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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 6 March 2021

'The Seed': Five things to know about Abu Dhabi's latest kinetic art installation

The artwork, which was created for National Day 2020, will be on view until the end of the month

Set among Abu Dhabi’s mangroves, an otherworldly object perches above the glistening water. The art installation – titled The Seed – is comprised of a rotating cube onto which enigmatic images are projected.

Unveiled in December, The Seed is located in Jubail Mangrove Park, where a nightly display of light, sound and music is open to the public. Here’s what you need to know about the work of art and how to visit it.

What’s the story behind its creation?

Created for the UAE National Day celebrations in December, The Seed was the centrepiece of the Seeds of the Union show attended by the country’s leaders.

Because of Covid-19 restrictions, the National Day show’s attendance was limited to government authorities, though it was live streamed on television. During the event, images of the UAE’s history were projected onto the glowing cube, while fireworks and performances took place on its surrounding platform.

Who created 'The Seed'?

The giant kinetic art piece is the work of renowned British artist and set designer Es Devlin, known for fusing light, video, language and music in her spectacular creations.

The Seed is the latest addition to Devlin’s body of work, which includes stages for opera houses and theatres, concert sets for musicians such as Kanye West and U2, as well as architectural runways for fashion shows and immersive installations.

In 2018, her project for the London Design Festival titled Please Feed the Lions caught the attention of the public as it featured a sculpture that would ‘roar’ poetry via an LED screen in its mouth.

Devlin is also the designer of the UK Pavilion for Expo 2020.

Emirati creatives Kholoud Sharafi and Noura El Neyadi helped put together the show for National Day, with designer Sharafi working on the branding while photographer El Neyadi was the person behind the landscape images of the country projected onto the cube.

What is the work about?

The “seed” stands as a metaphor for the growth of the UAE. During the National Day ceremony, an Emirati boy opened the show by carrying an illuminated seed meant to represent the beginning of the country’s union and development. A narrator then spoke: “A seed sown in the soil of devotion and a hand generously watering it, wishing to reap the fruits of tomorrow.”

The idea of ecological growth also relates to the artwork’s surroundings, as it is found in the mangrove area of Al Jubail. Mangroves are a crucial part of the UAE’s ecosystem and plantation programmes have been in place since the 1970s.

What can visitors expect from the current show?

While the current light and sound experience available to the public is not a re-run of the National Day show, it does bear similar themes.

Visitors can witness a kinetic art display with abstract and symbolic visuals that trace the journey from seed, shoot, flower to propagation.

The Seed is on view at Abu Dhabi's Al Jubail mangrove park. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
The Seed is on view at Abu Dhabi's Al Jubail mangrove park. Khushnum Bhandari / The National

How can people see the show?

The Seed is open to the public every day except Sundays, starting at 5pm. The light and sound show will play on a loop from 6pm to 8pm.

The site can welcome up to 400 guests, who can settle themselves along a newly created beach area that overlooks the sculpture and the water.

Spacing between seats follow the UAE’s Covid-19 guidelines.

Tickets are for Dh30 for adults aged 18 and older; Dh15 for children between age 7 to 17; and free for those who are under six years old. All proceeds will be directed to a conservation programme for the mangroves.

Visitors can also purchase refreshments from food trucks on-site, namely Beetza, Bahanis, Nifta for coffee and ice cream and Meylas, which serves Emirati Cuisine.

The site is accessible for wheelchairs and People of Determination. The area also has restrooms and prayer rooms.

The Seed is on view until January 30. Tickets can be purchased online at

Published: January 17, 2021 05:11 PM


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