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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Prize-winning poet Ben Okri pens an ode to Louvre Abu Dhabi

Nigerian poet and writer narrates his work for new video to launch international campaign to promote November opening

Award-winning Nigerian writer Ben Okri has been commissioned to write a poem to mark the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. David Levenson / Getty
Award-winning Nigerian writer Ben Okri has been commissioned to write a poem to mark the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. David Levenson / Getty

Awarding-winning Nigerian writer Ben Okri has been commissioned to write a poem to mark the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi next month.

He also narrates the work, entitled Why Are You, You? for a new video released this week to promote the museum on Saadiyat Island.

The title is addressed to the museum, which the poet says is: "A world, and a meeting of worlds."

The Louvre's "dream", Okri says, "Is to unite that which has been separated by history. To return the many to the one."

He describes the museum as a "twenty first century wonder" with: "Universal ideals, visions of art and truth."

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Read more:

Louvre Abu Dhabi opening date: museum will open its doors on November 11

Louvre Abu Dhabi: some of the world's most famous artworks will be on loan

Making A Masterpiece: The inside story of the Louvre Abu Dhabi

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The video shows children and adults from different cultures in locations around the world that range from Manhattan to the streets of Paris, a Japanese bullet train and a dhow sailing off the coast of Abu Dhabi.

It also draws on the concept of artistic universality, one of the museum's core themes, with similar shapes that reoccur in different cultures, from the ancient Pyramids of Egypt to the glass pyramid at the Louvre Paris and the snow-capped peak of Japan's Mount Fuji.

In another series of shapes, the video moves from the cells of a honey comb through an inlaid lid of an Islamic box and a stop sign, to one of the stars that form the roof of the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The 58-year-old writer, who won the Booker Prize in 1991 for The Famished Road, concludes: "Together we are more powerful than we know. We connect, we inspire, we multiply illuminations with the unique light of art."