• The best museums and galleries in Abu Dhabi

    We are having a focus on Abu Dhabi at the moment, so here we take a closer look at the museums and art galleries of the UAE's capital...

    Just a five-minute drive from downtown Abu Dhabi and one hour from Dubai, the 27-square kilometre island, which will be divided into seven districts, is located 500 metres off the coast of Abu Dhabi city.

    Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi is home to great museums and galleriesLinked to the mainland by two major highway bridges, Saadiyat Island is being developed to become a world-class leisure, residential, business and cultural hub, and promises to be a cultural haven for art aficionados.

    Upon completion, it is set to become the world’s largest single concentration of premier cultural institutions, which will include Zayed National Museum, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi, a performing arts centre and maritime museum. Not only will these cultural institutions house art masterpieces, but having been designed by architectural greats like Lord Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid and Tado Andao, the buildings themselves will undoubtedly be unique works of art.

    In addition to its mesmerizing array of artistic institutions boasting world-class architectural styles, Saadiyat Island, which literally means the ‘Island of Happiness’, will also feature a beachfront tourist destination with several five-star hotels, resort-like waterfront homes for more than 145,000 residents, ocean-view golf courses, a New York University campus, and a bustling business hub, all designed and built with a stout environmental consciousness.

    The Saadiyat Island project is in various stages of completion with the the region’s first championship beachfront golf course, the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, already open since January 2010. Jawaher Al Saadiyat, a collection of 10 luxury show villas was open to the public from April 17th and the world’s first Monte-Carlo Beach Club outside of Monaco, Monte-Carlo Beach Club, Saadiyat, is scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2011.

    For more information about the status of the project go to: www.saadiyat.ae

    Actually located on Saadiyat Island itself, Manarat Al Saadiyat (which means “a place that provides enlightenment”) will soon host international exhibitions in its four galleries, a central events gallery, and 250-seat theatre.

    Since its opening in November 2009, however, it has already been hosting the Saadiyat Story about the historical and cultural vision the Island of Happiness as well as educational programmes and exhibitions at the Arts Abu Dhabi Gallery.

    For more information about this 15,400 square metre cultural centre, see www.artsabudhabi.ae.

    The exhibition held at the Emirates Palace showcases the development plans for the Cultural District of Saadiyat Island. With stunning live-sized models of the Zayed National Museum, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi, a performing arts centre and maritime museum, this exhibition is an absolute must-see.

    It is open daily from 10am to 10pm and entrance is free.

    As part of an initiative by the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) Cultural Department leading up to the Saadiyat Island Cultural District, exhibitions along with workshops are regularly hosted at the Emirates Palace Hotel.

    Previous high profile exhibitions include: The Arts of Islam: Treasures from the Nasser D Khalili Collection, Picasso Abu Dhabi, Emirati Expressions, Talking Art: Louvre Abu Dhabi, The Guggenheim: The Making of a Museum, and A Story of Islamic Embroidery in Nomadic and Urban Traditions.

    For more information, go to www.artsabudhabi.ae or call +971 2 690 8207.

    One of the oldest art and picture framing galleries in Abu Dhabi, the Folklore Gallery has a large display of local art and pottery.

    It is located on Zayed 1st Street in Khalidiya.

    Call +971 02 6660361 or e-mail: info@folkloregallery.net for more information.

    SEE ALSO: 10 memes that sum up Dubai's summer

    Featuring a wide array of art work, prints, photographs and crafts by local artists, Hemisphere on Khalifa Street also hosts regular exhibitions, events and even art classes.

    For more information, call +971 2 676 8614.


    This gallery located at the Emirates Place hotel specialises in ancient art collections with everything from statues, jewellery, coins, necklaces, pottery and other artefacts from the Egyptian Antiquities, Biblical Antiquities, Classical Antiquities, Byzantine Art, Islamic Art, African andTribal Art, Chinese Art, and contemporary pieces.

    For more information, call +971 2 690 8950.

    Located near Khalidiyah Gardens, this trendy gallery hosts exhibitions featuring both local and international artists.

    For more information, call +971 2 665 5332.
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