Night market, Iftar, stargazing excursions, bus tours, art shows: 421’s Ramadan 2023 Programme has it all


A unique way to enjoy Ramadan in Abu Dhabi with immersive sensory workshops and experiences that highlight mindfulness, community, and reflection

PARTNER CONTENT: 421, Abu Dhabi’s independent platform dedicated to supporting emerging creative practices, has announced its Ramadan 2023 Program, featuring a variety of exciting, immersive sensory workshops and experiences that highlight mindfulness, community, and reflection.

Coinciding with the spring equinox, and inaugurating the beginning of spring, the programme offers an opportunity to slow down and prepare for a fresh start as you engage in a wide range of creative activities that include drop-in creative workshops and even stargazing excursions.

Also featuring listening parties, outdoor night markets, community gatherings, and a supper club, this year’s Ramadan programme at 421 in Mina Zayed lays the foundation for a season’s worth of sensory experiences that allow us to collectively reflect and hone in on ideas that unite us all under starry skies.


Moonlit Market: An outdoor Ramadan night experience


421 Abu Dhabi Ramadan Program

This pet-friendly event  at 421 in Mina Zayed brings together a variety of local food concepts, creative businesses, artists, and artisans for two days of community activation. 421’s outdoor plaza will be transformed into a vibrant hub of activity, featuring entertainment for children and families, as well as over 10 different types of creative workshops and drop-in sessions for all to enjoy.

With live acts that include a solo performance by the UAE’s first Qanun player Nagham Al Debal, the Moonlit Market at 421 is a great way to experience the season’s spirit and connect with the local community.

Visitors can also sample a selection of homegrown food concepts that showcase the UAE’s vibrant culinary scene, with F&B offerings that include Yalla Kombucha, Pink & Greens, House of Pops, Smokin Barrel, Yamasaki, and more.

A detailed market schedule and a full list of vendors is available on the 421 website.

The market is free to attend and will run from 1-2 April, from 9pm to 1am.


Drop-in Market Workshop: Pop-up stargazing session with Al Sadeem Observatory


421 Abu Dhabi

Experience the drop-in stargazing sessions at the Moonlight Market at 421, where you’ll have a much closer look at the stars, moon, and distant planets using smart telescopes.

The smart telescopes also allow participants to capture high-resolution starry images of the night sky that can be directly downloaded to their smartphone, so visitors can take a piece of the night sky home with them.

Organised in collaboration with Al Sadeem Observatory’s astronomy team, the session welcomes participants of all ages and is particularly suitable for families with children. Experienced astronomers will guide the session.

The sessions will be held on 1-2 April, from 9pm to 12am.


Drop-in Market Workshop: Tasting session with Mirzam Chocolate Makers


Discover the secrets of bean-to-factory chocolate making and the journey of cocoa beans coming to the UAE from Africa, South Asia, and Latin America.

Participants can taste multiple single-origin chocolates and learn about the flavourful complexity of single-origin cacao notes with this highly educational workshop led by the expert chocolate makers from Mirzam.

The workshop lasts approximately 45 minutes and is open to all ages, but highly recommended from age 7 and above.

The tasting sessions will be held on 1-2 April, from 9pm to 12am.


Podcast Listening Party: ‘Art Collectives: From Cover to Cover’


421 Abu Dhabi Ramadan Program

This immersive auditory experience is an exploration of language, words and literature in the contemporary UAE through the life and work of poet Nujoom Al-Ghanem and the contemporary production of JARA Collective.

Participants will listen to episode four of Season 2 of the podcast series ‘A Future in the Folds of the Past’, titled ‘Art Collectives: From Cover to Cover’, where participants will get to know how Al-Ghanem influenced Emirati literature and how JARA contributed to the modern publishing industry.

Along those lines, the episode will also paint a picture of literature and publishing in the UAE and how it developed and evolved during the past 50 years.

Following the episode, there will be an open discussion with the interviewees or producers exploring the history of art collectives in the UAE and communal art-making. Refreshments, snacks, and bean bags will be provided, and there will be simultaneous English and Sign Language interpretation.

‘A Future in the Folds of the Past’ is a podcast series produced by 421 and Kerning Cultures that commemorates the influence of grassroots art collectives in the UAE and is the only Arabic-language podcast dedicated to contemporary visual arts in a documentary format.

The podcast is a journey that explores the UAE’s art history, featuring interviews with artists and discussing their legacy and influence on contemporary art.

Discover the podcast here: podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/421-online/id1505182612

The listening party will be held on 6, 13, and 20 April, from 9pm to 11pm.


Culture Bus


421 Abu Dhabi Ramadan Program

Explore some of the most interesting cultural locations across the UAE onboard the 421 Culture Bus.

Get discounted rates on tickets and guided tours as the 421 Culture Bus returns to transport you to and from Abu Dhabi with a group of like-minded art enthusiasts.

Here are some of the destinations to look forward to.

Bayt AlMamzar: Join the evening journey to Bayt AlMamzar this Ramadan where you will explore the Bayt AlMamzar galleries and enjoy a community potluck Iftar.

Bayt AlMamzar has been a domestic space since 1983, and today houses art studios, residencies, a gallery for exhibitions, a multi-use coworking space for public programmes, gatherings, and events, a rooftop space for screenings, dinners, and receptions, and a specialised library collection.

Meant as an evolving space that answers the needs of the UAE’s contemporary creative community, Bayt AlMamzar invites experimentation and strongly encourages multidisciplinary collaboration.

The 421 Culture Bus will visit Bayt AlMamzar on 8 April.

Al Sadeem Observatory: You shouldn’t miss this unique stargazing experience on the outskirts of the city where you’ll get a chance to observe the moon, stars, planets, and other cosmic objects using traditional and smart telescopes.

The 421 Culture Bus will visit Al Sadeem Observatory on 9 April, from 9pm to 1am.


Iftar at 421 with Chef Kuv


421 Abu Dhabi Ramadan Program

Grab your chance for a sensorial and flavourful supper club experience with Chef Kuv! This Iftar table takes you through otherworldly menus and expressive plates.

Known for his secret menus that are revealed only to the participants joining the experience, Chef Kuv’s special Iftar will be inspired by the spring equinox and the rituals of Nuwroz.

Chef Kuv, an architect from the UK, pioneered the supper club dining culture in the UAE, having kickstarted the movement about five years ago. He has a loyal following of veteran members of Kuv’s Secret Supper Club, who have enjoyed over 100 menus featuring cuisines from all over the world.

Chef Kuv’s approach to culinary experiences is focused on community-building and communal sharing, strongly emphasising nutrition and depth of flavours backed by thorough research.

The Iftar will be held on 15 April, from sunset onwards.


Apart from the Ramadan 2023 Program, 421 also has a number ongoing exhibitions that are sure to tickle the imagination of art lovers.

Here’s a roundup of the 421 art exhibits to add to your visit list.


And The Mirrors Are Many


421’s Winter 2023 Programme

And The Mirrors Are Many investigates institutional repositories of memory – the museum, the memorial and the archive – and poses the questions: why do we remember, and how? By examining these contemporary modes of remembering, the exhibition considers the relationship between remembrance and history and reflects on the aesthetics, techniques, provenance, and language that are deployed in the process of memory-making.

Referencing the Mahmoud Darwish poem On the Last Evening on This Earth in the title, the exhibition asks us to examine our shared histories through the lens of ongoing catastrophe that spans human history.

And The Mirrors Are Many explores the persistence of catastrophic events that continue to inscribe upon the present through traces, armatures, and echoes. Featuring annotations spread across the gallery spaces, as well as new commissions, And The Mirrors Are Many spans a myriad of mediums, from sculpture, video, and installation, to photography, printmaking and textiles.

Contributing artists in this exhibition are Maitha Abdalla, Rand Abdul Jabbar, Reem Al Menhali, Emii Alrai, Moza Almatrooshi, Nasser Alzayani, Hadeyeh Badri, Rohini Devasher, Vikram Divecha, Mirella Salamé, Sara Smarrazzo, Dima Srouji, and Fatima Uzdenova.

And The Mirrors Are Many is curated by Mona Al-Jadir and emerged from a year-long journey as part of the 421 Curatorial Development Exhibition Program in collaboration with The Bombay Institute for Critical Analysis and Research (BICAR) and with mentorship from curator Sabih Ahmed.  

On view until 8 May.


Mahshid Rafiei: Of Mythic Proportions


421’s Winter 2023 Programme

The first solo exhibition presenting the work of Mahshid Rafiei, Of Mythic Proportions is a large-scale installation of five newly commissioned works.

The installation, which takes up the entire space in Gallery 1, suggests that illusion is not the antithesis of truth but a co-conspirator, guiding us in a world of loss.

Of Mythic Proportions includes sculptures and sound pieces where elements are intentionally hidden to offer a deceptive reading, and asks us to consider how art provides a stand-in for what might be missing.

Through this play on illusion and perception, Rafiei explores the myth of origin and the aesthetic processes of its conservation. One of Mahshid Rafiei’s inspirations for this exhibition was a 19th-century poem by a Bedouin woman. To assuage the grief of a she-camel in her flock who had lost a calf, she inflated the skin of the camel’s dead baby, so that the animal might believe it was still alive.

This exhibition is a result of the 421 Artistic Development Exhibition Program, which is organised in collaboration with pedagogical partner The Institute of Emerging Art. Of Mythic Proportions is the inaugural presentation of the 2023 edition of the programme.

On view until 8 May.


Curator-led tours of ‘And The Mirrors Are Many’


Join exhibition curator Mona Al-Jadir for a special guided tour of the major exhibition And The Mirrors Are Many. The 45-minute tour will include an in-depth discussion around the themes of the exhibition and an overview of the artworks on display.

The tour also includes a performance by artist Reem Almenahli.

Guided tours are scheduled on 8 and 22 April, from 10am-9pm. The tour is free to attend, but prior booking is required through Curator-Led ExhibitionTour


Performance by Reem Almenhali


In this performance commissioned by 421, Reem Al Menhali presents a series of poems of varying lengths, tones, and rhythms to reimagine historical time-keeping.

Assuming the position of the ‘Person Standing Outside Time’ in her writing and when observing her own life, Al Menhali creates a fictional calendar that fuses the mythical, the real, and the imaginary.

The performances are free to watch and are held until 8 May as part of the exhibition And The Mirrors Are Many. To attend Al Menhali’s performance, book a guided curator tour of the exhibition through 421 Online Visit.



1-29 April


421 Abu Dhabi in Mina Zayed


For more information about 421 and to register, visit 421.online

Follow Yalla – Abu Dhabi Life for all the latest events across the capital and beyond

Image source 421 Abu Dhabi

Read more

Sign up to our Yallagram for a chance to win a shopping voucher worth AED 200 every month

(Terms & conditions apply)