This from the January 25, 2022 Gulf News. “UAE is a scintillating mix of hyper-modernity and deep-rooted tradition. The country has positioned itself behind an aim to make the Middle East a better place to live, succinctly verbalised in 2015 by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. For the UAE specifically, this has resulted in an atmosphere of opportunity and possibility, tempered justifiably by cultural considerations.
Despite being a relatively young nation – formed in 1971 – with an even younger arts scene – which arguably only revved up in the mid-2000s – the UAE is culturally sophisticated. If the adage that the past informs the present is true, it begs the question of what Emirati history holds that has permitted the accelerated dynamism of its art scene, which hit a significant milestone when the Louvre opened an outpost in Saadiyat Island’s Cultural District in Abu Dhabi in 2017.”
Not only is it a magnificently designed building it has a purpose and a philosophy which is enlightening, uplifting and inspired. “It is a bold but cohesive philosophy that guides the museum, taking advantage of an opportunity to shed new light on connections and acting as a meeting point, promoting tolerance and appreciation of difference rather than segregation. The Louvre Abu Dhabi encourages reconsideration of what has been learned, reframes intersections of local and global stories, and deepens understandings of the world by bringing fresh perspective and key works to the region – such as by Rembrandt, Magritte, or rare BCE works from Asia – as well as observing contemporary currents.”
That says it all – the promotion of tolerance and appreciation of differences. The Gulf News eloquently speaks of the architecture of the building. “An active new member of the international museum community, it is evolving with careful homage to art history, the trajectory of museology, and the history of the UAE. This is discerned through its architecture and existence as a museum-city in the sea. The Jean Nouvel-designed “floating” structure composed of 55 buildings and possessing its own microclimate is inspired by traditional Emirati homes, the narrow pathways of the Arabian media and falajs, Islamic geometrics via a monumental dome, and the refracted light play or ‘rain of light’ inspired by Abu Dhabi’s palm trees. Accessible by land or sea, Nouvel described the design as, “A welcoming world serenely combining light and shadow, reflection and calm. It aims to belong to a country, to its history, to its geography – without being a simple interpretation.”
The poetry of the building embodies the ambition of the UAE as a cultural player as much as the permanent artworks, artefacts and temporary exhibitions it displays within its 6,400-square-metres of galleries. However, the support the UAE provides its cultural sphere with from the top-down is met by the collection of the like-minded individuals who call it home who have built an open, welcoming cultural environment.”
The entire article may be found at https://gulfnews.com/kurator/share/louvre-abu-dhabi-where-the-past-informs-the-future-1.1643104294632
This was my January 25, 2022 wondrous day. Alarm woke me in time for sunrise morning prayers. Instant coffee in room while Instagramming and then sent blog and photos to Computer Guru Chris. Then a delicious breakfast buffet accompanied by Good Monning Mother from many of the staff. Also received many compliments on my chic attire. SAD (Sheikha Awesome Driver) arrived in a timely fashion and it was off to the Yas Mall for a PCR test. There were no lines, it is ridiculously inexpensive, the staff most helpful and cordial.
Decided to go back to the Louvre – to take in again The Phoenix and Dragon Exhibit.
But upon arrival learned that there was a special viewing for Members Only of the newest exhibit Versailles and the World. This from ismail@khaleejtimes “Organised by Louvre Abu Dhabi in partnership with the Musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon, and with the support of France Muséums, the exhibition highlights the eclectic history of France’s royal court at Versailles. Visitors will view more than 100 artworks from the collections of Louvre Abu Dhabi, the UK’s Royal Collection Trust, and 16 French lenders including the Musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon, and will also be able to enjoy a parallel public programme of wide-ranging cultural activities.”
There is more discussion of the function Versailles served promoting cultural exchange. “By focusing on the reception, interpretation, and assimilation of foreign cultures by the court, the exhibition explores how the Palace of Versailles became a place for cultural exchange between the French monarchy and court, and foreign ambassadors and diplomatic missions during the reign of three French monarchs – Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI.”
I have been to Versailles during my European traveling times but this was much better than the real thing. The powerful displays made you feel that you were there – without all the myriads of tourists swarming about. SAD and I were almost the only people there – as it was for members and their guests only – other mere folk tried to enter but were turned aside by an extremely polite staff member. Those turned away were not that polite, a threesome claimed it was the birthday of one of their small group. The staff member smiled:
She: Happy Birthday! I am sure you will enjoy the Phoenix and the Dragon exhibit.
Then as we exited a staff member informed that there was a private reception in the Museum Cafe. There were absolutely delicious canapés, desserts, coffee and juices. Climbed on the golf cart to greetings
He: Hello Sheikha Fatimah did you enjoy your visit?
Me: It was absolutely fantastic! I love this place!
The staff is so solicitous of me.
They: Welcome Back! It is so good to see you again.
Me: I love being here. I feel like I have gotten my money’s worth already and it is still January!!!
I have been the member of many museums in my time. The DeYoung and MOMA in San Francisco, the Tate Britain in London, VAG in Vancouver, to name a few. But the Abu Dhabi Louvre excels in every way and is much more accessible. I am truly blessed!!! Some photographs will follow. More photographs and a discussion of the works and their import will be featured in a subsequent blog.
One Photograph is of a Chinese Room, taken with my trusty iPhone. Life is fantastic – it could not get any better!!