’Roads of Arabia’ Exhibition Opens at Louvre Abu Dhabi

Friday 09 November 2018
Riyadh - MENA Herald:

Roads of Arabia Expo”, a collection of rare historic artefacts from the Arabian Peninsula, opened this week at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the travelling exhibition’s 15th stop on its worldwide tour to showcase the Kingdom’s cultural heritage.  The exhibition will have a run of over three months at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, closing on February 16, 2019.

Organised by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), “Roads of Arabia” is one of the most important exhibitions focusing on Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Peninsula as a whole to tour world museums. It has introduced the cultural heritage of the Arabian Peninsula to more than five million people outside the Middle East, and it represents an important vehicle for educating the world about the civilisations that have called the Arabian Peninsula home over the centuries.

“‘Roads of Arabia: Saudi Archaeological Masterpieces through the Ages’ takes an important look at the cultural heritage of the Kingdom and the Arabian Peninsula,” Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, president of the Saudi commission for Tourism and National Heritage, said.

The exhibition was first curated in 2010 and since then has travelled around the world to 14 different cities in Europe, America and Asia.

The exhibition comes at a critical time when archaeologists have made some monumental discoveries in Saudi Arabia that bedazzled the world and caught the imagination of history and archaeology enthusiasts across the globe waiting for the country to open up for tourists so they can take a closer look at them.

The current stop of the exhibition is the largest in the history of the exhibition. Other pieces of art that reflect some of the living conditions of the common civilizations in the Arabian Peninsula were added to the original 466 pieces of the exhibition. They include artefacts related to the desert, equestrian tools, camels, and falconry, along with other means of hunting in the desert. The exhibition will also include a pavilion dedicated to civilizations and heritage shared between the Kingdom and the UAE.

The show at the Louvre Abu Dhabi is taking place under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The opening ceremony was attended by SCTH president Prince Sultan bin Salman; Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed, Chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court; Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; and other officials.

We are not a nation that was assembled on an oil well,” Prince Sultan said in a speech during the opening Wednesday evening. “We have a glorious history, and a contribution to humanity and civilisation based on a system of moral values…

“We are aware today that cultural communication among nations is one of the most important issues countries should care about. Highlighting the culture of each country is an integral part of bridging gaps between different peoples and cultures.

“These international exhibitions are one of the windows through which the peoples of the world see some of the cultural development we witnessed in our region.”

The Kingdom, he said, is now one of the leading countries in terms of archaeological discoveries,  and is witnessing exceptional projects in the field of museums and the protection and restoration of archaeological and heritage sites.

Making its debut on July 13, 2010 at the Louvre in Paris, “Roads of Arabia” has displayed more than 460 objects from the National Museum in Riyadh and other museums in Saudi Arabia outside the Kingdom for the first time.

The expo includes relics from the Paleolithic period (1 million BC), to the ancient eras before Islam, including the Dilmun period, the civilisations of the early, intermediate and late Arab kingdoms, up to the Islamic period, and up to the establishment of the modern Saudi state.

Following its launch in Paris, Roads of Arabia travelled to Barcelona; Berlin; Washington, DC; Pittsburgh; Houston; San Francisco; Beijing; Seoul; and Tokyo.

The exhibition coincides with celebrations in the UAE of the first anniversary of the museum’s opening and the “Year of Zayed”, the centennial of the birth of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE founding father.

"The Arabian Peninsula has always been a focal point for cultural and commercial exchange, and the roots of the Louvre Abu Dhabi are deeply entrenched in the history of this region," according to Manuel Rabate, Director of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. “This exhibition is an important opportunity for us to revisit this rich heritage again and celebrate it through an impressive collection of artefacts that, together with the pieces of our growing collection, tells the Arab story from a new perspective. “

The Louvre Abu Dhabi has enhanced the exhibition with artefacts that evoke the customs of life on the Arabian Peninsula, especially as they relate to the desert, horsemanship, camels, falconry and other hunting practices in the desert.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Louvre Abu Dhabi has organised three days of events, including “On the Routes of the Arabian Peninsula,” an exhibition of music, performance and poetry with 80 artists from the Arabian Peninsula, Africa, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, India, Indonesia and China. Also on display are examples of calligraphy art by the Tunisian calligrapher, Koom, and selected films by Hind Mezaina, a photographer and blogger from Dubai, as well as panel discussions, various training workshops and guided tours.

Visitors can access the exhibition with a normal Louvre ticket. Visitors can tour the exhibition using a multimedia guide, available in Arabic, English and French. For more information on the exhibition and purchasing tickets, please visit the museum's website at www.louvreabudhabi.ae, or call +971 600 56 55 66.

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