'The Seed': centrepiece of UAE National Day show to become public artwork

The art installation was used in this year's National Day celebrations in Abu Dhabi

The centrepiece of this year's UAE National Day celebrations in Abu Dhabi – a luminous rotating cube called The Seed – is now a public artwork.

Located in Jubail Mangrove Park, the installation is the work of renowned British artist and set designer Es Devlin, known for melding light, video, language and music in her spectacular creations.

On December 2, the show Seeds of the Union was attended by UAE leaders exclusively due to safety reasons. Conceptualised around the mangrove tree and nature, hence the title, the show was also livestreamed on television.

The glowing cube was centre-stage during the event, accompanied with fireworks and performances on its surrounding platform, while projections relating to the UAE’s history flashed on the spinning object’s surface.

The show also acknowledged frontline workers in the Covid-19 pandemic, with narrations from a Filipina nurse and an Emirati policeman sharing the experiences and challenges they faced in 2020.

Voices of Maj Hazza Al Mansouri, the UAE’s first astronaut, and Chaica Al Qassimi, an Emirati Special Olympics martial arts athlete, were also played.

Now that it is open to the public, visitors can witness the work of kinetic art in action from Monday, December 14, to Saturday, January 30, during the evening. The daily capacity is at 400 people per day. Proceeds from the ticket price, which range from Dh15 to Dh30, will be directed to a conservation project for the mangroves.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - December 02, 2020: Performers participate in the ‘Seeds of the Union’ show, during the official 49th UAE National Day Celebrations, at Jubail Mangrove Park.   


( Mohamed Al Hammadi / Ministry of Presidential Affairs )
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The Seed is just the latest addition to Devlin's expansive body of work, which includes stages for opera houses and theatres, concert sets for big names such as Kanye West and U2, as well as architectural runways for fashion shows and immersive installations.

In 2018, she was tasked with developing the UK Pavilion for Expo 2020, postponed to next year due to the pandemic. She is the first woman to be commissioned by the UK to design a pavilion since 1851.

More information is available atFor more information, visit uaenationalday.ae

Scroll through to the gallery to see more from the UAE National Day show 'Seeds of the Union':