Dubai, UAE: If there is anything that I remember of my childhood about Dubai (apart from the Trade Centre and Al Ghurair Centre), it is the Majlis Art Gallery. Once home to talented interior designer Alison Collins (in 1976), it is now converted into a beautiful place vibrant with culture, arts and passion for life. Tucked in one of Dubai’s ancient parts is the Bastakiya area, home to the Majlis Gallery. Majlis is an Arabic word meaning ‘a sitting place.’ It refers to several types of gatherings of people with similar interests mostly in the Arab world.


Entrance to the Majlis Gallery. Photos © Preethi Janice D'Sa


A bit about Alison Collins. Collins loved the architecture of Dubai and this particular house, The Villa 19, Bastakiya. She raised her three children here and used to host several artists at her place. That’s how the Majlis Gallery got its current name. Much of the artistic happenings in Bastakiya were culturally superior to anything nearby (in those days, the area used to be a trading and port community); both professional and amateur artists benefited from the exposure they got when international artists visited the Gallery.


Smiling ladies at the Majlis Gallery. Photos © Preethi Janice D'Sa


So, if you are looking to relax and unwind amidst art, Majlis Gallery is the place. The old world-charm of the Majlis Gallery is a sharp contrast to the hustle and bustle of modern life outside and will not disappoint any visitor to it.


Photos © Preethi Janice D'Sa



Next week, I will talk about the Majlis Gallery market that I visited. In the meantime, for more information, visit

Note, in most of the photos you see, lovely sculptures of birds, animals, fish and reptiles. These were made by UK based doctor Michael Chaikin.

Inside the Majlis Gallery, beneath the henna tree. Photos © Preethi Janice D'Sa


Photos © Preethi Janice D'Sa



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