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Photo by Tom Abi Samra

The Louvre Abu Dhabi’s One Year Anniversary

The Louvre curated various new exhibitions and shows in celebration of its one year anniversary.

Nov 17, 2018

From Nov. 8 to Nov. 11, The Louvre Abu Dhabi celebrated its first anniversary. New exhibitions and shows were curated in honor of the museum’s first year as part of Abu Dhabi’s growing art scene. Visitors witnessed a culmination of the arts; from paintings and sculptures to music and poetry, the event celebrated the diversity of art.
One of the main shows, On the Roads of Arabia, premiered on Nov. 8 and continued showing throughout the event. The show was inspired by the new exhibition of Roads of Arabia: Archaeological Treasures of Saudi Arabia, and featured 80 artists from across the Arab world and Asia telling the history of the Arabian Peninsula.
The performance explored the region’s history as a trade hub and the religious and cultural intermingling that took place through dance, poetry and music. The performance was accompanied by a calligraphy performance by street artist Koom.
On Nov. 9 and 10 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., a series of pop up spoken word performances titled Spoken Art took place. The performances were curated by Dorian Paul Rodgers, founder of the longest running open mic night series in the UAE, Rooftop Rhythms. The poems were inspired by the different artworks and galleries in the museum and covered themes such as the power of art, the origins of human life, female empowerment and the rewriting of art history.
Two galleries had their own dedicated poets appearing with performances between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Nov. 9 and 10, with Alton Ramsey, MC of the event, introducing them. The poets featured were Safwa Mohammed, Danabelle Gutierrez, Jayzus Zain, Qutouf Yahia, Jorge Monterrosa, NYU Abu Dhabi Alumna Shamma Al Bastaki, Class of 2018, and current student, Aathma Dious, Class of 2021.
Gutierrez felt it was important that poetry was introduced as part of the museum’s art.
“When I first came to the Louvre, every exhibit was so poetic that doing spoken word for it feels right. I really hope poetry becomes a normal part of the art world. It is a literary art form after all. It was an honour to be able to do this.”
Jayzus Zain, a secondary school teacher at the Creative British School Abu Dhabi, commented on how showcasing spoken word in the museum can help change opinions on the art form.
“It is inspiring, especially for young people to see this. Many of my students and mentees, they feel no one would want to listen to their poetry. To see such a big name like the Louvre Abu Dhabi involve spoken word as part of the museum, lets others believes that their writings, their poetry can go beyond the paper.”
To wrap up the anniversary celebrations, pop singer Dua Lipa was scheduled to perform on Sunday Nov. 11. However, the breakout of a storm led to the concert being cancelled. Officials cited the safety of the audience as the reason for the cancellation. Abu Dhabi police sent emergency alerts to all residents warning them to stay indoors. Concert attendees were required to remain inside the museum for nearly two hours until the storm calmed down. Some took this opportunity to explore the museum. It was a grand finale to the Louvre's first anniversary celebrations — just not one they were expecting.
Aathma Dious is a staff writer. Email her at
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