New York – October 25, 2018 – The Consulate General of the United Arab Emirates in New York and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy hosted a panel discussion and reception in New York City celebrating Louvre Abu Dhabi and its significance to the region as a symbol of openness, tolerance and inclusivity. The discussion highlighted key achievements of Louvre Abu Dhabi since its opening in November 2017 and provided insight on the museum’s vision for the future.
“Louvre Abu Dhabi is an international success conceived through the vision of UAE and French leadership. It reflects the shared commitment by our governments to encourage values of understanding among peoples and nations,” His Excellency Majid Al-Suwaidi, UAE Consul General in New York, said. “Louvre also manifests the spirit of the late Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan, who recognized the importance of international cooperation and promoted cultural diplomacy.”
Louvre Abu Dhabi shares stories from all around the world, including from the U.S. through artwork such as Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of first American president George Washington, James McNeill Whistler’s painting of Whistler’s Mother, and Jackson Pollock’s piece, Black and White. Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, Louvre is the first universal museum in the Arab world and is a cornerstone of the UAE-France partnership.
“We’re thrilled to support the first official presentation of the Louvre Abu Dhabi in the United States. This event, like the original relationship between the museum and the Louvre in Paris, is a perfect example of culture expanding beyond boundaries, which is at the heart of the mission of the Cultural Services,” Mr. Hervé Ferrage, French Deputy Cultural Counselor, said.
Nearly 100 New York-based cultural practitioners, academics and business leaders attended the event and participated in the discussion featuring Louvre Abu Dhabi panelists Dr. Souraya Noujaim, Scientific, Curatorial and Collections Management Director, and Joud Al Marar, Senior External Relations Officer.
“Louvre Abu Dhabi will be celebrating its one-year anniversary on 11 November 2018. Since the opening, our innovative curatorial approach has challenged the way museums have traditionally displayed artworks. Our growing collection and major loans from French and regional museum partners have been presented in a pioneering way, offering audiences a unique universal narrative based on a transversal approach to art history. Our ambition is to transform these visual and aesthetic connections into scientific research in various fields and to keep renewing the visitor experience with bold projects, striking exhibitions and events,” Dr. Noujaim said.
The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Mariët Westermann, Executive Vice President for Programs and Research at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and covered topics including the museum’s architectural qualities, the inspirations behind Jean Nouvel’s design, the museum narrative and collection, and international exhibitions.
UAE Embassy Head of Heritage and Social Affairs Dana Al Marashi also delivered remarks on the importance of cultural diplomacy.
“Through cultural diplomacy programs, we can find common ground and bring people around the world together. In-person connections and exchanges help break down walls and foster greater understanding of one another. When the UAE’s leadership worked with France to bring the Louvre Abu Dhabi to life, it was this kind of exchange they hoped to create,” Al Marashi said.
The New York reception was sponsored by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC and Etihad Airways.
ABOUT LOUVRE ABU DHABI
Louvre Abu Dhabi is a universal museum on Saadiyat Island that exhibits art and artefacts from ancient times to the present day. Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, the museum contains 12 chapters in the galleries, special exhibition spaces, a Children’s Museum, auditorium, restaurants, retail and a research centre. Surrounded by the sea, the buildings are connected by waterfront promenades beneath the museum’s stunning dome.
Louvre Abu Dhabi has developed a rich collection of works originating from throughout human history and around the world, brought together to highlight universal themes and influences. To date, Louvre Abu Dhabi has acquired more than 600 artworks, exhibited alongside 300 works on loan from 13 leading French institutions.
Louvre Abu Dhabi was born out of a unique intergovernmental agreement between the governments of Abu Dhabi and France in 2007. As part of the agreement, Louvre Abu Dhabi has access to expertise and training from 17 French partner institutions, as well as loans from 13 leading French museums for 10 years, and will benefit from special exhibitions organised by these institutions for 15 years.