One of the world’s most recognizable institutions, the Louvre, was finally unveiled. French President, Emmanuel Macron, attended the inauguration of the new Louvre museum on November 8 at a time of growing tensions in the Middle East.
A new diplomatic chapter was written for the United Arab Emirates and France. By collaborating on this new cultural and historical showpiece, the UAE oil-rich capital gets a major boost in diversifying into culture and tourism, according to Reuters.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is scheduled to open on Saturday to the general public. The establishment was uniquely designed by French architect, Jean Nouvel. The museum includes hundreds of original artworks from various French organizations of art.
“Surrounded by water from three sides, the museum houses 600 artworks it has acquired, alongside 300 works on loan from 13 leading French institutions, in its 23 permanent galleries. The artists from Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh to Pablo Picasso and Cy Twombly.”
This was Macron’s first visit to Abu Dhabi as France’s newly elected Chef des Armées (literally Chief of the Armies). In addition, his visit comes at a time when the region is facing multiple crises from Qatar and other Gulf states to escalations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, according to The Guardian.
Macron’s inauguration speech was deemed emotional and honored Abu Dhabi’s crown prince Mohammed bin Zayad Al Nahyan for this historic milestone. Also, he referenced Russian writer, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and urged that “beauty can save the world.”
This 30-year diplomatic project had multiple delays and controversies spanning over 10 years. Conforming to the British daily newspaper, these delays were due to allegations of exploitation and abuse of migrant workers in the Gulf state.
Nevertheless, the Abu Dhabi Louvre project was met with opposition. As stated by the New York Times, a French director of an online art publication confirmed this deal was politically motivated.
“I was completely against this project,” said Didier Rykney, director of La Tribune de L’Art… who organized petitions against the project because he believed the deal was motivated by politics and finance.”
Make no mistake, the Louvre is a world-renowned brand and one of the most visited museums in the world. Just last year France’s prestigious art museum fell to number three after it owned the top spot for four consecutive years.
Elsewhere, the Washington Post confirmed that the new museum serves as a broader strategy to expand in the region. The report added that France built a permanent military base in Abu Dhabi in 2009. This is the first time France expands overseas after the decolonization phase started back in the 1960s.
[Featured Image by Ludovic Marin/AP Images]