Wed 04-09-2019 23:12 PM
ABU DHABI, 4th September 2019 (WAM) - H.H. Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of the Executive Committee, inaugurated new spaces within the Cultural Foundation, marking the completion of major renovation and maintenance work at one of Abu Dhabi’s the most prominent cultural landmarks. Located in historic Al Hosn, in the heart of the capital, the Cultural Foundation’s new spaces include a 900-seat theatre and the all-new Abu Dhabi Children's Library.
Developed in line with Abu Dhabi Government’s strategy to empower youth through cultural education, the most advanced and immersive library for young people in the UAE encourages youth to read, learn, create, discover and dream up the big ideas of the future.
H.H. Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed said: "Abu Dhabi’s strength as a cultural hub is the deep link between our history and future aspirations. Investment in immersive learning spaces like this will develop the young leaders of the future."
"The Cultural Foundation, situated next to Abu Dhabi’s oldest landmark, Qasr Al Hosn, is the manifestation of the vision of our late Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who set the cornerstone for a modern nation while equally preserving our heritage and history. With the completion of renovation work at this significant site, Abu Dhabi’s communities and visitors will enjoy even greater access to culture, arts, literature and learning experiences that enrich, educate and entertain."
The inauguration ceremony was attended by Zaki Nusseibeh, Minister of State, Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development - Abu Dhabi; Awaidha Murshid Al Marar, Chairman of the Department of Energy - Abu Dhabi, Saif Mohamed Al Hajeri, Chairman of the Department of Economic Development - Abu Dhabi, Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, DCT,and Saeed Gobash, Under-secretary of the DCT.
The inauguration marks the start of the institution’s opening season, which will welcome the public to enjoy landmark visual arts exhibitions, a performing arts series, the library’s multi-generational educational programme, the newly established Bait Al Khatt (House of Calligraphy) and the Al Marsam Al Hor (Art Studios).
Located within Al Hosn, Abu Dhabi’s original urban block in the heart of the city, the Cultural Foundation has been a beacon of Emirati culture and heritage since its founding in 1981. Following a 10-year renovation to the Al Hosn site, the Foundation continues its commitment to supporting artistic development, education, and cultural exchange for the diverse communities of Abu Dhabi and international audiences of all age groups and backgrounds.
Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak said: "We are extremely proud to deepen the Cultural Foundation’s offerings with these new programmes and spaces. There is something for everyone at the Cultural Foundation, whether you are an artist looking for inspiration, a lover of music interested in exploring traditional and contemporary Arabic concerts, or a parent in search of fun, educational activities for the whole family. We look forward to welcoming the Abu Dhabi community and visitors from abroad to experience the new theatre and Children’s Library, and participate in our varied and dynamic opening season."
Reem Fadda, Director of the Cultural Foundation, said: "It is with great honour that we welcome such talented artists, musicians, dancers, and performers for a programme that is rich with Arabic tradition, yet contemporary in its delivery. With arts spaces spread throughout the three levels of the Cultural Foundation, we have transformed Abu Dhabi’s original cultural centre into a hub of both learning and entertainment. With a multitude of events for audiences of all ages to enjoy, it is our goal to nurture and educate the nation, and offer a new platform for local, regional, and global talent."
Sheikh Khalid toured the Cultural Foundation’s opening season visual arts exhibition, a solo show of work by Dr. Najat Makki, one of the leading artists of the UAE. Innovative and contemporary in nature, Najat Makki: Luminescence is displayed throughout the Cultural Foundation’s main hall and ground floor spaces, highlighting the artist’s experimental and open approach to various geographical and historic influences. On view from 4 September – 15 December, the exhibition is accompanied by a dedicated public programme including artist talks, workshops, master classes, guided tours, curated film screenings and other creative activities.
He also visited the Cultural Foundation’s inaugural Community Exhibition, on the first floor. Held between September 4 – December 15, The Tribute: A Dedication to Najat Makki brings together art by three generations of Emirati artists, with works from the 1970s to the 1990s showcasing their deep appreciation of Makki and her dedication to the arts in the UAE.
He then inaugurated one of the Cultural Foundation’s newest spaces, Bait al Khatt (House of Calligraphy), which has been designed as an educational hub with a focus on the historical and present-day teachings of calligraphy within Islamic culture. Classes are held daily throughout the year and are open to students of all ages and skill levels.
Sheikh Khalid also visited the Al Marsam Al Hor (Art Studios) which offer a year-round programme of classes and workshops for teens and adults. With a focus on artistic disciplines, classes include sketching, oil and watercolour painting, mixed media, sculpture, ceramics, pottery, fashion design, silk and glass painting, and jewellery making.
He also viewed the exhibition of artworks by the Cultural Foundation’s resident artists, which concludes the second cycle of the Artists in Residency programme. Works by Ayesha Hadhir, Ahmad Saeed Al Areef Al Dhaheri, Saoud Al Dhaheri, and Zayed Temash are displayed across the Foundation’s three dedicated studio spaces from 4 September 2019 – 30 November.
He then visited the brand new 900-seat theatre, set to host a jam-packed inaugural season of performances ranging from classical and contemporary music to dance, theatre and film. Inaugurating the new theatre on 4 September, Naseer Shamma with the 2350 BC Orchestra will perform From Assyria to Seville. Led by world-renowned composer and oud player Shamma, the 2350 BC Orchestra will treat listeners to a unique evening that transcends music, culture and time.
On 6 September, Bait Al Oud Takht with Naseer Shamma will perform on stage. Highlighting the Bait Al Oud school’s tradition of celebrating the history of Arabic music, the performance will present elements of traditional Emirati music reformulated for contemporary life. The evening also marks the world premiere of the Bait Al Oud Takht - the first professional classical Arabic orchestra, created by Bait Al Oud Abu Dhabi.
Marking the first theatre performance in the programme, on 10 September the Kalba Society for Folklore and Theatre will present the play Ahmed bint Sulaiman. Written in the Emirati dialect, the play raises bold issues and controversial topics that challenge the status quo.
Sheikh also inaugurated the new Abu Dhabi’s Children Library, which is set to become a centre for learning, discovery, and creative engagement for kids and families. Spread across three levels, the pop-up book themed oasis, desert, and exhibition spaces completely reconfigure what the word "library" means for young minds and big imaginations.
On the first floor, The Desert section takes visitors on a journey through life-size sand dunes, falaj-inspired book systems, and relaxing camp-themed reading spaces. With play-based learning in mind, immersive areas include a dedicated soft toddler pen, a hollow reading tree, an imaginative creature zone, and a life-size radio Land Rover. Designed for older children and teens, The Oasis section on the library’s second floor brings discovery-based learning to life through a series of trails, workstations, and interactive areas. Encouraging both independent and group learning, ‘The Oasis’ creates a relaxed atmosphere with palm-lined green spaces and private tree houses.
The library’s ground-floor exhibition and workshop areas offer children the opportunity to develop artistic skills, create their own projects, and explore the connections between art and literature.
With an average of 10 events taking place each day, the library’s September programme launches with a wide variety of workshops and group sessions across several genres, including storytelling and reading, arts and crafts, science, technology and digital, in addition to a selection of events aimed at families, parents, and care-givers.
Located in downtown Abu Dhabi, Al Hosn is the original urban block of the city and comprises Qasr Al Hosn fort, the Cultural Foundation, the historic National Consultative Council building and the House of Artisans. Al Hosn represents the proud cultural heritage of the UAE and brings to life the rich fabric of its history, people, and traditions.