In March, we reported that the UAE was launching a new public initiative, Public Art Abu Dhabi (PAAD), a city-wide program that sought to turn the Gulf State’s administrative capital into a gallery without walls. By incorporating works of art all around Abu Dhabi, government officials made their ambitions of reappropriating public spaces and promoting the accessibility of art clear. More than a simple promise, any recent visitor of the metropolis will be able to confirm how entire neighborhoods have been transformed into cultural experiences of their own. According to Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT), recent updates suggest there are more exciting developments in store.
Starting from Nov. 15 and running up until Jan. 30, a new exhibition is set to illuminate the mangroves and archipelagos of the UAE through site-specific projections and immersive artworks by local and international artists. Dubbed Manar (lighthouse in English), this new initiative will provide an opportunity for both tourists and residents to engage in art while discovering the city through another perspective.
Manar will work under PAAD’s authority and hopes to serve as an emphasis on the emirate’s commitment towards bringing culture to everyone’s doorstep. Marking its debut in less than two-weeks from now, the inaugural edition is centered around the theme of “Grounding Light” and will include over 35 pieces of art that will be displayed across several of Abu Dhabi’s landmarks. Birthing a route that spreads over two kilometers, visitors will be able to wander through many must-see sights, including Corniche Road, Lulu Saadiyat, or Fahid Islands, under a new light.
“Our vibrant, dynamic city is the canvas, and the light art is a bridge connecting our past, present, and future. While appealing to audiences across the Abu Dhabi community and beyond, we especially aim to inspire the young minds who are our future,” commented ME Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi.
Co-curated by PAAD’s own Artistic Director, Reem Fadda, alongside Emirati multidisciplinary artist Alia Zaal Lootah, the forthcoming sensory-rich experience has gathered commissions from over 10 different countries and across all five continents, including Palestine and Tunisia to Australia, Japan, and Mexico.
Ranging from sculptures to projections, installations and even performances, the diverse collection of artistic contributions promises to offer a global tapestry of creativity that are only poised to enhance Abu Dhabi’s already stunning landscape and busy cultural calendar.