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The Louvre Abu Dhabi is Celebrating the Arabian Peninsula

A groundbreaking new film series shows a deeper side of the desert

Last November, the Louvre Abu Dhabi put a spotlight on Saudi Arabian history through its exhibition Roads to Arabia: Archaeological Treasures of Saudi Arabia, which explored the rich history of the Kingdom.

Before the exhibition closes next month, the museum decided to kick things up a notch by incorporating a film series inspired by the show.

Curated by Emirati artist and cinephile Hind Mezaina, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will screen three films throughout the next month exploring rarely-discussed crevices of the Arabian Peninsula.

With a goal of breaking misconceptions of the region being made of desolate desert land, each film explores a different side of the region, from its palm-filled deserts to its dynamic underwater wildlife.

First up on January 19 is Desert Seas, a 46-minute documentary directed by Mark Wheeler, Simon Nash and Dominic Weston that shifts the lens towards the marine life that resides in Saudi Arabia’s two underwater realms: The Red Sea and the Gulf.

A documentary featuring the first female Emirati camel owner, Fatima Ali Alhameli, follows on January 26. The 86-minute film, entitled Nearby Sky is directed by the Emirati Nujoom Al Ghanem and traces the trailblazer’s triumphs in the male-dominated industry of camel beauty pageants.

To close out the series on February 2, Mezaina selected none other than the Academy Award nominated film Theeb, which follows the intimate coming-of-age story of a young Bedouin boy on a journey through the desert.

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