The Manar Abu Dhabi light art exhibition has opened its doors to the public, showcasing a transformative array of light artworks across various locations in Abu Dhabi until January 30, 2024. This citywide exhibition, curated by Reem Fadda and Alia Zaal Lootah, is a significant component of the Department of Culture & Tourism – Abu Dhabi’s Public Art Abu Dhabi initiative, dedicated to enriching the city’s urban landscape through public art.
Under the theme “Grounding Light,” the inaugural edition of Manar explores the concept of grounding and self-enlightenment, emphasizing the idea that light reflects our inner selves, encompassing body, mind, and spirit. Over 20 artists from around the world, including Ayman Zedani, Carsten Höller, Jim Denevan, Latifa Saeed, Luciana Abait, Mohammed Kazem, and teamLab, contribute site-specific commissions, light sculptures, projections, and immersive artworks.
The exhibition extends beyond aesthetic appreciation, offering a platform for self-representation and visitor participation. Artists like Jim Denevan and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer employ monumental land art installations and interactive multimedia artworks, respectively, engaging the audience in a symphony of interconnectedness and technological innovation.
Manar Abu Dhabi also addresses global issues, with artists responding to environmental and climate crises. Jumairy, for instance, merges sound, digital technologies, light, and water to celebrate the ethereal beauty of bioluminescent Abu Dhabi beaches, prompting reflection on the interconnectedness of all living beings.
The artworks reflect the history, traditions, and modernity of the UAE and Abu Dhabi. Nujoom Al Ghanem celebrates Abu Dhabi’s seafaring heritage on Lulu Island, while Ayesha Hadhir, Rawdha Al Ketbi, and Shaikha Al Ketbi create a playful journey through the Eastern Mangroves, exploring cultural practices.
As the exhibition unfolds, additional artworks will be unveiled on Al Samalivah Island in December. The event also includes public talks, workshops, and performances, demonstrating Public Art Abu Dhabi’s commitment to enhancing the emirate’s public spaces, building on its cultural legacy, and looking towards a future rich with creative potential. Manar Abu Dhabi is not merely an exhibition but a dynamic celebration of art’s ability to transform and engage with the community.
About Public Art Abu Dhabi
Public Art Abu Dhabi stands as the latest initiative by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), embodying the ongoing commitment to commissioning public art in the emirate. At the core of this initiative lies a dedicated focus on community engagement, underscoring its integral role in enhancing the creative legacy, cultural infrastructure, liveability, and overall wellbeing of the residents of the UAE capital. This transformative effort is rooted in the principles of placemaking and the collective memory of the community, aiming to foster a deeper connection between individuals and their surroundings.
With an annual investment exceeding 35 million US dollars, Public Art Abu Dhabi demonstrates a robust commitment to supporting the broader creative industries in the emirate through the impactful medium of public art. This significant financial dedication underscores the initiative’s ambition to contribute to the flourishing cultural landscape of Abu Dhabi, enriching the city’s aesthetic experience and reinforcing its position as a hub for artistic expression.