Five New Art Experiences | Abu Dhabi

“The world’s first audio-visual experience of this kind.” Highway Gallery Louvre Abu Dhabi

Now firmly established on the world’s art scene after the opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi last November, the UAE is pushing forward with initiatives to attract a wider audience, both international and those who reside in the Emirates, for art and culture in the region.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi has unveiled their latest project, the unique and innovative Radio-Guided Highway Art Gallery that is the first of its kind in the region and the world. This new gallery is not the only exciting art project taking place in and around the capital right now, read more about that and four other ways you can enjoy art and culture in Abu Dhabi and Dubai over the coming weeks.

1. The Highway Gallery by Louvre Abu Dhabi

The latest gallery opening from Louvre Abu Dhabi is not located at the museum itself but instead stretches along one hundred kilometres of highway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The unique Highway Gallery is a series of giant billboards (9 x 6 boards spaced at 10 kilometre intervals) that showcase ten of the museum’s iconic artworks and artefacts as part of the UAE’s Innovation month in partnership with Abu Dhabi Media Company.


Drivers tuned into either Radio 1 FM (100.5 FM), Classic FM (91.6 FM) or Emarat FM (95.8 FM) will hear a 30 second talk by the curator about each piece as vehicles trigger the commentary when the car approaches each masterpiece. This latest venture not only makes art more accessible to the whole community, especially those who have not yet or are unable to visit the museum, but also satisfies the UAE’s continual strive to achieve World firsts.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi artworks showcased on the billboards include Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of a woman, La Belle Ferronnière (on loan from Musée du Louvre, Paris), Van Gogh’s 1887 Self Portrait (on loan from Musée d’Orsay, Paris) and the more contemporary Composition with Blue, Red, Yellow and Black by Piet Mondrian. Also pictured is the Islamic Mari-Cha lion and the 8,000-year-old two-headed statue one of the oldest monumental statues in the history of humanity (on loan from the Department of Antiquities of Jordan).

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 12.57.02 PMWhile drivers and passengers are encouraged to view the art it is safe to say that everyone must still keep their eyes on the road as the E11 can be a notorious stretch of road that needs no added distractions.

The Highway Gallery

Location: Seih Shuaib to Rahba City section of the E11 highway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Tune into Radio 1 FM (100.5 FM), Classic FM (91.6 FM) or Emarat FM (95.8 FM) for descriptions of each masterpiece.

Cost: Free


2. Van Gogh Alive – The Experience

You can now explore the work and life of Vincent Van Gogh at a stimulating and interactive exhibition being held at Abu Dhabi’s National Theatre until 26th February (it then moves to Dubai from 11th March until 23rd April).


The multi-sensory Van Gogh Alive – The Experience is no ordinary art exhibition. Instead it’s an unique way to enjoy Van Gogh’s work through light, colour and sound by transporting visitors to the world of the Dutch post-impressionist painter in a bygone era. Music from composer extraordinaires Vivaldi, Schubert, Bach and Handel among many others is used as the soundtrack to accompany over 3,000 Van Gogh images from 1800 – 1890 displayed on giant screens, the walls, columns, ceiling and even on the floor. Van Gogh’s story is told in his own words with different audio guides designed for adults and children.

Visitors are encouraged to participate and draw landscapes with a perspective frame, investigate the details of Vincent’s paintings through a microscope and see a dramatic shadow play in the Yellow House.

Van Gogh Alive – The Experience

Location: Abu Dhabi National Theatre,

Timing:  Daily 9:00am – 10:00pm until 26th February

From 11 March – 23 April 2018 the Van Gogh Alive Experience will be at the Dubai Design District

Coat: AED 70 – click here to buy tickets online (Children and students AED 65)


3. From Barcelona To Abu Dhabi

Seventy works from the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) are currently being exhibited at Manarat Al Saadiyat located in the Saadiyat Island Cultural District.


Under the Patronage of the Minister of Tolerance, HE Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan the exhibition, which is part of the Abu Dhabi Festival 2018, runs until 17th March. It showcases works from the MACBA collection alongside pieces from twenty Emirati artists. The different works explore the role of art through reflection, a space for ideas and emotions and as a place to be and to share. There are sculptures, figures, photographs, paintings, as well as the use of household objects and lettering.

Once you have walked around the exhibition and enjoyed the art, including light and reflection pieces housed in dark spaces behind black curtains, make sure you pop into Larte. This new contemporary concept from Milan has replaced previous venue Fanr, it’s great for a coffee and pastry, lunch or dinner. It’s a cool spot with trendy interiors punctuated by bold and colourful art and sculptures as well as an outdoor terrace. The Italian menu is varied with lots of options from breakfast through to dinner, the restaurant is licensed and they also serve a range of soft beverages, teas and Illy coffee.

From Barcelona To Abu Dhabi

Location: Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Cultural District, Saadiyat Island

When: Daily until 17th March 2018

Opening Hours: 8:00am – 8:00pm

Cost: Free


4. Permanent Temporariness

The NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery is hosting Permanent Temporariness, the first institutional retrospective of renowned artists and architects Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti.unnamed-2

Co-directors of DAAR, an architectural studio and artistic residency program, Hilal and Petti also founded Campus in Camps, an experimental educational program in Palestinian refugee Camps. Whilst they usually exhibit outside the typical art exhibition venue format, this exhibition, that explores how our environment shapes our experience, will be their first in a museum/gallery.

Permanent Temporariness

Location: Main Gallery, The Art Gallery at NYU Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi

When: Daily from 24th February – 9th June 2018

Opening Hours: 12 noon – 8:00 pm (closed on Sundays) Tours available by appointment

Cost: Free


5. From One Louvre To Another (Opening a Museum for Everyone).

From One Louvre to Another is the first of four temporary exhibitions that the Louvre Abu Dhabi will host throughout the year. This exhibition follows the origins of the Musee de Louvre, Paris with 150 exhibits from seventeenth and eighteenth-century France displaying the art, people and politics behind the creation of one of the world’s greatest art galleries.Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 1.02.47 PM

Step into the world of Louis XIV and the French Revolution with a mixture of paintings, sculptures, ceramics and furniture from that era curated from across the globe. Click here to take a look for yourself prior to your visit.

From One Louvre to Another

Location: Louvre Abu Dhabi

When: Daily (except Mondays) until 7th April

Admission is included in your Louvre Abu Dhabi general admission ticket. Last entry and ticket purchase is 30 minutes prior to the museum closing.

Opening hours: Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday 10:00am – 8:00pm, Thursday and Friday 10:00am – 10:00pm (Louvre Abu Dhabi is closed every Monday)

Cost: AED 60 (Reduced admission of AED 30 for young adults aged from 13-22, UAE teachers and military personnel) Click here to buy your ticket online


All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2018. All rights reserved. Information and additional photos sourced from the respective organisations.

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