France's Macron, Arab leaders tour the Louvre Abu Dhabi

2017-11-09 05:27
French President Emmanuel Macron and UAE leaders in the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum.

French President Emmanuel Macron and UAE leaders in the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum.

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Abu Dhabi - French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday took his first walk through the galleries of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a decade after his country signed an over $1.2 billion agreement to share the name and some of the artworks of the world-famous museum.

Macron and his wife, Brigitte, walked up to the museum with Abu Dhabi's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nayhan and Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Both Emirati rulers smiled and greeted the couple, an Emirati honour guard standing at ready nearby.

Human history

With architect Jean Nouvel at his side, Macron entered the first gallery of the museum. Nouvel pointed out the skylight within it, which mirrors the Louvre Pyramid and are similar to others through the museum.

The floor beneath them bore the outline of the United Arab Emirates, with different world cities named on it in Arabic, Chinese, Hindi and English.

They then looked at a two-headed Neolithic statue from Jordan, one of the oldest known in human history.

They will join other Arab leaders at an event to inaugurate the building.

The museum marks a major cultural achievement for the UAE after a decade-long wait and questions about conditions that labourers on the project had faced.

The artwork on display offers a brief history of the world and its major religions - without shying away from Judaism in a country that officially does not recognise Israel.

Strike surface

Museum officials say it also serves as a cultural bridge between the East and West. However, the conservative mores of Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital that's more buttoned-up than freewheeling Dubai, can be seen in the relative absence of pieces depicting nudity.

The modernist museum sits under a honeycombed dome of eight layers of Arab-style geometric shapes.

It draws the lapping waters of the Persian Gulf into its outer corridors, allowing individual beams of light that pass through the roof to strike the surface and cast dancing reflections across the white walls. At night, light inside pours out like tiny stars from a salt shaker against the city's skyline.


Read more on:    emmanuel macron  |  france  |  uae

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