ABU DHABI // A taster of what the much-anticipated Louvre Abu Dhabi will offer goes on display next week.
The first large-scale presentation of 130 artworks from the museum's permanent collection will go on show in the Birth of a Museum exhibition, which runs from April 22 to July 20 at Manarat Al Saadiyat.
"This is a feeling of what the museum is going to be like when it opens," said Hissa Al Dhaheri, project manager for the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
"A lot ofpeople are always questioning, 'what's going to be in Louvre Abu Dhabi?' If you want to know, just come to the exhibition."
The museum is due to open in 2015. The permanent collection includes ancient artefacts from Egypt, Turkey, Greece and Mali, and illustrates links between civilisations arising from shared human experience, transcending geography and history.
Key historical moments are encapsulated in works such as Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey's Ayoucha, the oldest known photograph of a veiled woman, taken in Cairo in 1843.
There is also a tile of arabesque patterns from the Ottoman empire and a silk painting from late 17th century Japan together with a delicate section of pages from the Quran and Suras, believed to be from 13th century Syria.
Portrait of a Lady, by Pablo Picasso, is also on display along with other contemporary art works.
The exhibition brings different cultures and ideas together through art, according to Ms Al Dhaheri.
"It's a universal museum with a universal collection that's going to attract, and is open to, a wide audience," she said.
"This is all part of the identity of this region, the openness and universality of this region to welcome people from different nations and different cultures and to live side by side."
Celine Hullo-Pouyat, senior project manager for the Louvre Abu Dhabi, said silent movies would also be included to help people gain a greater understanding of some of the pieces.
"They are showing the context of a selection of artworks in terms of history and geography, and also they are showing parallels of this particular artwork within the Louvre Abu Dhabi collection in various international museum collections," she said.
"It also shows that the Louvre Abu Dhabi collection is on the same level of international museums."
As well as gaining international attention, the museum is working to engage people living locally.
"We have been developing a lot of programmes with local schools," said Ms Hullo-Pouyat. "We are providing support materials to teachers and then they can see the exhibition and how they can use the collection for the benefit of education."
Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, said: "Birth of a Museum echoes Abu Dhabi's historical and geographical position and we hope this growing universal collection continues bridging civilisations, celebrating diversity and connecting cultures."
The opening of the exhibition will be attended by Jean-Luc Martinez, the newly appointed president-director of France's Louvre museum, and a book detailing a significant part of the collection will also be launched.
The Dh2.4 billion museum, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, is being built on Saadiyat Island and will comprise a built up area of 64,000 square metres, which will include pavilions, plazas and canals.
The Louvre will be located in the heart of the island's cultural district alongside the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, expected to open in 2017, and the Zayed National Museum, due to open in 2016.