Here are my 2010 highlights in no particular order:
Mahmovies - Music for the Eyes series at thejamjar is always a favourite event of mine. It's a curated series of music themed movies and live performances organised by Mahmoud Kaabour. The most memorable night for me though was watching Camp ka Champ. Camp Ka Champ (Champ of the Camp) is a singing competition that takes place annually across Dubai’s labour camps, and at Mahmovies' night, we had nine singers crooning for us acapella style. You can read the full review of the night here.
My favourite musical performance in Dubai was at The Fridge in January. An indie band from Denmark called A Key is a Key performed and it was a very rare and initimate experience for me. They were quirky, fun and amusing. I wish we can get more acts like them in Dubai.
I've always said I need to travel outside Dubai to see bands I like. So when I travelled this year, I made sure I caught some concerts. In the summer, I went to London's Lovebox Festival in July and saw Hot Chip, Yeasayer, Chromeo, Roxy Music, Hercules and Love Affair to name a few. In November I went back to London and saw Jonsi and Arcade Fire. Needless to say, I had an amazing time at all of them.
Abu Dhabi Art in November - the highlight at this fair was my brother's participation in the Design Studio and Art, Talks and Sensations curated by Fabrice Bousteau, a labyrinth built by the beach that had 10 different art events happening at the same time. It included live performances, film, music and photography. It was an experience where you could just wander around and give in to the place and moment. The open air cinema and The Desert of Desert sound installation by Soundwalk were my favourite.
Paris Photo in November - it was my first time attending this fair and I hope I can attend it annually. It's such a great opportunity to see some great photography and top galleries from around the world.
Art Exhibitions in Dubai
I didn't get a chance to attend most of the exhibition this year, but these are the ones that stood out for me.
Exhibitions at The Third Line:
Pins and Needles by Hayv Kahraman
That Obscure Object by Azeru
Islands by Abbas Akhavan
Dubai Episode a group exhibition that included Mona Ayyash, Raja'a Khalid and Sara Naim.
Muqtanayati at thejamjar was a very different kind of exhibition that involved the community who could submit objects that represented the United Arab Emirates or that had a special meaning to them because of the place. I submitted my cassette collection from the 1980s which was a nostalgic look at my childhood in Dubai and was so happy to see it struck a chord with some of the visitors at the exhibition.
MinD (Made in Dubai) at DUCTAC was a group exhibition that showcased a variety of disciplines by very talented artists based in Dubai. I was honored to be taking part in this exhibition and to be part of the taleneted artists that took part.
All the photography exhibitions at The Empty Quarter.
Gulfphoto Plus' Slidefest II and Slidefest III - although not exhibitions per se, but it's a great initiative by Gulf Photo Plus that brings together photographers from the region to present and talk about their work. I was fortunate to be invited to take part in the 2nd one and grateful for all the positive feedback I received.
Art Exibitions outside Dubai
During my travels this year, I got a chance to attend great exhibitions and these are the ones that left a strong impression on me: Victoria and Albert's Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography exhibition, Tate Britain's Eadward Muybridge, Ai Weiwei's Sunflower Seeds at the Tate Modern and Centre Pompidou's Arman.
Burj Khalifa opening on 4th January, a very memorable night where I was lucky to have a close up view of the building and the fireworks. I know there will be a great show tonight, but I am happy to settle for one night of Burj Khalifa fireworks even if it was earlier this year.