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Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, an art enthusiast, to change cultural landscape of Abu Dhabi

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, has been instrumental in converting the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, into a global centre of art and culture.

The famous Louvre Abu Dhabi is a remarkable achievement that has become a creative haven. Abu Dhabi is now a shining example of 21st century city. The upcoming openings of the Zayed National Museum and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will add more feathers to its crown.

The Capital had two venues for artists in the early 1980s: the Cultural Foundation and the National Theatre. Both opened in 1981, served as hubs for artists to exhibit their work.

Also read: Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan elected President of the UAE

The National Theatre, the region’s largest auditorium, hosted plays, movie screenings, and conferences and exhibitions. The Cultural Foundation featured the nation’s first library, as well as a performing hall and an exhibition centre. In 1996, the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation was founded to help artists and the cultural industry.

Revolutionary change

The city’s art culture has seen revolutionary change in the last two decades or more, primarily since Sheikh Mohammed was appointed Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi in 2004. Several major projects were launched, and Abu Dhabi began to host international summits, conferences, and exhibitions, attracting world leaders.

The first Abu Dhabi Festival was held in 2004 and was generously supported by Sheikh Mohammed. The ‘Bilad Al Khayr’ event celebrated the principles of dialogue, tolerance, respect, and peace.

The first edition of Abu Dhabi Art was held at Emirates Palace in 2007, under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed. Abu Dhabi Art is a year-round visual arts programme that includes art installations and exhibitions, residencies and events, and culminates in an annual art fair in November.

Ambitious cultural vision

In the late 2000s, numerous big initiatives were taken to showcase the leadership’s new cultural perspective. The Cultural Foundation was closed for renovations, and another massive project, Saadiyat Island’s Cultural District, was initiated.

The 27-square-kilometer natural island, located just minutes from downtown Abu Dhabi and 20 minutes from the airport, is now a world-class cultural hub hosting the world’s greatest single concentration of top cultural treasures, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi. In the future, it will also include the Zayed National Museum and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.

Listed below are few of the significant institutions that promote art and culture in Abu Dhabi:

Culture Summit Abu Dhabi

The first Culture Summit was held in 2017. Culture Summit Abu Dhabi examines pressing current themes through a series of panel discussions, keynotes, presentations, movies, and interactions. Eminent figures from the cultural and creative leadership, representing government, artistic, heritage, educational, scientific, technical, and charity work sectors from around the world, attends the summit.

Berklee Abu Dhabi Centre

Berklee College of Music, an internationally recognised contemporary music and performing arts institution, established Berklee Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island in 2020. The establishment demonstrated the Capital’s status as a dynamic cultural scene. A 42,000-square-foot arts education centre includes a performance hall, a world-class recording studio, rehearsal studios, practice rooms, ensemble rooms, a tech lab, and office space.

Louvre Abu Dhabi

The UAE and France established a cultural relationship in 2007. The collaboration resulted in the establishment of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The landmark museum combines the UAE’s ambitious vision of cultural advancement and openness with France’s expertise in art and museums. The Louvre Abu Dhabi promotes intercultural understanding. This art lover’s paradise features pieces with historical, cultural, and sociological relevance.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi celebrates cultural achievements from antiquity to the current day. The galleries are not organised geographically, but rather chronologically.

Also read: Louvre Abu Dhabi to be transformed into Versailles Royal Opera House for a secret soiree

Cover Image Source: Wiki Commons