Louvre Abu Dhabi set to open on National Day 2015, French minister says

Aurelie Filippetti, the French Minister of Culture and Communication, said Emirati art and culture will be integrated into the Louvre Abu Dhabi project.

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ABU DHABI // The Louvre Abu Dhabi’s opening has been set to coincide with the UAE’s 44th National Day.

In her second visit to the capital, the French minister of culture and communication, Aurelie Filippetti, yesterday said the six-year project would come to fruition on December 2, 2015.

“France is fully committed to and excited about the Louvre Abu Dhabi opening here in two years’ time,” Mrs Filippetti said.

She was in town to oversee the museum’s progress and to attend the opening of the fifth Abu Dhabi Art festival.

“My presence here with more than 12 presidents and directors of the most important French museums is a symbol of France’s desire to honour our 30-year treaty with Abu Dhabi,” Mrs Filippetti said.

She took up her ministerial role just last year with the government of Francois Hollande.

She and the Socialist government have inherited the agreement from their predecessors.

When asked if there would now be a shift in the agreement, Mrs Filippetti said the new administration would put more emphasis on integrating Emirati culture into the project.

“I heard there was a lack of regard in this and we want to give more importance to Emirati culture and artists,” she said.

She said Abu Dhabi’s role as a cultural centre in the region would be emphasised and the 21st century wing of the Louvre Abu Dhabi will feature more Emirati artists.

“This is a priority for us,” Mrs Filippetti said.

Among the visiting heads of French museums was Jean-Luc Martinez, director of the Louvre Museum in Paris.

“This is a very important project for us and we are in the process of selecting 300 works which will be loaned to Abu Dhabi,” Mr Martinez said.

Because the selection is in the proposal stage, he said he could not discuss which pieces were being considered.

“I cannot tell you precisely but you can be sure masterpieces from main artists will make it here,” Mr Martinez said.

These works will join the 130 permanent artworks in the Louvre Abu Dhabi collection, which were on display this year at Manarat Al Saadiyat in the Birth of a Museum exhibit.

“We want the incoming pieces to complement the ones already here, and we see this museum as being a dialogue between Asia, Africa and Europe.”

Mr Martinez said the Birth of a Museum exhibition would be the main attraction in the Louvre in Paris next April, creating more awareness and excitement about the opening of the Abu Dhabi museum.

“It’s also a great opportunity to talk about the UAE and its cultural projects and for the French and European public to get to know the Emirati culture,” he said.