Manuel Borja-Villel, Director of Madrid’s Reina Sofia Museum, at Riwaq al Fikr.
ABU DHABI: Riwaq Al Fikr, Abu Dhabi Festival’s annual debate series, returned to the capital this year for stimulating talks and immersive discussions offering insightful dialogue by thinkers, diplomats and cultural leaders. On 21 March the 2019 programme, supported by Emirates Global Aluminium, featured a discourse on ‘Art, Tourism and Melancholy’ by Manuel Borja-Villel, Director of Museo Nacional Centro de Atre Reina Sofia, more commonly known as Madrid’s Reina Sofia Museum.
As one of the most influential museum directors and a respected authority on modern and contemporary art, Borja-Villel provided insights into the crucial role that arts institutions play in contributing to communities and the wider society, particularly through the artists, curators and educators they present to the public. The discussion also examined how the Reina Sofia museum has functioned as an important centre for the Arts for decades and the impact it has had on the arts sector in Spain, as well as internationally. Borja-Villel went further, explaining his thoughts on self-reflection and self-critique, as well as other ways in which to gather feedback from communities and external entities.
Huda Ibrahim Alkhamis, Founder of Admaf and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival, said, “Debate and discussion are healthy for society, for with them we foster tolerance and respect. Since 2010, Abu Dhabi Festival’s annual Riwaq Al Fikr has engaged hundreds of panellists and thousands of audience members with meaningful discourse exploring contemporary issues, proving to be a perfect event for nurturing the nation’s next generation of leaders with cultural diplomacy. This dynamic discussion series provides a platform for insightful dialogue and debate between Emirati youths and students, and thought leaders, cultural leaders and diplomats, stimulating appreciation for the arts and culture, and it has been shown to instigate change, encouraging progress and inclusion.”
Riwaq Al Fikr is part of the Abu Dhabi Festival 2019 Youth Platforms and Community Programmes, offering insightful dialogue on popular cultural topics. Since 2010, the programme has held 26 sessions, hosted 109 panellists, welcomed more than 2,850 audience members and provided more than 44 hours of meaningful, impactful discourse.
This year’s Abu Dhabi Festival will conclude with two exceptional renditions of George Balanchine’s masterpiece, Jewels, by The Paris Opera Ballet on 29 and 30 March.