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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

Tonight: Louvre Abu Dhabi Talking Art Series opens the topic of divine light

Previous Talking Art Series Panel at Manarat Al Saadiyat Island. (Photo Courtesy: TCA Abu Dhabi)
Previous Talking Art Series Panel at Manarat Al Saadiyat Island. (Photo Courtesy: TCA Abu Dhabi)

Tonight the Talking Art Series resumes on Manarat Al Saadiyat. This regular discussion platform takes as a starting point, an item from the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s permenant collection and uses it as a platform to discuss the history of art. Tonight Martin Kemp, emeritus professor of the history of art at University of Oxford and Sabiha Al Khemir, the Dallas Museum of Art’s senior Islamic Art advisor take a 14th century mosque lamp on loan from Le Louvre in Paris, to talk about light as a symbol of religion and philosophy. Here we catch up with Martin Kemp for a quick question and answer session

Anna Seaman: The study of light and its many variant uses is a huge topic - in that respect how useful is it to have a starting point such as this lamp?

Martin Kemp: It highlights the universality of light as a manifestation of divinity, and allows us to ask specific questions about its cultural expressions. I will be talking about the ingenious ways that divine light is represented in the naturalistic art of the Renaissance and how the optics are related to Islamic science.

AS: Will you be also addressing the subject of other pieces of the Louvre Abu Dhabi collection?

MK: I look forward to visiting the collection and incorporating some items!

AS: How engaged do you expect the audience to be on this subject; will it be an informative lecture or an activated discussion?

MK: I hope it will be richly informative and a lively discussion

AS: Teaching the history of art through objects in a museum format is something relatively new to the UAE - how vital do you think it will be to go towards educating the entire nation?

MK: The study of art is the study of material and visual objects. They speak to us both within and across cultures about fundamental human values that are ultimately shared, however varied the modes of expression. Coming to Abu Dhabi I am hoping in my own modest way to extend the education that is already in place into additional skills in the “reading” of artefacts.

* Representation and Symbolism of Light takes place tonight at 6.30pm, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi

* For more information about the Louvre Abu Dhabi Talking Art Series visit: saadiyatculturaldistrict.ae