x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

More spaces like this

An exhibition centre in Abu Dhabi should not be the last of its kind in the UAE.

Mao Zedong stares down at you from a silkscreen canvas. Behind him, there are cases of Kellogg's Corn Flakes and Brillo pad boxes from the 1950s. Andy Warhol makes a brief appearance.

But "here" is not the Guggenheim or the Museum of Modern Art. Here is Abu Dhabi, on a spit of Saadiyat Island, surrounded by sand and construction, that houses one of the most impressive exhibition spaces in the UAE.

Spanning over 15,000 square metres, Manarat al Saadiyat is an impressive feat of modern architecture. Its towering ceilings and stark walls have been built to house art collections and host events. These past few months, it has housed the RSTW exhibit - a collection of modern American art that includes the distinct works of Mr Warhol.

Most importantly, the space is a place for young minds - future artists, curators, scholars and culture lovers. Here, people can exchange ideas, study the work of masters, and simply spend time in a space steeped in culture.

Spaces like this are integral to the development of creativity and innovation in the UAE. The Shelter, Dubai's ever-expanding cafe concept that offers young people a place to study, perform and interact, is another example of the growing need for these spaces. Every mind attempting to push boundaries requires a shelter to pause and reflect.