Louvre Abu Dhabi presents creations of four UAE-based contemporary artists

As part of the Emirati-French Cultural Programme, Khalid Shafar, Talin Hazbar, Vikram Divecha, and Zeinab Alhashemi worked with traditional French manufacturers to design artworks inspired by the theme of ‘Time’

Abu Dhabi, UAE, 19 December 2017: From 21 December 2017, Louvre Abu Dhabi presents Co-Lab: Contemporary Art and Savoir-faire, a unique exhibition of four contemporary works of art created by UAE-based artists in collaboration with premium French manufacturers. The exhibition will be on display until 25 March 2018 in the museum’s Forum.

Co-Lab is part of the Emirati-French Cultural Programme: Dialogue with Louvre Abu Dhabi, an initiative established by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi and France’s Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Culture and the Institut Français.

Conceived and produced jointly by the Emirati and French authorities, the Emirati-French Cultural Programme - in dialogue with Louvre Abu Dhabi - fully embraces the creative momentum set in motion by the creation of the museum. First of its kind, this artistic programme is an innovative project based on the excellence of Emirati and French cultural traditions. Through a series of events, it illustrates the creative and skills of artists from both countries, aiming to strengthen their cultural cooperation.

The artworks on display in this exhibition combine the artists’ creativity and artistic vision with the technique and know-how of the French manu¬facturers. The four artistic projects revolve around the central the¬me of ‘Time’. Each artist expressed this theme using different approaches and materials. The Sèvres ceramic techniques, the weaving art of Beauvais, the artistic glasses of Saint-Just and the architectural embroidery from MTX, are reworked and exalted by the creative minds of the four UAE-based artists, who have created unique artworks that reflect both an understanding of the UAE, and a reinvention of the use of histo¬rical French techniques. With a view to a mutual inspiration, the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres opened its doors to Talin Hazbar to work on ceramics. The manufactu¬ring company of Beauvais embarked upon a collaboration with Khalid Shafar, around the art of weaving. The luxury glassware firm of Saint-Just teamed up with Zeinab Alhashemi. The MTX Broderie Architec¬turale engaged with Vikram Divecha.

The first phase of this special project, revolving around creation and skills-trading, was first presented at the 2016 edition of Abu Dhabi Art, where the four artists and manufacturers exhibited their concept to the general audience and explained the inspiring cooperation and skills exchange that took place between them.

HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said: “2017 comes to a close with the opening of Co-Lab, part of the two-year Emirati-French Cultural Programme. The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi looks to further local artistic practice, reflecting the UAE’s rich heritage and dynamic contemporary culture. The concept of Co-Lab reflects this fundamental mandate, bringing together the traditional and the innovative, the past and the present to inspire a new generation of artists. In 2018, both countries will celebrate with a year dedicated to Emirati-French cultural dialogue.”

HE Ludovic Pouille, Ambassador of France to the United Arab Emirates, commented:
“In a framework of unprecedented cultural cooperation, France and the United Arab Emirates decided to create Louvre Abu Dhabi, a seminal tower of knowledge, dialogue between cultures and respect for cultural diversity. To reflect the wealth of the cultural treasures of this first-of-its-kind museum, the French and Emirati authorities produced an exceptional cultural programme. The core of this initiative is the sharing of talents, know-how, ideas and values. I am very proud today that this exhibition highlights this joint programme. Co-Lab: Contemporary Art and Savoir-faire unites the creativity of young talented artists from the United Arab Emirates with the unique expertise of French manufacturers that have marked the history of craftsmanship. These works, each an expression of converging views, are the perfect symbols of the wealth and intensity of the dialogue instilled between our two countries.”

Manuel Rabaté, Director of Louvre Abu Dhabi, said: “Louvre Abu Dhabi’s artworks span human existence from pre-historic times to the present day, and actively nurturing contemporary art practice is an important element of our mandate as a museum. The UAE is home to a vibrant community of artists, designers and contemporary practitioners, and these four artists are amongst the most talented in the country. At a time when artists around the world are rediscovering and incorporating the rich history of craftsmanship and traditional artistry into their practice, Co-Lab: Contemporary Art and Savoir-faire is a platform for creative exchange and discovery.”

Alia Zaal Lootah, the curator of the Exhibition, said: “It is with great pleasure that we display in the Louvre Abu Dhabi these collaborative works, which have been two years in the making. This marriage of skills has resulted in true mutual inspiration, each partner learning from the other, and the results are unique. We look forward to sharing them with the public, and hope to inspire up and coming artists and designers to explore new techniques and collaborations.”

Opening hours for the museum galleries and exhibitions are: Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday: 10 am - 8 pm; Thursday and Friday: 10 am - 10 pm. Last entry and purchase of tickets is 30 minutes prior to closing. The museum is closed on Mondays. Special opening hours will be in operation during Ramadan and some holidays.

Tickets for the museum cost 60 AED for general admission and 30 AED for visitors’ ages 13-22 and UAE education professionals. Free entry will apply to members of the museum’s loyalty programme, children under 13 years, ICOM or ICOMOS members, journalists, and guests with special needs as well as their companion.

Special exhibitions will be open during all public hours and will be free with museum admission.

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Louvre Abu Dhabi is a universal museum on Saadiyat Island that exhibits art and artefacts from ancient times to the present day. Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, the museum contains 12 chapters in the galleries, special exhibition spaces, a Children’s Museum, auditorium, restaurants, retail and a research centre. Surrounded by the sea, the buildings are connected by waterfront promenades beneath the museum’s stunning dome.

Louvre Abu Dhabi has developed a rich collection of works originating from throughout human history and around the world, brought together to highlight universal themes and influences. To date, Louvre Abu Dhabi has acquired more than 600 artworks, exhibited alongside 300 works on loan from 13 leading French institutions.

Louvre Abu Dhabi was born out of a unique intergovernmental agreement between the governments of Abu Dhabi and France in 2007. As part of the agreement, Louvre Abu Dhabi has access to expertise and training from 17 French partner institutions, as well as loans from 13 leading French museums for 10 years, and will benefit from special exhibitions organised by these institutions for 15 years.


Saadiyat Cultural District on Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, is devoted to culture and the arts. An ambitious cultural undertaking for the 21st century, it will be a nucleus for global culture, attracting local, regional and international guests with unique exhibitions, permanent collections, productions and performances. Its ground-breaking buildings will form a historical statement of the finest 21st century architecture; Zayed National Museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. These museums will complement and collaborate with local and regional arts and cultural institutions including universities and research centres.


The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi conserves and promotes the heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi emirate and leverages them in the development of a world-class, sustainable destination of distinction that enriches the lives of visitors and residents alike. The Department manages the emirate’s tourism sector and markets the destination internationally through a wide range of activities aimed at attracting visitors and investment. Its policies, plans and programmes relate to the preservation of heritage and culture, including protecting archaeological and historical sites and to developing museums, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Zayed National Museum and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. The Department of Culture and Tourism supports intellectual and artistic activities and cultural events to nurture a rich cultural environment and honour the emirate’s heritage. A key role played by the Department is to create synergy in the destination’s development through close co-ordination with its wide-ranging stakeholder base.


Conceived and produced jointly by the French and Emirati authorities, the Emirati-French Cultural Programme – In dialogue with the Louvre Abu Dhabi fully embraces the creative momentum set in motion by the creation of Louvre Abu Dhabi. First of its kind, this artistic programme is an innovative project based on the excellence of French and Emirati cultural traditions. Through a series of events, it illustrates the creative and innovative capacities of artists from both countries, hence aiming to strengthen their cultural cooperation. Around five artistic disciplines (classical and contemporary music, artistic pyrotechnics, performing arts, equestrian choreography and visual arts), the Emirati-French Cultural Programme punctuates since March 2016 the Emirati-French cultural agenda.


The Institut français in the UAE is the cooperation and cultural department of the French Embassy. It has the mission of promoting French creation, thought and language and encouraging cultural, artistic, educational, academic and scientific exchanges and partnerships between France and the UAE. It follows up on the cultural and educational aspects of the strategic dialogue between France and the UAE.
Its activity covers a vast array of actions. It organizes cultural events in numerous fields such as visual arts, live performance and debating ideas. It supports French cultural and academic institutions as well as cultural industries in their development projects in the Emirates.

It also coordinates the French schools network in the United Arab Emirates, the Alliances françaises in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
As a governmental operator, the Institut français in the UAE is a privileged interlocutor of the cultural and academic institutions in the Emirates.


Since its foundation in 1939, the embroidery workshop Montex has been working with leading fashion designers. Recognized as one of the most innovative partners of Haute Couture, it experiments, invents and pushes further the gesture and the techniques. Under the artistic direction of Annie Trussart since 1987, Montex has renewed the classical repertoire, providing a new perspective on contemporary crafts. Working closely with the famous Maison of the rue Cambon for many years, the Montex Workshop joined the Chanel group in 2011.


The Glassworks at Saint-Just was founded in 1826 by Royal Order of Charles X, King of France. In 1921, Saint-Gobain, the leading glass producer in Europe, became interested by the technical knowledge of Saint-Just, so both firms decided to join forces. It was not until 1961 that Saint-Gobain proceeded with a full takeover of manufacturing. Gradually, between the 19th and 20th Century, the Glassworks became a renowned reference in terms of ecclesiastical and secular stained-glass creation and restoration throughout Europe.


Since 1740, the Manufacture de Sèvres has always encouraged the production and distribution of works in ceramic. Traditional manufacturing techniques have been in the service of innovation, to improve the existing forms and create new ones. Porcelain becomes a medium of high artistic craftsmanship expression. These ancient crafts are transmitted from one generation to the next: they have today become unique.
The successive participation of artists invited to create projects for the Manufacture have improved its savoir-faire for three centuries. Sèvres thrives on the excellence of its materials, which are made in situ, an ancestral savoir-faire meticulously preserved down through the centuries, and a taste for modernity.


Successor to the Garde-Meuble of the Throne, created in 1604 by Henri IV and reorganised in 1663 by Louis XIV, the National Furniture Collection (Mobilier national) is responsible for furnishing the official buildings and presidential residences of the French Republic. Its other mission is to preserve and restore a collection accumulated over the centuries. In the past, these articles of furniture and works of art were used to decorate France’s royal or imperial residences. The collection comprises some 100,000 pieces of furniture and textiles.

publié le 19/12/2017

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