Rich In Culture Sharjah Shines Light On Arab Art
SHARJAH As a symbol of culture, intellect and architectural revolution in the United Arab Emirates, Sharjah has over the years carved out a role for itself as a cultural capital in the Gulf region.
Since 1972, the emirate has been ruled by Sheikh Sultan bin Mohamed al-Qasimi, known for his keen interest in art and history and his role in promoting cultural interaction and dialogue among nations at local, regional and international levels.
Over the last two decades, Sharjahs cultural calendar has evolved to feature book fairs and exhibitions at more than a dozen museums and festivals that celebrate photography, theatre, poetry and calligraphy.
At the Museum of Sharjah, works on display showcase everything from daily life in the old city of Yemens capital Sanaa to a massacre of Palestinian refugees by Israel-allied Christian militia during Lebanons civil war.
We are providing an artistic service for the Arab world, said Sultan Sooud al-Qassemi, a well-known Emirati academic with half a million followers on Twitter, strolling through the galleries.
The Barjeel Art Foundation, which he founded in 2010, aims to preserve and exhibit more than 1,000 modern and contemporary pieces by Arab artists.
Sharjah is not the richest emirate in the Gulf, but it is in terms of being the richest culturally, said the 42-year-old who has taught in universities in the United States and France.
But it is Sharjah that has claimed the countrys cultural crown.
Gallery : Civilisations And Empires
From about 1000 BCE, on most continents the first kingdoms gave way to vast cultural and political groups. The Assyrian and then Persian empires dominated the Middle East, while Greek cities became established around the Mediterranean basin. The Nok and Olmec cultures spread across West Africa and Mesoamerica respectively. The evolution, encounters and clashes of these empires stimulated artistic and philosophical fusions whose influences are still felt today.
After setting out from the Greek kingdom of Macedonia in 334 BCE, Alexander the Great forged an unprecedented political union between Europe and Asia, which led to the formation of immense empires. As Rome, in its heyday, expanded its domination over the whole Mediterranean region, the Han Empire was expanding enormously in China. The collapse of these empires led to a regeneration of artistic forms that would be used by universal religions to communicate their message.
Gallery : The Magnificence Of The Court
Encounters between different worlds led to unprecedented rivalry between rulers. This phenomenon took on a new dimension in the 17th century and occurred simultaneously throughout Europe, China, the Muslim empires and the kingdoms of Africa. Sovereigns glorified themselves by displaying symbols of their power and commissioning majestic representations of their royal person and court. Equestrian portraits became a widespread form of representation.
Monarchs competed to attract the best artists, commission new decorative settings and invest enormous amounts in the construction of palaces and religious buildings of exceptional opulence. The magnificence of court life, the luxury of costumes and weaponry and the splendour of art collections gave rulers a dazzling image that was designed to overshadow other kingdoms and states.
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Gallery : A Modern World
Economic competition between nations gave birth to the Industrial Revolution in Europe. Having been an instrument of Europes colonial enterprise, this revolution spread progressively to the rest of the world during the 19th century. The development of means of transport and colonisation impacted all civilisations, which, in return, provided European artists with inspiration. Technical progress and artistic creation were glorified in universal exhibitions.
A Journey Through Time Narrated In 12 Chapters
12 galleries, 55 buildings, and a total of 8,600 square meters certainly no shortage of space to tell the story of Mans course and development throughout civilization, and feature human contribution to arts, culture, and science from prehistoric times to today. And it is a discovery of epic proportions and encyclopaedic depth.
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Cultural Cooperation Or Sell Out
With this project, the Louvre joins other top museums like the Guggenheim that have opened international locations. Critics have accused the French museum of “selling out” by prioritizing profit over artistic integrity. Allegations of worker exploitation also dogged construction. However, the project’s leaders have argued that the partnership and collection testify to cross-cultural understanding.
A Decade In The Works
The building was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. The main building’s silvery dome allows light to flow through it, mimicking the sunlight that streams through palm fronds. The pools of water also liken the cultural complex to a desert oasis. The museum project took around 10 years to complete, and the opening ceremony was pushed back from 2012 due to construction delays.
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Criticism In France Excitement In Dubai
The project is not undisputed in France, where purists fear for the rank of the Paris Louvre as the worlds leading arts museum. Others worry about ever-increasing ties to a region that is nowadays frequently associated with a hostile ideology that has caused much grief and pain over these last few years. Certain voices have likened the new museum in the United Arab Emirates to a wholesale of French art, and one even called it a blatant case of art theft.
But these fears and accusations are short-sighted and groundless. During the joint inauguration by Abu Dhabis crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayad Al Nahyan and French president Emmanuel Macron on November 7, Louvre Abu Dhabi was hailed as an example of how beauty can fight against the discourses of hatred and an invitation to see humanity in a new light. Quoting the Russian writer Feodor Dostoyevsky who famously said that only beauty can save the world, Macron pointed out that this collaboration across the European and Arab world would in fact be instrumental in the fight against idiocy and the lies of obscurantism.
A message to heed indeed.
Gallery : The World In Perspective
Pioneering voyages broadened horizons and offered a new perspective of the world. Discoveries in the fields of mathematics and optics transmitted from the Arab world to Europe in the 15th century had important consequences for art. Forming the foundation of the geometric and abstract approach to representation in Islamic art, they also enabled European artists to create depth and three-dimensionality in images.
The flourishing intellectual and artistic activity of the time was called the Renaissance by Europeans who were rediscovering their Antiquity. For artists and architects, it provided an aesthetic model that profoundly renewed the representation of the human body and landscapes. In China, too, artists found inspiration in the models of the past to strengthen the cultural and political legitimacy of their monarchs. Meanwhile, the Arab-Islamic world developed an international style that placed emphasis on the use of geometric and floral forms.
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Louvre Abu Dhabi Art Here 2021richard Mille Art Prize
ART HERE. ART NOW. IN THE UAE.Be part of the new exhibition and art prize for UAE-based artists, an initiative by Louvre Abu Dhabi in collaboration with Richard MilleA NEW STAGE FOR UAE-BASED ARTISTSWith Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille, we are opening an annual exhibition and art prize that illuminates the extraordinary contemporary art scene in the UAE. We are creating a new stage at Louvre Abu Dhabi for our regional artists, giving them a platform to be seen and heard, and a space in which to express themselves and come together.
EXHIBIT YOUR ARTWORK AT LOUVRE ABU DHABIIf you are an artist from or working in the UAE, we want to hear from you. We invite you to submit a proposal in response to our exhibition thematic: Memory, Time and Territory. Your proposal, which can be a new or existing artwork, should reflect on how collective memory relates to questions of space and time. Our jury of international art experts will be selecting four to six artists to exhibit in the Forum of Louvre Abu Dhabi from 18 November 2021 until 27 March 2022.
RICHARD MILLE ART PRIZEThe jury will award one of the selected artists with the Richard Mille Art Prize. The winner will receive a prize of 50,000 USD.
Special Exhibitions 2017 And 2018
Louvre Abu Dhabi will present four special exhibitions each year, curated and organised in collaboration with French partner institutions and Agence France-Muséums. This rich and diverse programme complements the permanent collection and enhances the museums universal narrative.
In the inaugural year, these exhibits will explore the history of Paris musée du Louvre the representation of the world through spheres early photography and the decorative paintings of the Nabis group. In addition to these exhibitions, Co-Lab: Contemporary Art and Savoirfaire will also be on display during the opening year. This collaborative project is a skills workshop giving four UAE-based artists the opportunity to work with four premier historical French manufacturers.
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Deal Is About Petrodollars And Military Relations Says Senior Member Of Museum Staff
The campaign by French curators to block the Louvres plans to open a branch in Abu Dhabi gained additional supporters last month a senior member of staff at the museum has strongly criticised the plans.
Catherine Goguel, emeritus director of research in the Louvres prints and drawings department, told The Art Newspaper that she objects to the mercenary nature of the deal. The project is not based on research or increasing understanding of the works, she says, adding that the Louvres curatorial and conservation staff were not consulted about the implications of loaning works to Abu Dhabi.
Ms Goguel also believes that there are political forces at play. It is obvious that is about petrodollars and military relations. It came from the finance and foreign affairs ministries and Mr Loyrette, a man of culture, has had to support it even if he doesnt believe in it, she says. The United Arab Emirates has placed $10 billion of defence contracts with France in the past ten years. Both the finance and foreign affairs ministries declined to comment.
Using the Louvre name will cost Abu Dhabi between 200m and 400m , according to Le Monde. The whole package including curatorial and technical expertise could run to 700m . Part of the fee may be used to set up a new national French conservation centre.
o For commentary, see p30
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as ‘Louvre curators condemn collections for rent schemes’
Gallery 1: Challenging Modernity
During the 20th century the notions of modernity and progress, which the industrial and colonial West had spread across the planet, were brought into question. The two world wars and many instances of decolonisation challenged a great number of certainties. Artistic creation reflected these developments, experiencing constant reinvention, punctuated by divisions and radical movements such as abstraction, ready-mades and the imaginative universe of the Surrealists.
Echoing the remarkable pace of modern life, the rapid succession of artistic movements constantly opened new perspectives. The boundaries of art were continually redefined, extended and in constant transformation. The avant-garde movements in Paris and elsewhere in Europe attracted artists from all over the world. The growing influence of North American artists coincided with the broadening of artistic horizons to encompass the world as a whole.
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Gallery : Asian Trade Routes
The expansion of universal religions occurred in parallel with the establishment of vast networks of exchange between continents. In Asia in the 7th century, China became the main actor in these exchanges and a major hub for innovation. The invention of porcelain, gunpowder, paper and printing characters was to change the world. China passed most of its inventions to the Arab-Muslim world along the land and sea routes used in the silk trade.
The Islamic civilisation lay at the heart of this thriving trade network linking Asia, Europe and Africa. From the 8th to 10th centuries, Baghdad witnessed a golden age of the arts and sciences. The caravan routes taken by merchants crossed the paths followed by pilgrims, and promoted the spread of new modes of thought. These exchanges boosted the circulation of exotic materials and luxury items like silk, ceramics, jewellery, incense or ivory.
Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is an art museum in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Its name derives from the Musée du Louvre in Paris, with which it cooperates closely. French architect Jean Nouvel designed a new building for the museum on the island of Saadiyat. French President Emmanuel Macron attended the inauguration on 8 November 2017 by Chalifa bin Zayid Al Nahyan. The official opening took place on 11 November 2017.
The property of the Louvre Abu Dhabi is located directly on the coast of the Persian Gulf. Jean Nouvel was commissioned by the client to design a museum that would combine modern architecture with the tradition of Arab buildings. He then developed a building complex consisting of 55 rectangular buildings arranged side by side and on top of each other. These buildings with their flat roofs and the paths in between are to remind us of an Arabic old town, surrounded by several water basins. As a striking eye-catcher, Nouvel has spanned a flat dome 180 metres in diameter over this arrangement: This multi-layered, net-like dome construction consists of 7,850 metal stars through which light rays fall onto the underlying buildings and water surfaces. The overall effect is to “represent sunbeams flowing through date palm fronds in an oasis”.
The museum has a total area of 97,000 square metres, of which 6,400 are intended for permanent exhibitions and 2,000 for special exhibitions.
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Louvre To Build Branch In Abu Dhabi
Frances storied Louvre museum, home to priceless art works like the Mona Lisa, said Tuesday it will open a new Louvre in this Persian Gulf boomtown, prompting outcries from some who accuse the museum of shilling Frances patrimony for $1.3 billion in oil money.
The 30-year agreement, signed by French Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres and the head of Abu Dhabis tourism authority, Sheik Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, opens the way for the Louvre Abu Dhabi to display thousands of works from some of Frances best museums, such as the Louvre, the Georges Pompidou Center, the Musee dOrsay and Versailles.
The works will be housed in a huge flying saucer-shaped museum designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, which will be erected on the Abu Dhabi waterfront, opening sometime after 2012.
Abu Dhabis rulers are positioning the Louvre as the centerpiece of a cultural district expected to attract millions of well-heeled tourists and diversify its oil-dominated economy.
Donnedieu de Vabres said the venture represents the globalization of French culture, the first step in a long-term cooperation with the wealthy Persian Gulf region. He promised that the Paris Louvre would not sell any of its 35,000-piece collection, nor would the deal weaken Frances cultural policy or its museums.
Rykner promised to fight similar projects, such as plans by the Pompidou Center in Paris to set up a branch in Shanghai, China.
A Leonardo Made A $450 Million Splash Now There’s No Sign Of It
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates The Louvre Abu Dhabi might seem to have all you could ask for in a world-class museum. Its acclaimed design shades its galleries under a vast dome that appears to hover over the waters of the Persian Gulf. Inside are works by Rembrandt and Vermeer, Monet and van Gogh, Mondrian and Basquiat.
Yet the work that the Louvre Abu Dhabi once promised would anchor its collection is conspicuously absent: “Salvator Mundi,” a painting of Jesus Christ attributed to Leonardo da Vinci.
Few works have evoked as much intrigue, either in the world of art or among the courts of Persian Gulf royals. First, its authenticity as the product of Leonardo’s own hand was the subject of intense debate. Then, in November 2017, it became the most expensive work ever sold at auction, fetching $450.3 million from an anonymous bidder who turned out to be a close ally and possible stand-in for the ruler of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Now, the painting is shrouded in a new mystery: Where in the world is “Salvator Mundi”?
Although the Abu Dhabi culture department announced about a month after the auction that it had somehow acquired “Salvator Mundi” for display in the local Louvre, a scheduled unveiling of the painting last September was canceled without explanation. The culture department is refusing to answer questions. Staff of the Louvre Abu Dhabi say privately that they have no knowledge of the painting’s whereabouts.
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Gallery : The First Village
It took millions of years for the human species to spread across the globe from its origins in East Africa. However, by 10,000 BCE, in the Near East, China and Central America, communities settled for the first time and domesticated animal and plant species, which led to the appearance of the first villages. Despite regional differences, the first village communities seem to have shared a desire to bind their community together, by means of beliefs and rituals around their ancestors. Human representation developed in the form of these female figurines that seem to express preoccupations with fertility. The wealth generated by profits from agriculture and livestock supported the birth of the first forms of power.
Treatment Of Construction Workers
Human Rights Watch reported issues during construction of Louvre Abu Dhabi including the confiscation of workers passports resulting in forced labour conditions. High “recruitment loans” paid by migrant workers to construction companies still had not been repaid as of 2019, according to government-paid monitors. 86% of these fees were over $2,000. The Human Rights Watch report welcomed improvements in the law made by the UAE since their previous report in 2009 such as the introduction of minimum standards for workers accommodation. However, they added “the true test lies in the impact of these changes on workers” and suggested that if the abusive recruitment fees were not reimbursed by construction companies or the UAE government, the responsibility to repay them lies with the foreign sponsors who gave their names to the project such as the Louvre.
Amid these reports, Jean Nouvel, the architect of Louvre Abu Dhabi defended the treatment of the construction workers, claiming that the conditions of construction workers were better than some European countries.
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