A city-wide light art exhibition is coming to Abu Dhabi
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A city-wide light art exhibition is coming to Abu Dhabi

Running from November 15 to January 30, it will transform the city's coastal areas through a series of public installations

ArtDayME: Abu Dhabi is set to be transformed into a citywide light exhibition, as part of the emirate’s Public Art programme. Titled Manar Abu Dhabi, the event will exhibit more than 35 site-specific commissions and artworks across the city, from November 15 to January 30.

Themed Grounding Light, the exhibition will feature light sculptures, projections and immersive artworks by Emirati artists such as Mohammed Kazem, Jumairy and Nujoom Al Ghanem, as well as others from across the world, including Palestine’s Samia Halaby, Shilpa Gupta from India and the Japanese teamLab.

Manar, or Lighthouse in Arabic, aims to shed light on Abu Dhabi’s coastal areas, such as Lulu Island, Corniche Road, Samaliyah Island, Fahid Island, Jubail mangroves, Saadiyat Island and the Eastern mangroves.

“Manar Abu Dhabi is more than just an art exhibition. It's a testament to our long standing and continued commitment to public art and the cultural growth of our city. Our vibrant, dynamic city is the canvas, and the light art is a bridge connecting our past, present and future,” said Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi.

“While appealing to audiences across the Abu Dhabi community and beyond, we especially aim to inspire the young minds who are our future. Through this immersive experience, we hope to encourage imagination, sense of wonder, and appreciation for our beautiful natural environment.”

Manar aims to shed light on Abu Dhabi’s coastal areas, the Eastern Mangroves. Victor Besa / The NationalManar aims to shed light on Abu Dhabi’s coastal areas, the Eastern Mangroves. Victor Besa / The National

Rita Aoun, DCT Abu Dhabi’s culture sector executive director, said Manar aimed to engage the community in a dialogue that “connects the aesthetic, historical and social values of the city”.

“The magic of light art is its ability to transcend traditional boundaries, bringing together people from all walks of life,” she said.

“We hope that every Abu Dhabi residents and visitors will sense a newfound connection to the city, inspired by the visual narrative woven by exceptionally talented artists.”

The event will be co-curated by Reem Fadda, director of the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation and artistic director of Public Art Abu Dhabi, alongside artist Alia Zaal Lootah.

Fadda said Grounding Light is an experience designed to transform our perception of the world around us.

“The exhibition brings together an extraordinary array of artists whose works are intended to foster a sense of calm, engagement and appreciation of Abu Dhabi’s unique biodiversity and natural beauty,” she said.

“It is an exhibition that marries the elements of nature, water and light art to create a one-of-a-kind experience unique only to Abu Dhabi. Each piece will not only enhance our experience of the emirate's beautiful water landscapes, but also resonate with visitors long after the exhibition, prompting reflection on the bond that connects us to the earth beneath our feet and to each other, as well as on the role of public art in shaping our collective experiences.”

Manar Abu Dhabi will also include a programme of discussions, workshops and performances. It falls under the Public Art Abu Dhabi initiative, which will also include the Public Art Abu Dhabi Biennial, launching in November 2024, as well as artist commissions.