Etihad Modern Art Gallery and Art House Café

“What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit.”

John Updike

The bold, bright primary colours swirling into one another on the canvas shimmer with life. Musab Al Rais’ abstract paintings exude movement and turmoil, unlike those of his father which are, although executed in the same bold primary colours, orderly and quiet. Abdul Qader Al Rais, at 65, is considered a pioneer in Emirati Contemporary Art, and the exhibition titled Al Rais Art in which he exhibits with his son, Musab, and daughter, Sumaya, is his 40th.

Both Musab’s and Sumaya’s Still Lifes are striking, but where Musab uses strong masculine elements and colours, Sumaya’s work has a distinct feminine touch, capturing a quiet inner life and sense of peace in her choice of cultural objects: a woven basket with dates, a water jar, a dallah pot, flowers, a lantern. Hosting this exciting exhibition, which is on only till 28 May 2016, is Etihad Modern Art Gallery, a wonderful multi-functional art space divided into various smaller rooms, creating intimacy.

The creativity from within flows effortlessly into the on-site café, where the artworks adorning the walls are for sale. Bright, colourful and imaginative, the furniture and decorations are re-imagined objects and waste materials creating a space that is conducive to long conversations or quiet contemplation. The food is fresh and delicious, and even the croissants are only baked when ordered. It is not a place to visit when you are in a hurry. Here you should allow yourself to slow down, breathe deeply, and walk away refreshed and inspired.


  • Visit their website for more information on current exhibitions.
  • Opening times Art Gallery:  Saturday to Thursday 10 am – 10 pm  (closed Fridays) – FREE entrance
  • Opening times Art House Café:  Saturday to Thursday 9 am – 11.30 pm  (Fridays 12 pm – 12 am)
  • Address:  Villa 15, Al Huwelat Street (opposite Al Bateen Mall)
  • GPS co-ordinates:  N 24° 27′ 37.49″   E 54° 20′ 54.83″