Expo 2020 Dubai: Inside a pavilion mapping Sheikh Mohammed's incredible journey

With a sculpture of Sheikh Mohammed’s favourite horse in the centre, this room showcases personal stories from his life navigating harsh terrains of the desert
With a sculpture of Sheikh Mohammed’s favourite horse in the centre, this room showcases personal stories from his life navigating harsh terrains of the desert

Dubai - The Vision Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai is an immersive dive into the building of the nation



by

Somya Mehta

Published: Thu 7 Oct 2021, 5:16 PM

Last updated: Mon 18 Oct 2021, 6:33 PM

“A life dedicated to Dubai and the UAE,” reads a board on the wall of the very first chamber we enter at the Vision Pavilion of Expo 2020 Dubai. Below is a nostalgic image of the visionary duo, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, with his father, the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

Located opposite the Women’s Pavilion, the grandiose structure that makes up the Vision Pavilion at the Expo is a sight for sore eyes. Within a time-span of 30 minutes, the visually-immersive experience takes the audience through the journey of Sheikh Mohammed’s life, all the way from his childhood, when the country was nothing but desert, to the present.

Sheikh Mohammed, who recently toured the pavilion, tweeted: "Today I toured the Vision Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai ... The idea of the pavilion is based on the book "My Story" .. The book in which I put fifty stories and stations from my life and my biography .. Childhood stories .. and the story of Dubai .. And my story with horses. I saw it today in a creative way in the Vision Pavilion Thanks to the creators..."

Vision Pavilion is located in Sustainability District
Vision Pavilion is located in Sustainability District

The engaging journey begins with stories of Sheikh Mohammed’s childhood in the desert, watching and learning from his father, who transformed Dubai from a small trade area to a robust financial centre, building resilience in an unpredictable terrain. Becoming the UAE’s first Minister of Defence at the age of 22, Sheikh Mohammed played an integral part in Dubai’s transformation in the following years, with the vision of accelerating the emirate’s transformation.

The next room showcases replicas from Sheikh Mohammed’s exquisite finds from the desert, including terrain-specific insects, gemstones and artefacts. The collection also showcases the golden ring, found in the midst of the UAE deserts, which inspired the famous golden-spiral logo for Expo 2020 Dubai.

The rooms at the pavilion also take the audience through Sheikh Mohammed’s various hobbies and his everlasting quest for thrill and adventure. A gigantic sculpture of his favourite horse adorns the pavilion, with a commentary of Sheikh Mohammed’s poetry collection playing in the background.

The final part of the tour takes us through the timeline of Dubai’s transformation, from desert to the modern metropolitan hub of today
The final part of the tour takes us through the timeline of Dubai’s transformation, from desert to the modern metropolitan hub of today

Just a little ahead, we see the pearl divers navigating though ocean waters, as we look up at the ceiling, capturing the UAE’s rich history of marine explorations. “I learned that the sea was not only sounds and smells, but the spirit of perseverance, the human stories and the feelings of joy or despair it sparked in the hearts of so many,” reads a quote by Sheikh Mohammed on the wall underneath the pearl-diving simulation.

The final part of the pavilion tour takes us through Dubai’s journey over the recent years, including major milestones, such as becoming home to the world’s tallest building and the rapid growth and expansion of Dubai International Airport, leading up to the present moment in time. Displaying snapshots of various people who’ve been part of this journey, the immersive experience ends with a forward-looking message filled with hope and perseverance, to take the city and the country to even greater heights in the coming future.

somya@khaleejtimes.com


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