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A view of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. —AFP

Abu Dhabi's Louvre showcases art from Middle Eastern civilisations

The museum prides itself as “a universal museum that focuses on shared human stories across civilisations and cultures”.
Published Nov 11, 2017 08:27pm

The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened its doors to the public on Saturday, drawing a crowd as diverse as the cosmopolitan United Arab Emirates (UAE) itself.

Hundreds of Emiratis along with Asian, European and Arab expatriates, some dressed in shorts, others in flowing Arabic robes, roamed through the vast museum to see famous works from the Paris institution, and pieces from Middle Eastern civilisations alike.

Dancers from Korean musical ensemble "Baraji" perform during the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. — AFP
Dancers from Korean musical ensemble "Baraji" perform during the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. — AFP

Visitors tour the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum during the opening ceremony. — AFP
Visitors tour the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum during the opening ceremony. — AFP

The president-director of the Louvre Museum, Jean-Luc Martinez, right, gives gifts to the two daughters of a family for being the first visitors at the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi. — AP
The president-director of the Louvre Museum, Jean-Luc Martinez, right, gives gifts to the two daughters of a family for being the first visitors at the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi. — AP

A visitor takes a picture with dancers from the Malian Troupe Awa de Sangha during the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. — AFP
A visitor takes a picture with dancers from the Malian Troupe Awa de Sangha during the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. — AFP

Emirati women stand in front of a series of nine panels titled "Untitled I-IX" by American painter Cy Twombly, during the public opening day, in Abu Dhabi. — AP
Emirati women stand in front of a series of nine panels titled "Untitled I-IX" by American painter Cy Twombly, during the public opening day, in Abu Dhabi. — AP

The Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first museum to bear the Louvre name outside France, presents around 600 pieces in a modern, light-filled structure in harmony with its desert-island setting.

Emirati fishmen cast their nets near the Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi. — AFP
Emirati fishmen cast their nets near the Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi. — AFP

Dancers from the Malian Troupe Awa de Sangha perform during the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. — AFP
Dancers from the Malian Troupe Awa de Sangha perform during the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. — AFP

More than a decade in the making, a VIP inauguration was held on Wednesday, with French President Emmanuel Macron among the first visitors.

Flagged as “the first universal museum in the Arab world”, it sits on the low-lying Saadiyat Island, a developing tourism and culture hub 500 metres off the coast of the UAE's capital.

Dancers from the Malian Troupe Awa de Sangha perform during the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. — AFP
Dancers from the Malian Troupe Awa de Sangha perform during the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. — AFP

Under a 30-year agreement, France provides expertise, loans works of art and organises temporary exhibitions, in return for one billion euros.

Dancers from the Malian Troupe Awa de Sangha perform during the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. — AFP
Dancers from the Malian Troupe Awa de Sangha perform during the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. — AFP

Emirati traditional dancers perform at the entrance of the Louvre Museum, during the public opening day, in Abu Dhabi. — AP
Emirati traditional dancers perform at the entrance of the Louvre Museum, during the public opening day, in Abu Dhabi. — AP

The Louvre in France takes a 400-million-euro share of that sum for the use of its name up to 2037.

For the next 10 years, the Paris museum will lend works to its Abu Dhabi partner on a voluntary basis, for a maximum of two years.

For its permanent collection, the museum has acquired hundreds of pieces, dating from the earliest Mesopotamian civilisations to the present day.

Dancers from the Malian Troupe Awa de Sangha perform during the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. — AFP
Dancers from the Malian Troupe Awa de Sangha perform during the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. — AFP

The vast project prides itself as “the first museum of its kind in the Arab world: a universal museum that focuses on shared human stories across civilisations and cultures”.

Visitors stand near the bronze sculpture, "Walking Man, On a Column" of Auguste Rodin, created in 2006 by Fonderie Coubertin, during the public opening day of the Louvre Museum, in Abu Dhabi. — AP
Visitors stand near the bronze sculpture, "Walking Man, On a Column" of Auguste Rodin, created in 2006 by Fonderie Coubertin, during the public opening day of the Louvre Museum, in Abu Dhabi. — AP

Dancers from the Malian Troupe Awa de Sangha perform during the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. — AFP
Dancers from the Malian Troupe Awa de Sangha perform during the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. — AFP

Dancers from the Malian Troupe Awa de Sangha perform during the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. —AFP
Dancers from the Malian Troupe Awa de Sangha perform during the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. —AFP