Louvre Abu Dhabi made a splash at the Frankfurt Book Fair on Sunday, having launched a book of its own.
The Saadiyat Island museum took part on the closing day of the world's largest book gathering by launching the Arabic version of its guide book – thus completing the three-language set, which includes both English and French.
The Arabic version is no different in taking readers through the journey of the museum with images of the grand vestibule to all four wings and 12 galleries and with each major art work explained in a thorough, yet accessible manner.
The book launch was celebrated with a well-attended panel discussion to introduce the museum to German audiences, in addition to discussing its architectural delights.
The fair's high profile platform was also a chance for the museum officials to dispel any misconceptions about the Louvre Abu Dhabi, one of which is that it is a branch of the Louvre Museum in Paris.
“It is a very new museum. Sometimes because of our partnerships, people make the wrong assumption,” said Juliette Singer, Louvre Abu Dhabi’s chief curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.
“It is a very universal concept. So inside you start with the earliest stage of civilisation and in chronological order you will eventually arrive at the world of today with contemporary artists from the UAE and other places. What we are putting all together is a different approach to history to show how amazing is the creativity of human kind.”
When asked about the museum's mission, Singer replied that Louvre Abu Dhabi has a dynamic role to play in building bridges between the UAE and the world.
“We are creating a link between the scientific content of the museum and the audience. So it is a very dynamic perspective. There is also the fact that it is written in three different languages as well: English, because it is the most common language, Arabic because of the country we are in and French because of the French loans and their story,” she said.
“We are also working very hard in building bridges and creating content for a new generation from the UAE to put themselves on the map. The roots of the museum are very much from the UAE.”
Offering a different perspective on the museum was Jan Dimog who co-wrote United Arab Emirates: Architectural Guide in 2016 in 2016. An Arabic translation of that book is set to be published next year.
Dimog praised the museum's celebrated French architect Jean Nouvel for creating a structure in line with the UAE's character.
“Nouvel is first and foremost a structuralist. He always studies first the history of buildings in the country in which he works in as his starting point. From then he develops an architecture that has elements from the UAE heritage and then he translates it to our modern times,” he said.
Dimog also praised the “island concept” of the museum. Its location on Saadiyat Island, he said, is also a homage to the UAE’s overall physical landscape.
“That is also very striking,” he said.
The panel session of Louvre Abu Dhabi concluded Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi’s (DCT) involvement in the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Among key events that the DCT held during the five-day event was to launch of Auswahl An Ausspruchen Von: Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a compilation of Sheikh Zayed's insights translated to German, in addition to announcing that 12 Brazilian-Arab authors will have their works translated into a series of books by the Abu Dhabi-based publishing house Kalima.
"Our participations in international book fairs provides for joint co-operation efforts towards promoting the publishing industry. Taking part in this, the world’s largest book fair, enabled us to meet many entities that are strongly interested in our publishing projects," said Saeed Al Tunaiji, director of the publishing department at DCT Abu Dhabi’s National Library Sector.
“As we witnessed first-hand the high levels of interest in Arab culture, we talked with many entities to offer them opportunities to contribute in specialised conferences we plan to launch.”