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Louvre Abu Dhabi sends message of hope — Mohammad Bin Zayed

Fireworks marks museum opening on Thursday night, and doors open to all on November 11

Image Credit: AFP
Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed, Emmanuel Macron, Mohammad Khalifa Al Mubarak and Brigitte Macron tour the Louvre Abu Dhabi after its inauguration on Wednesday.
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Despite wars and conflicts, the Louvre Abu Dhabi sends a positive message of hope, a top UAE leader announced hours after the museum was officially inaugurated in the capital.

“We seek peace-loving communities, built on coexistence and tolerance. We aspire for a better life for all, based on love and respect. The Louvre Abu Dhabi sends a positive message to the world that we are capable of giving hope to this region despite wars and conflicts,” His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said on Twitter.

Shaikh Mohammad’s comments came after the Louvre Abu Dhabi was opened on Wednesday night at Saadiyat Island.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is the result of an intergovernmental agreement between the UAE and France, signed in 2007. It loans the name of the Louvre for 30 years and six months, artworks from 13 French institutions for a decade, and temporary exhibitions for the next 15 years. The deal, which also includes a provision for French managers to oversee the loaned artwork, is said to have cost about $1.27 billion (Dh4.66 billion).

In an impassioned speech last night, French President Emmanuel Macron similarly testified to the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s role in uniting world cultures.

“The birth of this global cultural landmark in Abu Dhabi is a response to those who seek to destroy the humanity. This marvellous museum displays the different eras of civilisation,” he said.

He also praised the UAE’s wise policy positions.

“The UAE gives us a success story in many phases. The country also succeeded in facing many challenges, including the climate change,” President Macron said.

“The UAE is a crossroads connecting the East and the West, a melting pot for various cultures and the closest friend to Europe. It has skilfully maintained a delicate balance in its relations with the European, African and Asian continents,” he added.

On Thursday night, the opening was celebrated through a fireworks display. In addition, a light show that has been inspired by Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection and architecture was performed by French pyrotechnic wizards, Groupe F.

The museum will open its doors to members of the public at 10am on November 11, allowing them access to more than 600 artworks and artefacts on display. Among these are pieces from the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s 620-piece permanent collection, and more than 300 loaned items from French and regional institutions.

Experts have repeatedly emphasised the universal nature of the museum, which arranges items in a chronological trail while indicating the commonalities across various human cultures and civilisations.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi’s architecture by award-winning French architect Jean Nouvel has also been the object of much praise and admiration. The facility consists of 55 white buildings separated by narrow corridors, akin to an old walled town in Arabia. These structures are topped by a 180-metre dome that allows light to penetrate at specific angles through its eight layers, and creates the effect of being under a roof made of palm fronds within the museum. And at night, it looks like thousands of glittering stars.

From Saturday night onwards, a number of notable performers will also entertain visitors to the museum as part of the opening week festivities, including French singer and rock guitarist Matthieu Chedid, known as –M–; Malian performer Fatoumata Diawara; Lebanese jazz and world musician Ebrahim Maalouf; and singer and dancer Totó La Momposina, whose performances are inspired by Colombian Caribbean traditions.