Abu Dhabi

Louvre paints UAE on world cultural canvas

Ashwani Kumar/Abu Dhabi
Filed on November 11, 2018 | Last updated on November 11, 2018 at 05.25 am
Louvre paints UAE on world cultural canvas

The journey of Louvre Abu Dhabi started in 2007.

Louvre Abu Dhabi, a glowing example of the UAE's ability to execute a visionary idea successfully, completes one year today. The first universal museum in the Arab world has so far attracted more than a million visitors with its prized assets.

A week-long events are being planned to mark the first anniversary of the iconic cultural attraction in the country.

On the occasion, Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCTA), on Saturday, said: "We made the 'impossible' possible," adding that Louvre Abu Dhabi is an icon and favourite destination among residents and tourists.

The journey of Louvre Abu Dhabi started in 2007 when the UAE joined hands with France to develop a landmark guideline in cultural exchange. A museum in Abu Dhabi was a bold and risky venture but today it is the harbinger of hope, new identity and dynamism in the region.

Al Mubarak added: "Our strong collaboration with our French and regional partners supports the museum's mission to tell universal stories and we thank them.

"Yet our greatest success, 10 years in the making, is the next generation of Emirati museum professionals who are trained to the highest standard in the cultural sector and are leaders in their field. Louvre Abu Dhabi's vision is to celebrate cross-cultural connections that transcend geographies and civilisations, to see humanity in a new light."

Mix of visitors

The museum sees a diverse mix of visitors with residents making up to 40 per cent of the total number. There are people arriving from the region, Europe, Asia, the US and many other parts of the world.

Indians are the top nationality of visitors, including tourists and residents, followed by Emiratis who are number one repeat visitors. Significantly, 47 per cent of the museum's staff members are Emiratis.

The museum has hosted more than 1,000 school trips, 5,000 guided tours, workshops and master classes, and hosted 115 special events from Bait Al Oud performances to talks, film screenings and concerts with more than 400 artists from 22 countries.

Manuel Rabate, the musuem director, said:  "We have access to some of the most incredible collections and benefit from collaborating with some of the world's most qualified museum experts. Being a young museum in this region empowers us to be experimental and encourages us to be agile to appeal to our incredibly diverse audiences. We look forward to welcoming many more visitors in the exciting years to come."

One million visitors also justify Abu Dhabi's appetite for a museum, according to him.

Jean-Luc Martinez, president-director of Musee du Louvre, and president of the Scientific Council of Agence France-Museums, welcomed more people to experience the magic of Louvre Abu Dhabi.

"The exceptional collaboration between the French museumpartners and our colleagues in the UAE is at the  heart of this success  thanks to the quality of the 300 loans exhibited alongside a rich Emirati collection,"Martinez said.

Louvre Abu Dhabi is a symbol of the success of the UAE capital's diversification plan with regards to tourism and projecting itself as the cultural capital of the world.

Grand first anniversary events

Today, British singer and songwriter Dua Lipa will perform her hit singles and music videos, including New Rules and One Kiss. The sold out event will be held at concert village from 6pm. 

Another event of the day, Emirati interdisciplinary designer Salem Al Mansoori, will unveil an animated digital work titled Constellations. The work reflects the data of the Louvre Abu Dhabi over the course of the past year.

There will be two-day symposium titled 'Worlds in a Museum' in collaboration with Ecole du Louvre, addressing the topic of museums in a globalised world. Speakers include Shaikha Mai bint Mohamed Al Khalifa, Minister of Culture in Bahrain; Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of the Department of Culture & Tourism - Abu Dhabi; Jean-Luc Martinez, president-director of musee du Louvre; Henry Kim, CEO of Aga Khan Museum; François-Rene Martin, head of research team at École du Louvre; Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum; and James Cuno, president and CEO of J. Paul Getty Trust.

The museum's journey so far

Till date, Louvre Abu Dhabi in its first season themed 'A World of Exchanges' presented four international exhibitions, family-friendly exhibitions at its Children's Museum, Travelling Shapes and Colours, and the recently launched Animals: Between Real and Imaginary.

Recently, 11 new world-class acquisitions were unveiled at the permanent galleries, alongside new loans from 13 French partner institutions as well as regional and international museums.

Also, world's first roadside gallery spanning 100km of the Dubai-Abu Dhabi stretch Highway Gallery was launched.

>Louvre Abu Dhabi

Where: Saadiyat Island

Timings: Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday: 10 am to 8 pm

Thursday and Friday: 10 am to 10 pm) The museum is closed on Mondays.

Entry tickets: Dh60, Dh30 (13 to 22 years, UAE education professionals, and members of the military).

>Free for members of the museum's loyalty programme, kids under the age of 13, journalists, visitors with special needs and their companions, as well as ICOM or ICOMOS members.


Celebrating culture

The success of Louvre highlights the importance accorded to cultural learning in the emirates. Its opening was, in fact, a milestone for the region, one that has allowed several school-going children and grown-ups an exposure to the extraordinary works of the artists of the yore. The museum is a celebration of human ingenuity, creativity and ambitions. Perhaps, its success in the UAE should be complemented with efforts to strengthen cultural institutions that showcase Arabic way of life and heritage, too. 




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