From pop concerts to a dance performance and family events, Louvre Abu Dhabi’s first birthday party has something to suit all tastes
Our guide to the one year anniversary celebrations at Louvre Abu Dhabi
Louvre Abu Dhabi turns one this Sunday, and this weekend and next week will be packed with events at the museum. Here’s your guide to what’s going on …
Sunday: Dua Lipa live
Abu Dhabi fans can now get their second dose of one of the world’s biggest pop stars. With sold-out tours which included a packed du Forum performance earlier this year – and a series of hit singles including Scared to Be Lonely, her collaboration with Martin Garrix, the 23-year-old is experiencing her biggest year yet.
Lipa was born in London to Albanian parents before relocating to her family’s homeland for a four-year stretch as an 11-year-old. It was there that she was bitten by the music bug, thanks in part to the encouragement of her musician father.
Before long, Lipa began recording pop covers of her favourite artists such as Nelly Furtado and Pink, and dropping them on YouTube. Upon her return to London, she bolstered her performing skills through regular gigs. Her live appeal, not to mention her growing fan base on social media, led to Lana Del Ray’s manager signing her to Warner Music Group three years ago.
After working with an array of leading pop producers, Lipa’s 2017 self-titled debut album was an immediate success, with tracks such as New Rules and Be the One serving as new teen anthems. Her Louvre Abu Dhabi show will display why she is placed in pop’s upper echelons and is a chance for newcomers to see what they have been missing.
Concert village, November 11. Tickets are Dh200 with free entry to the museum from 2pm to 6pm. Doors open from 6pm with DJ sets before the show.
Thursday to Saturday: 80 musicians play for 75 minutes
Performers from Morocco to China will unveil this special show for the first time at Louvre Abu Dhabi. Inspired by the Roads of Arabia: Archaeological Treasures of Saudi Arabia exhibition, the 75-minute concert features more than 80 artists from the Arab world and Asia.
Through a mixture of dance, poetry and music, the show touches on how the Arabian Peninsula was a trading hub and a nexus of culture and religion, as well as a bridge between civilisations.
Artists such as Saudi Arabia’s Ensemble Al Bahhara and the UAE’s Al Ayyala dance troupe will be joined one of Iraq’s most revered singers, Farida Mohammed Ali. A legend of her country’s famed maqam music tradition, Ali’s performance will explore the genre’s architecture of melodic modes, indigenous instruments, vocal and instrumental performances.
Also taking to the stage is the Egyptian actor Hassan Youssef, Morocco’s Ensemble Rhoum El Bakkali, Indian dance group Ghewar Khan Manganiar and the brilliant Tunisian calligraphist Mohamed Koumenji, who works under the pen-name Koom.
Louvre Abu Dhabi Auditorium Plaza, 8pm, November 8 to 10. Tickets are Dh150.
Until November 16: A bespoke installation
Louvre Abu Dhabi has been visited by scores of nationalities, and now Salem Al Mansoori is turning this diversity into an artwork itself. The Emirati artist and designer transforms algorithmic data into beautiful, abstract forms. In his hands, for example, a poem by Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father, becomes a delicate 3D-printed sculpture. Now visitor figures for Louvre Abu Dhabi’s first year will become a map of the stars. Constellations is displayed across the museum’s entrance lobby, bringing new light to the building’s signature motif – its starry dome.
Entrance lobby, November 6 to 18, included in museum entrance ticket.
Friday and Saturday: spoken-word poetry
Dorian Rogers, the director of the phenomenally popular Rooftop Rhythms open-mic events, is curating a programme of spoken-word performances. Oral poetry is an important tradition in the Arabian Peninsula, from the Bedouins to the pearl divers. The latter believed their poems, when recited aloud, would waft off the sails of their dhows back to their families on land.
To celebrate this heritage, as well as to tap into the current interest in spoken-word performances in the UAE, Rogers is putting together a programme of oral poetry inspired by works in Louvre Abu Dhabi galleries. Participants include the poets Jayzus Zain from Sudan, Safwa Mohammed from the United States, Chamma Al Bastaki from the UAE and Danabelle Gutierrez from the Philippines.
Under the dome, 1pm to 6pm, November 9 to 10. Access to performances included in museum entrance ticket.
Friday and Saturday: Pop-up architecture weekend
Children and families can join in this “everybody is a designer” event, in which participants will work with geometric shapes to create their own designs for a museum. The event is led by the designer Noa Haim of Rotterdam-based Collective Paper Aesthetics. The Dutch studio has worked with top-class museums around the world, from London’s Tate Modern to the National Gallery Singapore. There will also be 30-minute architecture tours at 11am, 1pm, 3pm, and 5pm. These are for all ages.
Louvre Abu Dhabi park, 10am to 7pm, November 9 to 10, free
Thursday until February 16: Roads of Arabia exhibition
The museum is opening Roads of Arabia, an enormous exhibition of archaeological finds from the Arabian Peninsula that has been reworked for this showing to include works from the UAE. The exhibition surveys the history of Arabia, from caravan trading routes and holy pilgrimages to modern-day development. The idea of exchange across the peninsula will be paramount in the show, which is being curated by Souraya Noujaim and Noemi Dauce of Louvre Abu Dhabi alongside Jamal S Omar of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, which organised earlier versions of the show.
In the museum, entry included with general admission ticket.
Until November 24: Japanese Connections: The Birth of Modern Decor
The popular Japanese Connections: The Birth of Modern Decor has been extended by two weeks. The exhibition traces the influence of Japanese print-making on French painters of the turn of the century, particularly the artists who grouped themselves into the movement called Les Nabis. Working on canvas, screens and other domestic items, it illuminates a particularly beautiful moment of cultural exchange.
In the museum, entry included with general admission ticket
Until January 5: Manga Lab
Manga Lab, which is geared towards young adults, traces the influence of Japan in another way – through the cartoon style known as manga. This expressive style has pervaded movies and comic books as well as video games and advertising. This exhibition looks at manga as it moves across media.
In the museum, entry included with general admission ticket
Museums in the Modern World conference
Louvre Abu Dhabi is also hosting a two-day symposium on the topic of museums and globalisation, with major cultural figures such as Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum, Jean-Luc Martinez, president of the Louvre in Paris, and Sheikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, Minister of Culture for Bahrain.
The speakers will discuss the museums' role and responsibilities in a globalised age, how they can represent national and transnational art historical narratives, and the relationship between centre and periphery – and whether those terms still deserve to be used.
Melissa Gronlund and Saeed Saeed in Friday's ‘Weekend’ supplement will delve into Louvre Abu Dhabi’s ‘Roads of Arabia’ exhibition to tell the inside story