Aurora spectacle in UAE? Stunning light art exhibitions to illuminate Abu Dhabi sceneries from November

The artworks will dazzle across several key locations, including Lulu, Saadiyat, Jubail, Al Samaliyah and Fahid islands, and other coastal areas such as Corniche Road, and the Eastern mangroves


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Published: Tue 10 Oct 2023, 3:08 PM

Last updated: Wed 11 Oct 2023, 2:48 PM

Abu Dhabi's islands and mangroves are set to glow in mesmerising light shows starting November — and part of the exhibition may even look like the famous Northern Lights or aurora borealis (see the photo above).

With the theme 'Grounding Light', the Manar Abu Dhabi exhibition will showcase over 35 new site-specific commissions and light sculptures, projections, and immersive artwork by highly acclaimed local and international artists.

This inaugural edition of Manar will run from November 15 to January 30, 2024, offering residents and visitors opportunities to engage with stunning artworks and experience the transformative power of light.

The artworks will dazzle across several key locations throughout Abu Dhabi, including Lulu, Saadiyat, Jubail, Al Samaliyah and Fahid islands, and other coastal areas such as Corniche Road, and the Eastern mangroves.

Visitors will embark on a 2.3km art journey through Al Samaliyah; witness a Saadiyat Cultural District museum-inspired drone show on Saadiyat; and explore mesmerising displays on Lulu.

“Manar Abu Dhabi is more than just an art exhibition," said Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi).


"Our vibrant, dynamic city is the canvas, and the light art is a bridge connecting our past, present, and future. While appealing to audiences across the Abu Dhabi community and beyond, we especially aim to inspire the young minds who are our future," he said.

The commissioned artworks for the exhibition span a diverse array of mediums including light projections, sculptures, installations, and performances.

Among the participating artists are Alaa Edris, Carsten Höller, Groupe F, Mohammed Kazem, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Samia Halaby, teamLab, and more top talents from different parts of the world.

"With Manar, we are engaging our community in a dialogue that connects the aesthetic, historical, and social values of the city," said Rita Aoun, DCT Abu Dhabi’s culture sector executive director.

"Grounding Light is an experience designed to transform our perception of the world around us," said Reem Fadda, artistic director of Public Art Abu Dhabi. "The exhibition brings together an extraordinary array of artists whose works are intended to foster a sense of calm, engagement, and appreciation of Abu Dhabi’s unique biodiversity and natural beauty."

Besides the shows, a series of talks, workshops, and art performances will take place throughout Manar Abu Dhabi’s duration.

Curator Alia Zaal Lootah said, “The exhibition programme reflects the rich cultural legacy and contemporary aspirations of our city."

Manar Abu Dhabi is part of Public Art Abu Dhabi’s ongoing commitment to commissioning public art for the emirate; two other major long-term elements include the Public Art Abu Dhabi Biennial, launching in November 2024, and artist commissions.

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