x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Community show links Saadiyat to the city

To "bring art to life", Artscape Madina will offer Arabic calligraphy shows, storytelling, music and photography to highlight the cultural district at Saadiyat Island tomorrow.

ABU DHABI // To "bring art to life", Artscape Madina will offer Arabic calligraphy shows, storytelling, music and photography to highlight the cultural district at Saadiyat Island tomorrow. "This will be a community event to celebrate all forms of art in a simple and acceptable way to make it accessible to everyone," said Rita Aoun-Abdo, the director of the cultural department at the Tourism Development and Investment Company.

The event will herald the final day of the exhibition Disorientation II: The Rise and Fall of Arab Cities. The selection of work by 16 contemporary artists from the Arab world has been on display since November. Artscape Madina is also an attempt to integrate Saadiyat Island into greater Abu Dhabi. "The word madina means 'city' and through Artscape we are translating the message that Saadiyat is becoming part of the city," Ms Aoun-Abdo said.

"Many people still see the island as a construction site, but we want to show that it is a vibrant part of the city." The four-hour event tomorrow night will allow visitors to take an interactive journey, experiencing all the elements that make up city life. The calligraphers Mohammed Mandi, from the UAE, and Haji Noor Deen, a Chinese Muslim who has a unique style of fusing Arabic and Chinese script, will create works before an audience.

Music will be performed by Ziryab, an electronic jazz fusion band. An Emirati storyteller, or hakawati, will narrate tales about the city and photographs by the Palestinian Tarek al Ghoussein and the American Steven Shore will be screened. The event's artistic director, Issam Bou Khaled, an experimental and visual theatre director from Beirut, said the show would fire the public's imagination. "It is unique because the participation of the public is just as important as the art work," he said.

"They will not just be able to pass through the exhibition, they will become part of the living memory of the city of Abu Dhabi." Bou Khaled has led a workshop this week, passing on his skills as a theatre director to 12 employees from the Ministry of Culture. "I have been teaching them technical things and how to execute creative ideas for events like this," he said. "It is important because it will give them an idea of how to do things like this in the future - to allow art viewers in the Emirates to become part of the art world and enjoy the full experience."

@Email:aseaman@thenational.ae Artscape Madina runs from 6pm to 10pm at Manarat al Saadiyat. Entrance is free.