About a month after Louvre Abu Dhabi closed its doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, the museum has launched new online activities for those who are staying at home.
A highlight is a virtual walkthrough of the exhibition Furusiyya: The Art of Chivalry between East and West, a comparative study of knightly traditions from Islamic and Christian cultures, which was on view before the closure on March 14.
The online version of the exhibition, which can also be viewed with a VR headset, weaves through the gallery space and highlights artworks of interest in English, Arabic and French. A series of audio guides in English is also available.
There are also online learning resources for children in the Make and Play section, including videos that teach visitors how to recreate artefacts and artworks at home using everyday materials. These include a Mondrian-inspired collage made of coloured tape and cut-outs of helmets and shadow puppet horses from the Furusiyya exhibition. Free-to-download exhibition guides of previous shows and flashcards are also shared on the website.
The Art From Home section delves into the artworks in the museum's collection, such as its Buddha heads from India and China and the Ottoman painter Hamdi Bey's work A Young Emir Studying. Meanwhile, the museum's mobile application contains 150 multimedia materials such as images, audio and video that are accessible in English, Arabic, French, German, Hindi, Mandarin and Russian.
“While Louvre Abu Dhabi is temporarily closed, our mission of sharing stories of cultural connections continues,” said museum director Manuel Rabate in a statement. “Turning to art in difficult times can be truly inspiring and rewarding,” he continued, adding that the museum will continue to add features to their website in the coming weeks.
Other art institutions in the UAE have also stepped up their digital initiatives. Jameel Arts Centre have put together innovative virtual events such as Slow Art Day, applying mindful practice to art appreciation and the online version of its Jaddaf Aloud festival, featuring live musical performances and interactive projects designed by local creatives.
As the UAE continues to battle the spread of the coronavirus – with 6,781 confirmed cases and 1,286 recoveries at the time of writing – announcements on when arts and culture spaces will reopen are yet to be made.
More information can be found on louvreabudhabi.ae