H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister has described the 'Birth of a Museum Exhibition' at the Louvre in Paris, which features items from the permanent artistic collection of the planned Louvre Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, as 'an exceptional art exhibition, which symbolises the strength of diversified UAE-French relations."
In remarks to journalists at the end of a tour of the exhibition, accompanied by the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, Sheikh Abdullah said, "This wonderful project in cooperation with Abu Dhabi is a clear symbol of our dynamic and strong relations. It reflects the diversity of ties between our two countries and communities", he said, adding that "This project is for the future, especially for the next 10 years." He also extended his thanks to the Louvre Paris for hosting the exhibition.
For his part, the French Foreign Minister described the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which will be officially opened next December, as 'a huge historic project', which will contribute to Abu Dhabi becoming a hub for world cultures.
Fabius told the Emirates News Agency (WAM) that "the Abu Dhabi Louvre will bear world class hallmarks and standards that will make it a hot international tourist destination".
Regarding future cooperation between the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the mother museum in Paris, Fabius said that the Louvre Paris will host a permanent exhibition of some of artefacts of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, in addition to lending some collections to be showcased there. He also expressed the belief that the Emirati museum will achieve an unprecedented success.
The French Minister also said that he expected that the museum in Abu Dhabi, with its unique architecture, would contribute to attracting more tourists to the UAE. He expressed his satisfaction with the contribution being made by the arts to the strengthening of the partnership between the UAE and France.
He added, "The purpose of highlighting the value of arts is to create a space for civilisations and noble cultural messages to meet and interact." The Louvre Abu Dhabi will play a pivotal role in bringing closer East and West through arts, as well as creating better understanding between them, he said.
Turning to the topic of increasing cultural cooperation ties between the two countries, the French Foreign Minister said the values of tolerance and fraternity shared by the UAE and France and the interest of both countries to further strengthen their relations and cooperation ties in all fields have strengthened cultural ties as well.
"Yes, our relations are strong in the political and economic areas, but we want to strengthen them in the area of culture. This will not happen except through activating the cultural exchange", Fabius said.
Emirati and French intelligentsia have commended the recent pace of cultural cooperation between the two countries, deeming it an opportunity to prepare joint cultural and innovative programmes.
Emirati artist Faiza Mubarak, a member of Emirates Fine Arts Society and Architectural Heritage Revival Society said that the 'Birth of a Museum Exhibition' sends cultural message to the French and to foreign visitors to the French capital, Paris. It allows them to obtain first-hand information about the development of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, as well as its objectives and value to the UAE, which is experiencing a cultural revolution alongside urban development.
She added that the UAE- French cultural relations are seen at their best through the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which began as a mere idea but is now becoming a reality on Saadiyat Island. Through this landmark, the UAE is attaining levels never before achieved by other Arab states in terms of culture, she said.
Describing the steps being taken by the UAE leadership in the sphere of culture as "courageous", Mubarak added that the UAE today hosts all world cultures, and, through "the Louvre Abu Dhabi, it carries the message to future generations".
Faiza Mubarak has become familiar to French audiences through several shows she has held in Paris.
Claire Bommelaer, head of the cultural section at Le Figaro newspaper told WAM that the significance of the' Birth of a Museum Exhibition' "lies in the fact that it gives visitors an idea about the artistic value of rare collections, which will be showcased by the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The collections we have seen symbolised all ages and religions. This is the very message the UAE and France wanted to send to the French people. I think the message has been received."
She described the Louvre Abu Dhabi, as a "huge project that carries humanitarian and cultural messages that will make it a hub for French and world tourists."
Bommelaer said many French are planning to converge on UAE, especially Abu Dhabi, to visit the cultural landmark of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which she described as "a fruit of cultural cooperation between UAE and France." The cities of the UAE have become popular destinations for French tourists, she said.