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Abu Dhabi Celebrates the Beginning of Construction for the Louvre Abu Dhabi
Built on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, the 24,000 square metre Louvre Abu Dhabi was conceived by architect Jean Nouvel.

ABU DHABI.- His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, today welcomed French President Nicolas Sarkozy to a commemorative ceremony to mark the start of construction on the Louvre Abu Dhabi—the first universal museum to be built in the Middle East. In a presentation before dignitaries at Emirates Palace, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed and President Sarkozy accepted a time capsule for the museum from children from United Arab Emirates and France which will be placed in the Louvre Abu Dhabi at a future date.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and President Sarkozy also inaugurated a new preview experience of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, being presented through 2 July in Gallery One of Emirates Palace. Titled Talking Art: Louvre Abu Dhabi, the preview features a brief film about the design for the Louvre Abu Dhabi by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel; an illustrated talk; and a guided tour of selected artworks specially chosen to demonstrate the curatorial vision of the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

“Abu Dhabi’s ultimate goal in creating the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and indeed the entire Saadiyat Island Cultural District, is to build a platform for deeper and more meaningful exchange among people from our own region and from all parts of the globe,” stated His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates. “We move forward today with warm gratitude toward the people and government of France for joining us in the unprecedented cultural partnership that is creating the Louvre Abu Dhabi.”

“With deep admiration for the people of Abu Dhabi, and for their leaders who believe, as we do, that the arts lie at the very heart of civilization, the Republic of France joins in celebrating this auspicious day,” stated President Sarkozy. “Together, we have embarked on an extraordinary journey of cultural exchange and collaboration and I believe that our two countries will forever be strengthened by this partnership.”

“We welcome President Sarkozy and our distinguished French partners to Abu Dhabi, and are excited by the shared progress being made towards the establishment of a new, world-class cultural institution in the Emirate,” stated HH Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. “At every step of this remarkable and innovative collaboration, the ties of friendship and respect between Abu Dhabi and France grow stronger.”

Scheduled for completion in 2012/13, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will showcase the interrelationships among artistic achievements from different cultures around the world, from the most immemorial to the very latest, across borders of technique and geography. With works loaned by the Louvre and other French museums, such as Musée d’Orsay, Centre Pompidou, Musée Guimet and Musée du Quai Branly, and works of art from its own developing collection, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will establish a distinctive dialogue among fine arts, decorative arts, and archaeological artefacts that have been created and collected all over the world, in a presentation that is unique to this museum and its setting.

Built on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, the 24,000 square metre (260,000 square foot) Louvre Abu Dhabi is conceived by architect Jean Nouvel as a complex of pavilions, plazas, alleyways and canals, evoking the image of a city floating on the sea. Hovering over the complex will be a form inspired by traditional Arabic architecture: a vast, shallow dome—some 180 metres (590 feet) in diameter—perforated with interlaced patterns so that a magical, diffused light will filter through.

Talking Art: Louvre Abu Dhabi
The preview experience in Gallery One of Emirates Palace, Talking Art: Louvre Abu Dhabi, offers examples of the interrelationships among cultures and epochs that will be central to the new institution. The preview has been organized jointly by Tourism Development & Investment Company and Agence France-Muséums. Two sessions of the preview are offered to the public each day, at 11:00 am and 6:30 pm, with pre-registration required. An exhibition presenting a thorough overview of the Louvre Abu Dhabi will be organised at a later date.

In conjunction with the inauguration of Talking Art: Louvre Abu Dhabi, a highly distinguished group of scholars and cultural leaders from France will open a two day series of public panel discussions on the evening of 26 May, to address ideas that are central to the new institution. The discussions focus on “Museums and Universalism” and “The Louvre Abu Dhabi: A New Way of Showing Art.” A third session of these public discussions, held at 3:00 pm on 27 May, will be devoted to training schoolteachers, to assist them in making Talking Art: Louvre Abu Dhabi more meaningful to young people ages 11 and higher.

Louvre Abu Dhabi | Jean Nouvel | Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan | Saadiyat Island Cultural District | Sarkozy |  |

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