Abu Dhabi is poised to become the cultural hub of the world

Jean-François Charnier, Louvre Abu Dhabi Scientific Director, speaks to EDGAR about the plan to change people’s perception of the world.

December 27, 2016

“Louvre Abu Dhabi will be a laboratory of ideas, exploring what people, cultures and civilisations have in common through artistic creation. Musée du Louvre [in Paris] serves as a reference, but Louvre Abu Dhabi is not a copy. It is an autonomous museum that has its own identity and vision.

“This project was born with an intergovernmental agreement that was signed between Abu Dhabi and France in 2007 and set in motion unprecedented levels of cultural cooperation. As per this agreement, its name is loaned for 30 years and six months, and Musée du Louvre will loan artworks for 10 years along with 13 other French partner cultural institutions under Agence France-Muséums. 

“The vision of Louvre Abu Dhabi as a universal museum, reflective of its location on the ancient Silk Road, which for centuries linked civilisations and promoted the earliest movement and communication of culture between different societies. The artworks exhibited will originate from all locations along the route from China, Europe and the Arab world. 

“One gallery in the museum will explore courtly culture around the world. This demonstrates the richness of royal iconography from different civilisations, illustrated through Western, Mughal and Chinese works. Royal portraits will be hung alongside each other, allowing the visitor to compare the way different cultures perceive the image of power.

“Louvre Abu Dhabi will be a hub for universal culture, reflecting Abu Dhabi’s position at the crossroads of east and west. Undoubtedly, it will attract many tourists to Abu Dhabi and the UAE and become a new milestone in the flourishing UAE art scene.

“More importantly, it will act as a catalyst for cultural interaction and offer the community an opportunity to gain a new perspective on the history of mankind. It will be a place of education and reflection, connecting Abu Dhabi to the world and vice versa. 

“Rather than asking the world to change their perception of Abu Dhabi, the museum will change visitors’ perception of the world by highlighting the similarities between disparate civilisations. It will shine a light on the commonalities of human history, and challenge your perspective of the history of the world. Anyone who enters Louvre Abu Dhabi will leave with a new understanding of their own personal cultural heritage.”