Abu Dhabi summit highlights culture is agent of change

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Abu Dhabi summit highlights culture is agent of change
Visitors at the at the Culture Summit Abu Dhabi 2018.

Abu Dhabi - Cultural enthusiasts from 80 countries meet in UAE Capital

By Jasmine Al Kuttab

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Published: Mon 9 Apr 2018, 5:48 PM

Last updated: Mon 9 Apr 2018, 11:07 PM

More than 400 artists, media experts, musicians and cultural enthusiasts from 80 countries, united under one roof at the Culture Summit Abu Dhabi 2018 on Monday.
The Culture Summit is the world's first high-level summit, which aims to bring industry leaders from the art world to look at ways in which culture can build bridges and raise awareness among societies, as well as promote unity and acceptance.
"Each and every one of you plays an influential role in driving change towards a greater understanding of what we can all achieve through culture, and be advocates for the role of art, creativity, education, and technology in empowering cultural understanding," said Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman, Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCTA).
Al Mubarak pointed out that throughout history, art has been a contributing and fundamental factor that brings together people from all walks of life.
"We strongly believe that culture can bring people together through dialogue, exchange of ideas, and simply though tolerance and acceptance despite our differences."
He stressed that the key to the power of culture is education. "We have seen what cultural dialogue can accomplish through Louvre Abu Dhabi, and we will continue our dialogue and be leaders in utilising this cultural agency and catalyse positive change in the world."
Al Mubarak noted that the UAE Capital has blossomed into the hub of multi-culture and art, and is welcoming people from across the world, to witness its awe-inspiring artistic journey.
"Culture is the agent for change, empowerment, tolerance and acceptance, and Abu Dhabi has proven to be a global centre that brings together thought leaders from all over the world, to continue an important dialogue about what we can collectively achieve through the power of culture."
Sara bin Safwan, researcher for Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, who also curated an art exhibition at this year's Culture Summit, told Khaleej Times that artworks are not merely objects to be looked at and enjoyed by viewers, as they should also promote positive change in societies.
"That's why this summit is really important, because it helps bridge different cultures together and different ideas together."
"Hopefully, during this period of time, the networking involved will help people go on to create future collaborations, which is crucial when it comes to developing our art and culture landscape here in the UAE," she added.

Emirati artists make a mark

The 24-year-old Emirati, along with Shaima Al Qasimi, created an interesting exhibition at the summit, titled 'This Time in This Place,' which presents five Emirati artists from different generations that are looking at how humans try to mark their time in history and how one tries to create his or her own legacy.
"The artists at the Culture Summit are really responding well to these works - they are looking at how we are looking at the future."
She pointed out that she hopes to witness more independent Emirati artists emerging in the scene, as the time is ripe for art-lovers and enthusiasts to develop and share distinctive works of art.
Emirati artist and student, Sara Al Meheri, exhibited some of her unique artworks at this year's summit.
Al Meheri said that she likes to work with textile art, and uses rough materials, including glass and paper. She stressed that her works aim to bridge between the English and Arabic languages, through her use of texts.
"These works question culture, they questions art and how art culture will evolve in the future," added the 19-year-old New York University Abu Dhabi student.

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