The Louvre Abu Dhabi with the Abu Dhabi skyline in the background.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
Louvre Abu Dhabi’s new cultural season will be anchored by three international exhibitions, the launch of a new annual exhibition and art prize, and a popular ongoing exhibition at the Children’s Museum, accompanied by a public programme.
In celebration of the UAE’s 50th National Day and the museum’s own fourth anniversary on November 11, on offer is a range of programming and events celebrating global exchange and connectivity with Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates.
A new exhibition, held in partnership with the Musée national des arts asiatiques — Guimet and curated by Sophie Makariou, looks at artistic and cultural exchanges between China and the Islamic world (Oct. 6 — Feb. 12, 2022).
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Complementing the exhibition is a selection of hand-picked weekend family film screenings and kayak cinema shows in November and December. In addition, Dragon Boats joins the ongoing yoga and kayaking activities.
Through a joint collaboration with leading Swiss watchmakers Richard Mille, Louvre Abu Dhabi has established an annual exhibition and art prize for contemporary artists. From the shortlisted artists, one will be selected as the winner of the Richard Mille Art Prize and awarded $50,000.
The inaugural exhibition Louvre Abu Dhabi Art Here 2021 will feature all shortlisted, UAE-based artists’ proposals (Nov. 18 – Mar. 27, 2022) in the Forum, a space of interaction and exchange dedicated to contemporary art.
The first international exhibition of 2022, Versailles and the World (Jan. 26, 2022 — June 4, 2022), will be held in partnership with musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon.
It tells the story of Versailles as a central diplomatic instrument that solidified the prowess of the French royal court and served as the stage for its fascination with various civilisations in a rapidly globalising world.
Global cultures and aesthetics found themselves represented at Versailles as it transformed into a diplomatic hub receiving foreign dignitaries from all around the world.
The visits ushered in an unparalleled era of artistic and commercial exchanges, which will be brought to life in the exhibition through an array of objects, from Chinese and Japanese lacquerware to wallpapers and porcelain.
Delving into one medium that is crucial to artistic production, documentation and communication, Stories of Paper (April – July 2022) traces the origins of paper in all its forms, from ancient China and the Islamic world, to contemporary global societies.
At a time when the use and purpose of paper is being questioned in an increasingly digital world, the exhibition seeks to define paper as part of a global, collective human heritage.
The Emotions! The New Art Adventure exhibition, continues in Louvre Abu Dhabi’s Children’s Museum. Kids and families navigate three floors of interactive activities, artworks and games, to explore four key emotions: joy, sadness, fear, and anger.
They can learn to let unpleasant feelings go, explore ways cultivate happiness and come away understanding the emotions. Access to the museum and the exhibition is free to all children under 18.
Coinciding with the museum’s anniversary, 59 new loans and 56 new acquisitions go on view in Louvre Abu Dhabi’s galleries. Works on loan come from lending institutions within the France Muséums network, along with regional and local partners.
In celebration of the UAE’s 50th National Day, Louvre Abu Dhabi will display artworks from each of the seven Emirates — including loans from national museums and institutions such as the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi and Dubai Municipality. Visitors to the museum will be greeted by a new pairing of works upon entry — the bronze sculpture The Words I Love Most by Egyptian artist Ghada Amer (2012) on loan from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, in dialogue with the new acquisition Series of eight allegories attributed to Jacob de Backer (Antwerp, active between 1571 and 1585).
Both works explore the possibilities of word and image in expressing complex human and societal values, such as love, charity and hope. The universal, moral guideposts, though represented differently, connect civilisations across time and geographies.
As part of its Research Programme, Louvre Abu Dhabi presents a talk series in collaboration with Cartier at the Women’s Pavilion at EXPO 2020 Dubai, using artworks from the museum’s collection to initiate discussions on landmark moments in women’s history.
To celebrate the nation’s Jubilee, December also sees the museum’s iconic dome transformed into an audio-visual installation reflecting 50 years of the UAE, including a roller-skating rink for an event in collaboration with Madrollers, open to children in the afternoon and to young people in the evening.
The event consists of digital wall-mapping showcasing images and videos of the UAE over the past five decades, alongside a DJ playing nostalgic Emirati music.
In Enjoy Drawing at the Museum each week, one can explore an artwork, develop sketching skills and learn about different aspects of drawing, such as form and perspective from ancient ceramics and reliefs.
The wannabe artist — or the established one who wants to go back to his roots — can marvel at the intricacy of the human form, analyse light and shade, and observe the dome and architecture.
Participants end each two-hour visit by taking part in a group discussion to critically reflect, share insights and discuss ideas.
The museum’s #MakeandPlay initiative continues in the form of videos online and drop-in sessions. Make and Play drop-in activities are linked to the museum artworks, allowing participants to create an original flipbook, a helmet, a mask, a costume, or a paper horse, in four activity stations. The events will run alongside the ongoing programming directed at senior Emirati citizens and People of Determination.
For visitors undertaking a self-guided tour at the museum, or wishing to explore from afar, WE ARE NOT ALONE is a futuristic audio-visual experience available via Louvre Abu Dhabi’s website and app, offering users a sci-fi-inspired tour developed by SOUNDWALK COLLECTIVE.
The museum also invites attendance at its newly renovated Aptitude Café @ Louvre Abu Dhabi’s Art Lounge and points out that LATES are starting again (from Nov. 3), with the Wednesday Dome edition allowing visitors to enjoy complimentary access under the museum dome, to take in the architecture of the ‘museum city’ as the sun sets over the sea. The evenings are themed, offering programming such as poetry and film screenings.
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