Saadiyat showcases culture

The British Museum is back on Saadiyat Island, this time presenting a mixed collection of arts to represent all major cultures on the planet.


Silvia Radan

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Published: Tue 17 Apr 2012, 11:38 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 12:58 PM

At least two million years of human life will be seen through the more than 250 art pieces in the ‘Treasures of the World’s Cultures’, an exhibition organised by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (ADTCA) on Manarat Al Saadiyat.

The exhibition started on April 18 and will continue till July 17.

From paintings that reflect the rich and varied traditions of Islamic art and tools made in East Africa during the Old Stone Age, to masterpieces from the European Renaissance, the exhibition explores the varied interpretations of ‘treasure’.

Displaying examples of ‘buried treasures’ and recent artworks from around the world, it connects historical and modern cultural perspectives in one visual experience.

Not all art objects are borrowed from the British Museum, though. Some of the pieces on display come from Al Ain National Museum and Sharjah Archaeology Museum.

“This exhibition shares an underlying theme with Abu Dhabi’s cultural ambitions as both embody the desire to safe-keep treasures of the past for the present and the future.

This guardianship of ambitious cultural undertakings will also be reflected in the world-class institutions planned for Saadiyat, including Zayed National Museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi,” said Shaikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman of the ADTCA.

The exhibition starts with Africa, the birthplace of Homo sapiens, at a time when survival, success, status and relationships first began to depend on material objects.

Apart from weapons, jewellery and household objects, there will be texts on magic, amulets and letters written in the world’s oldest script — cuneiform.

Passing through time, religions and cultures, the journey will end in modern times with objects such as a 2001 woman’s cloth made of metal foil bottle tops and copper wire.

Among the exhibited artists are Pablo Picasso, Ali Kazim, El Anatsui and Bridget Riley.

Treasures of the World’s Cultures is the second of a series of exhibitions in the lead up to the opening of the Zayed National Museum, following last year’s Splendours of Mesopotamia, also organised in collaboration with the British Museum.

Throughout the three-month exhibition, guided tours and workshops will also be organised in relation with the exhibits.

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