The museum unveiled a new programme of events for the year ahead
French foreign minister visits Louvre Abu Dhabi as new schedule launched
The French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian visited Louvre Abu Dhabi on Tuesday as the museum announced a new programme of events for the upcoming year.
“I have followed the temporary exhibition programming of Louvre Abu Dhabi with surprise and admiration,” Le Drian said at a press conference held at the art space.
The minister then continued his tour of Abu Dhabi with a visit to Masdar City and an audience with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
A year of French-Emirati cultural dialogue was announced last February in parallel with the UAE’s Year of Zayed. It manifests itself in cultural events exploring the two cultures, both in the UAE and in France.
The initiative has also overseen the introduction of French into UAE schools.
Notable events include Bizet’s Carmen, currently showing at Dubai Opera; George Balanchine’s Joyaux by the Ballet de l’Opera National de Paris during the Abu Dhabi Festival in March; and a retrospective later this month of Emirati artist Abdul Qader al Rais at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris.
Noura Al Kaabi, the UAE's minister of culture and knowledge development, was also in attendance.
She said the two focuses for the second phase of the French-Emirati cultural dialogue are “arts and artificial intelligence” and “protecting endangered cultural heritage around the world”.
“Louvre Abu Dhabi’s new season, A World of Exchanges, will offer visitors an opportunity to engage with a diverse programme and new conversations about different civilisations and their connecting points,” said Mohammed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of Abu Dhabi’s culture department.
The current show, Japanese Connections: The Birth of Modern Décor, details the influence of Japanese print-making on a group of artists working in France in the late 19th century.
As part of the new programme, the museum will host Roads of Arabia this November, which looks at the archaeological heritage of the Arabian Peninsula. Previously focused on Saudi Arabia, this version will integrate artefacts from the UAE, underscoring the shared history of the two countries.
The exhibition originated at the Musee du Louvre in 2010 and this edition has been curated by Souraya Noujaim, Louvre Abu Dhabi’s scientific, curatorial and collections management director, and Noëmi Daucé, chief curator of archaeology.
Other planned exhibitions include Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age: The Leiden Collection and the Musée du Louvre, opening in February. In April, a show looking at the invention of photography, drawing on early photographs from the collections of the Musée du quai Branly, will open.
Photography was invented in France in the early 1800s and was quickly picked up for a number of uses, ranging from the scientific to policework. Coinciding with colonialism, it also helped geographically diverse societies gain an understanding of each other, and gave cultures a tool to document their own histories.
There will also be music and academic events, such as a conference on museum studies organised in collaboration with the Ecole du Louvre, the university-level institution affiliated with the Musee du Louvre in Paris.