83% of UAE residents choose paintings as major art form
May 7th, 2017, Bridget Gleeson

83% of UAE residents choose paintings as major art form

Paintings (83%) are the most highly considered art form amongst UAE residents, followed by sculpture (65%) and photography (57%)

In the midst of the Dubai Art Season 1,001 UAE respondents were surveyed from YouGov’s online panel to discover what they consider to be art.

Across 16 different possible art forms, painting, sculpture and photography were unanimously chosen as the top three across all nationalities and age groups in the Emirates. In particular painting was chosen the most by Asians (92%).

Respondents aged 30-39 and 40 years and over (both 87%) are the most likely to consider painting as art compared to their younger peers with 9% fewer 18 to 29 year olds making the same choice (78%). Respondents in the highest age bracket (40+) were also more likely to choose sculpture (75%) and photography (66%) as art forms compared to 59% and 53% respectively amongst 18 – 29 year olds.

Overall comic books/graphic novels (26%), pop music (17%) and video games (14%) are least considered to be forms of art according to respondents. However unsurprisingly video games were the only art form more widely chosen by 18 – 29 year olds (18%) compared to 30 -39 year olds (10%) and 40+ year olds (14%).

The findings reveal females consider all art forms more highly compared to males. In particular, more females believe dance (50%) and photography (69%) are forms of art compared to 20% and 51% of males respectively.

The survey also used a variety of images to invite respondents to reflect on different artistry. Interestingly, the visual stimulus prompted the highest proportion of respondents to choose graffiti [Image 1] as an art form (64%), compared to 58% who chose the personal portrait [Image 4], 51% who chose the abstract [Image 3] and 25% who chose the photograph [Image 2].


It is clear to see paintings are widely considered as a form of art across the Emirates. However when using visual stimulus to invite opinion the findings illustrate just how open to interpretation art forms can be with the highest proportion considering the image of graffiti compared to more traditional paintings such as personal portraits or abstracts.

Despite youth taking up the largest proportion of the population in the Emirates, with the majority of older generations considering more art forms overall, the survey also suggests the older you are the more aware and discerning you are of art.

The survey was conducted amongst 1,001 YouGov panelists in the UAE between 8 – 15 March 2017 using Yougov's Omnibus Service. Data is broadly representative of the online adult population in the UAE.