Year-round series of exhibitions and public programmes

A cutting edge visual arts programme of exhibitions and affiliate public events that focus on modern and contemporary art from the UAE and the region, and beyond.

Farah Al Qasimi: General Behaviour

General Behaviour presents US-based Emirati artist Farah Al Qasimi's photographic and video-based works from 2012 to 2021.
Showcased in a chronological sequence, the show explores the layers of multi-culturalism and consumer culture in the UAE, while challenging our perception of reality and navigating the intimacy of public and personal spaces.
Al Qasimi’s career is presented within four main sections: The World Is Sinking; Bodies and Spectre; May’s Blue Eye and Trompe L’oeil as well as screening Al Qasimi's video works: Alone in a Crowd and Dream Soup. 


Mohamed Al Astad: Another Perspective

Artist Mohamed Al Astad presents a new form of contemporary art in his exhibition Another Perspective. His technique, ‘The Art of Beach Pearls’ (Danat Al Shawati), uses sea sand, rust and time to create dramatic visual pieces, and works are arranged alongside large-scale paintings to create an interactive installation, providing viewers with an immersive experience.


Experience Mars

Welcome to Experience Mars, an experience designed to celebrate the United Arab Emirates’ space programme and achievements. Experience Mars offers innovative methods to engage with knowledge, stimulate creativity and inspire the young generation to aspire beyond the stars. The immersive escapade is rich with interactive technologies and tactile adventures.

Visitors can embark on a mission that will take them from earth, through space, to the surface of Mars, with plenty of activities to do along the way. This immersive space is a stimulant of the imagination combined with learning, fun and innovation.


Step inside, fasten your seatbelt and prepare for lift off to Mars.


Al Mujamma

Al Mujamma is an interactive archival exhibition that narrates the story of Cultural Foundation Abu Dhabi from its conceptualization by the Late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan and establishment in 1973, its closure in 2009, and its reopening in 2018. The building is regarded as one of the most prominent modern heritage buildings exemplifying postmodern architecture in the UAE.


Mohammed Chabaa: Visual Consciousness

Mohammed Chabaa: Visual Consciousness presents the life’s work of Mohammed Chabaa (1935–2013), a pioneer of Moroccan contemporary art and Global South modernity. As the first posthumous retrospective exhibition for the artist outside of Morocco, Visual Consciousness brings together paintings, sculptures, graphic art, interior design models and archival material, encompassing his creative journey from 1957 to 2012.

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Art Installations

Art installations by artists Mahmoud Al Ramahi, Jalal Luqman and Azza Al Qubaisi, commissioned by Cultural Foundation Abu Dhabi.

Through the prism of the artists’ own experiences and memories at the institution, the commissioned artworks explore the role it played as the heart of the cultural community and celebrate its legacy as a platform for open dialogue and artistic experimentation.


Films Showcasing Pioneering Emirati Artists

A film initiative that showcases pioneering Emirati artists in their homes, studios and other places where they feel most inspired, to speak about their experience from their childhood, the neighborhoods they grew up in to their first ever exhibition.


Murals of History

A group exhibition Murals of History will bring together 15 UAE-based artists who have created murals inspired by Arab art history, delivered with their own unique artistic interpretation. The exhibition represents an homage to and a continuation of the Arab art movement, featuring colourful wall murals that integrate Arab and Islamic art elements into contemporary creative styles.

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From Cinderella to Sindbad: German and Arab Timeless Tales

Organised by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, in partnership with Abu Dhabi’s Cultural Foundation, the Goethe-Institut Abu Dhabi and the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, the literary exhibition From Cinderella to Sindbad: German and Arab Timeless Tales is a research collaboration between the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection Berlin (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) and the Arab-German Young Academy for Sciences and Humanities (AGYA). This exhibition highlights the mutual influences, shared ideas, and cultural exchange between the Arab world and Germany through storytelling.

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Abdulrahim Salim: Between Chaos and Serenity

Abdulrahim Salim: Between Chaos and Serenity is a survey of sculptor and painter Abdulrahim Salim’s major paintings, examining his recurring narratives and the breadth of his artistic expression.

Divided into six chapters -Formations, Creation and Destruction, Conversations, Struggle and Waiting, Formations of Maheerah, and Me and She and the Apple and the Crow - the exhibition explores Salim’s investigation of dualistic subjects and their inner conflict or struggle, oscillating between the figurative and the abstract.

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Maheerah brings together figurative and multimedia artists to celebrate Abdulrahim Salim’s work and influence with a reinterpretation of one of his recurring thematics around his muse, the titular Maheerah. The exhibition sees ten multimedia artists bring the character of Maheerah to life through short films, while 25 figurative artists embody her character in oil, water and acrylic portraits.


Wonder Writers

Wonder Writers presents a collection of short stories by students from the 12 Aldar Academies in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, each selected through an Arabic creative writing competition held in the 2019-2020 school year. The winning stories range from explorations of the young writers’ awareness of social, cultural and environmental issues, to musings on the everyday struggles of a student, or a thrilling action adventure in uncharted jungles, and much more.


The Red Palace

The Red Palace takes inspiration from the historical 20th century ‘Red Palace’ and its role within Saudi Arabia’s key historical and political events of that era. Collecting memorabilia, relics, and discarded objects from various sites, artist Sultan Bin Fahad creates sculptures and installations that explore the transformative potential of the ruin to stand in for what was lost and its reformulation within the country’s social metamorphosis

Common ground

Common Ground

Inspired by The Red Palace exhibition, this group exhibition reflects on the common ground between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, in a contemporary manner that speaks to the younger generation.

Participating artists: Ahmad Saeed Al Areef Al Dhaheri, Amna Al Memari, Ghanem Younes, Khalid Al Tamimi, Maha Al Hammadi, Maryam Al Suwaidi, Mattia Gambardella, Renad Hussein, Roudha Al Shamsi, Saoud Al Dhaheri, Sarah Aladayleh, Shamsa Al Omaira & Wafa Al Qasaimi.

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Najat Makki: Luminescence

This debut solo exhibition at the Cultural Foundation shows the spectrum of work of one of the leading artists of the UAE, Najat Makki. An abstract painter and colourist, the artist’s career has been defined by her abstract paintings and experimentation with vivid colours in a unique style.

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Najat Makki Luminescence
Tribute to Najat Makki

The Tribute: A dedication to Najat Makki

Featuring 19 Emirati artists, this tribute exhibition to Najat Makki is a means of expressing their love and admiration for her, whether through portraits or other painting genres and styles, on canvasses no less than two metres square. Find out More

Step into a Story

The opening exhibit of the Abu Dhabi Children’s Library focus on the role that pop-up and moveable books play in literacy. A pop-up book is a type of moveable book with paper mechanisms which pop up or move when the reader turns the page or manipulates them. They are engineering marvels designed to engage readers of all ages.

The stories of UAE authors and illustrators are reimagined as 3-D immersive and interactive learning spaces to spark children’s imagination within the exhibition.

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Public Programme

An enriching public programme including artist talks, workshops, master classes, guided tours, curated film screenings and other creative programmes.

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