q&a Abdulla Salim al Amri is the director of arts and culture at the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage.
'Music is a way to communicate'
Abdulla Salim al Amri is the director of arts and culture at the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH). He has overseen the planning of the upcoming Abu Dhabi Classics series, which will begin with the opening gala at Emirates Palace this Friday, and will run until May 2009.
I am an Emirati and I have been working in the art field since 1996. I am an artist and I paint photorealistic portraits and landscapes. When I was painting I was listening to a lot of classical music. I love to listen to music like Mozart, Beethoven and international music from different countries. I came to this field from an oil company and directly to the Cultural Foundation. Since 1996, I was the manager of the arts section, which is theatre, music, classical music, performing arts, exhibitions and cinema.
Our strategy is to be a cultural hub in Abu Dhabi and all the initiatives we are building up around the strategy target Abu Dhabi as an art capital. We are trying to change the mentality in the market here by bringing concerts of a very high level. Over time, we will find that the people are dedicated or connected to the programme, and not only from inside since our target is not only the UAE. We are targeting the Gulf region, the Arab world and also the international community.
This programme is a season. That's the difference between this and the other festivals we have here for limited periods like 10 days, or a week. Ours is a season and we are bringing concerts and artists to the region for the first time.
I love very good music. It's a very easy way to express yourself. Music is the easiest way to communicate with people, to communicate with different countries. What we are offering here is an official level and also for myself, attending concerts is a part of being civilized, being a modern human. Life is not only cars and TVs. You have to have living arts as well.
Building up your personality is a part of how you work on improving your knowledge of different fields like science and art. As for my background, I studied political science, but my hobby was art. So I started to read a lot, to attend a lot of exhibitions, to attend a lot of concerts, to listen a lot, to read about music. Music has been influencing people for so many years, and you will find the personality of the country, of the human in the music - it reflects everything. My personal interest in music is because it's a part of developing; it's developed humans for thousands of years.
Believe me, they affect people. In the UAE after 30 years, we have the knowledge that we need to develop society from all fields like arts and humanities. So this is why our government is spending a lot of money on developing people here by encouraging and promoting arts in the country - because it's buildings humans. We are developing society here.
Yes, we are now investing in the people. We've invested in the infrastructure, we've invested in cities in the UAE but now we are investing in humans by investing in programmes to develop to another level. Tickets for Abu Dhabi Classics are available at Virgin Megastores, from @email:www.timeouttickets.com, or by calling 800-4669.