Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Manarat Al Saadiyat

In my previous post I promised to elaborate more on Manarat Al Saadiyat, a 15,400 square metre arts and culture centre in Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. I couldn't help but feel proud of this place rich of culture and art (and I'm not even an Emirati!). Manarat Al Saadiyat constitutes of permanent spaces for a series of exhibitions, international art collections, and educational programmes organized by Tourism Development Investment Company (TDIC). This is part of an ongoing cultural programme dedicated to developing awareness and understanding of art and culture prior to the launch of the Saadiyat Cultural District (I want to live there!). 

So the lovely AD local Alia Al Qassimi took us on this mini tour around the place. and below you will find highlights of the tour. 

Indian artist Subodh Gupta’s Et tu, Duchamp? (2009-10) sculpture displayed on the entrance Manarat Al Saadiyat, is inspired by Marcel Ducham, a French painter and sculptor, specifically the infamous moustachioed Mona Lisa in 1919. He created a larger-than-life three-dimensional bronze sculpture of the bearded beauty. 

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s pre-opening exhibition at Manarat Al Saadiyat introduces the future museum’s curatorial vision through a theme-based collection presentation. Comprised of sixteen artworks acquired specifically for Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection, Seeing through Light: Selections from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Collection examines the theme of light as a primary aesthetic principle in art. 

Took this photo at the infinity mirrored room, part of Seeing through Light exhibition, by renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama (remember the LV polka dots collection? Yup that's her!). Basically it's a mirror-paneled instillation with LED lights and water. It felt so magical standing in the middle of this installation.

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is set to open in 2017. 

An art piece by artist Ghada Amer titled "The Words I Love the Most", created in 2012. Also part of the soon-to-open Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.

Rachid Koraichi, selected from Le Chemin des Roses (Path of Roses), 1995-2005. Part of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.  

Saadiyat Island is like a cultural hub, so in the next 5 years, 3 major museums will open, starting with Louvre Abu Dhabi, which will be the first universal museum in the Arab world. Shaped as a giant mushroom with cutout patterns, the museum will display art, manuscripts and objects of historical, cultural and sociological significance. The museum is due to open late 2015.

And then there is the prototype of Zayed National Museum, which is set to open in 2016. Fittingly elevated above the rest of the cultural district at its highest point, the museum tells the story of the region’s history and the unification of the United Arab Emirates through the life and person of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. According to their website, The Zayed National Museum’s distinctive towers are reminiscent of the wing tips of the falcon - a powerful symbol of the cultural heritage of the UAE. The building is designed to minimise energy usage by incorporating natural ventilation and lighting in the five towers. The museum is designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect Lord Norman Foster.

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