While the Louvre opening its 600-work permanent and on-loan collection to the public is eagerly anticipated, the institution has also developed special programming to mark its launch. As part of the Emirati-French Cultural Programme, the Museum Reflections – Vives Réflexions, will treat visitors to a lightshow courtesy of French pyrotechnics Groupe F, which will celebrate the collection and architecture of Louvre Abu Dhabi through a curated and choreographed audio-visual performance. Then, Music TV will showcase a music video montage of found TV footage by Emirati artist Hind Mezaina, whose work delves into themes of collective memory, the notion of heritage, and the representation of the UAE. However, there will also be several arts adjacent events to cater to a cultural appetite that extends beyond fine arts, including workshops, tours and musical and dance elements.
–M–, a French musician, will perform on 11 November; Fatoumata Diawara, a multi-hyphenate performer will perform on the guitar a series of modern and personalised takes on Mali Wassoulou musical tradition on 12 November; the following night, Ibrahim Maalouf, who has won several classical trumpet competitions, will perform with his specific blend of traditional Arabic and classical Western inspiration; and on 14 November, Totó La Momposina will present music and dance influenced by the Colombian Caribbean – a mix that combines elements from African, Native Indian and Spanish traditions.
Throughout opening week there will also be performances by Franco-Vietnamese guitarist Nguyên Lê alongside Baraji Ensemble, a unique fusion of his multi-cultural rock, jazz, African and Asian styles with Baraji’s traditional Korean music. The French-Indian duo formed by Drfloy and Sumathi will perform a contemporary mix of bass and electronic abstract sounds against classical Indian vocals and raga. Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, internationally renowned for his bansuri (Indian bamboo flute) technique will also be present, in addition to composer Faisal Al Saari, who will play within the gallery halls.
The Dogon Masks Dance, from the ancient Dogon people of central Mali, will be performed by Mali’s Awa Troupe of Sangha; the Chinese Troupe of the Zhejiang Wu Opera Research Center will perform the Parade of Lions and Dragon, a processional dance intended to bring happiness, prosperity and good fortune; while Al Ayyala, the UAE’s historic cultural dance, will be enacted by the Mubarak Al Otaiba Group – a dance that has been included on Unesco's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 2014.
For those with a more modern preference – French choreographer Myriam Gourfink and New Zealand dancer, choreographer, stage director, designer and artist Lemi Ponifasio will contribute their dance visions, while Lucinda Childs will offer her stance on contemporary dance within the gallery halls.
While the schedule of workshops available to the public will change throughout the year, the opening will see Geometric Patterns, geared towards younger visitors, helping children identify different shapes in the artwork exhibited at the Children’s Museum before designing their own geometric patterns; Put on your Mask!, where participants will investigate two masks in the Louvre Abu Dhabi collection before creating their own individual masks; or My Museum Travel Journal, which aims to develop the observational skills of the public as they journey through the viewing halls, encouraged to record or sketch objects which catch their eye.
The first week will feature free, guided tours with themes such as Masterpieces of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, showcasing their collection of ancient Egyptian sarcophagi or Picassos and Pollocks; My First Visit to Louvre Abu Dhabi, catered towards children that will introduce key works, architectural elements and outlines of individual museum professional roles; and Architecture, for an in-depth exploration of architect Jean Nouvel’s inspiration for the building, which directly references the UAE’s heritage and landscape.
Louvre Abu Dhabi comprises 6,000-square-metres of galleries, exhibitions, a Children’s Museum, a research centre, a restaurant, a boutique and a café, all designed by Jean Nouvel. The museum features a trademark 180-metre dome of layers of intricate geometric patterning creating a ‘rain of light’ to produce an environment reminiscent of the UAE madina and its overlapping palm trees