The Louvre Museum at Abu Dhabi “more universal than the Louvre” in Paris, according to Jack Lang, was given a grand opening on Wednesday, November 8 2017,bringing the symbol of France to the East along with the message of “tolerance” in a particularly violent period.
Ten years after the start of the work, the first global museum in the Arab world will be officially inaugurated in the presence of France’s president, Emmanuel Macron and the strong man of the United Arab Emirates Mohamed bin Zayed and will open its doors to the public on Saturday with concerts and dance spectacles lasting till November 14 by artists from all over the world.
The French architect Jean Nouvel who designed the “museum-city” built a space on the Saadiyat Island made up of 55 white buildings inspired by the old Arab neighbourhoods. The project is the result of an intergovernmental agreement signed in 2007 between Paris and Abu Dhabi.
There will be 600 works in the permanent collection of the Emirates Museum, of which more than 200 will be already be exhibited on the opening day. Just 5% of the entire museum, which has 23 permanent galleries, will be devoted to modern and contemporary art. The museum aims to reflect cultural exchange through works of art from Prehistory to the present day .
Unlike other museums, the Louvre in Abu Dhabi highlights universal issues and the common influences between cultures. Among the works to be exhibited together are a 6th-century Qur’an, a Gothic Bible and a Pentateuch, as well as Buddhist and Taoist texts.
For Jack Lang, president of the Arab World Institute and former Minister of Culture, the new museum is more ecumenical than the Paris Louvre because it embodies the idea of a museum of different continents and diverse cultures. The Abu Dhabi Louvre is also a “project of hope in a world that will show respect for views and differences” in the face of “fanaticism” and “terrorism”.
Mohammed Halifa Al Mubarak, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, said the Louvre is one of the key elements of his country’s strategy for culture and the symbol of a state that is “tolerant and open to diversity”.
Visitors will be able to tour the galleries and walking areas under a dome with a 180 m diameter, made up of 7,850 metal stars through which the sun rays enhance the museum’s interior.