Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 28 January 2020

School pupils bring Louvre Abu Dhabi artworks to life

Children from the UAE narrate stories of the past as part of a new Young Guides programme

School pupils from across the UAE let their creativity roam free to bring treasured exhibits to life at Louvre Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

In a first for the landmark Saadiyat Island museum, about 60 youngsters from private schools in the capital narrated the stories behind some of the most popular objects from its permanent collection.

For six weeks, children from 10 schools trained with Louvre Abu Dhabi’s education team to learn how to present and educate a museum-going audience about precious artistic objects.

From a striking statue with two heads dating back to 6,500 BCE and discovered in Ain Ghazal, Jordan, to Dutch artist, Piet Mondrian’s, Composition with Blue, Red, Yellow, and Black painting, the pupils moved around the museum detailing the history of each object through monologues, song and dance.

We really wanted the pupils to use their creativity to unleash what they had learnt about each of the historical pieces

Maral Jule Bedoyan, Louvre Abu Dhabi

Interacting directly with the public, schoolchildren aged five to 14 went live with their performances as part of the inaugural Young Guides programme, which is currently in its pilot phase.

“Today we launched the Young Guides museum voices programme, which focuses on providing the opportunity for pupils to express themselves and interpret our collections in their own way,” Maral Jule Bedoyan, education and learning resources manager at Louvre Abu Dhabi, told The National.

“It’s not your typical guided tour where someone goes around speaking about the artworks from an information-sharing perspective only.

“We really wanted the pupils to use their creativity to unleash what they had learnt about each of the historical pieces … art is about open interpretation after all.”

The Young Guides project is part of the museum’s educational mission to create a “cultural ecosystem in the UAE”.

Ms Bedoyan said it aims to foster "confidence in children" so they can become ambassadors for Louvre Abu Dhabi.

On Wednesday morning, guides from Repton School Abu Dhabi, Maplewood International School and Canadian International School wowed visitors with their interactive performances.

“The scientific, curatorial and education departments worked together to identify artworks for schools that lent themselves to performance and creative discovery,” said Sarah Louise Nunn, education unit head at the museum.

The Young Guides presentations will continue throughout 2020, with schools encouraged to sign up for the programme, which includes two free class visits to the museum to research the chosen objects.

Updated: December 4, 2019 05:44 PM

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