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The Emirates, where art is blooming

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IF YOU'RE looking for world-class art, creative capitals such as Basel, Paris, London and Berlin come to mind. But it's time to add the Gulf countries to your list, as the Arab region sets its sights on being a global arts hub.

In the past decade, the arts in the Emirates have been on an upward trajectory, especially with the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum last year; it has chalked up more than a million visitors since its opening day. But Abu Dhabi isn't the only city that's gunning for arts hub status. Dubai and Sharja complete the country's creative triumvirate, and they have been going great guns in the process. In November alone, the three cities hosted the Dubai Design Week, Abu Dhabi Art Fair, an international book fair in Sharjah, the first Fikra Graphic Design Biennial and the opening of the country's first non-government art museum, Jameel Arts Centre.

In Friday's issue of Weekend magazine, we explore what the three cities have to offer, starting with a visit to Alserkal Avenue in Dubai. The equivalent of Singapore's Gillman Barracks, it features some of the region's top galleries, showcasing regional and international works, as well as being the city's latest hipster haunt.

Meanwhile, we speak to Trina Liang, a banker, philanthropist and an active advocate of women's rights, for her views on gender equality.

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