the lease on villa number 19, Bastakiya, Bur Dubai.
Here, over the next ten years, she raised three young children and hosted many informal soirees introducing artists both professional and amateur to a somewhat culturally bereft community. In 1989 the family moved out and the house became a permanent gallery
The gallery’s vision then, as it is now, was to bring to Dubai artists of international repute and to support them in their exploration and interpretation of the Middle East, into visual forms and to represent locally based artists who meet the galleries high standards.
There is also an ever changing collection of three dimensional objects which are displayed along with fine art, sculpture and artifacts in the five main rooms of the house achieving a human scale which is enhanced by the house’s original features - niches, barasti ceilings, shuttered windows and oiled teak doors, and of course, the wind tower.
A Majlis is defined as a meeting place or common ground and over the years The Majlis Gallery has more than fulfilled that description. It has hosted countless exhibitions, seminars and cultural events.
It also formed a model for the feasibility study that ultimately led to the restoration of all the remaining buildings in the Bastakiya, now known as The Al Fahedi Historic Neighbourhood and its emergence as a cultural centre for Dubai.
The 25 Squared Exhibition and Installation is on going throughout this, the 25th year of The Majlis Gallery.
For further information please visit www.themajlisgallery.com, opening days and times are Saturday - Thursday. 10 am - 6pm. Tel +9714 3536233