Sunday, December 18, 2011

National Pride

The days before the Maqta Bridge...
The UAE is (quite rightly) very proud of its heritage and has been whipped into a complete frenzy before, during and after the 40th National Day. Of course, I was also caught up in this frenzy.  And it turns out that this frenzy has gone global.

You may have heard of Saadiyat Island – it’s just off the coast of Abu Dhabi and is famous for the Middle Eastern Louvre and Guggenheim being built there. And they also have a fabulous ’UAE Pavilion’ which I was lucky enough to visit on the way to Sade.  Designed by Lord Foster, it’s a beautiful creation, originally erected in Shanghai for last year’s World Expo, then dismantled and put back together again on Saadiyat.  Amazing.

At the moment it’s housing a celebration of the UAE.  Called The Union, it’s a selection of photographs chronicled by a fascinating man called Ronald Codrai, who lived in the Emirates when it was just a pile of sand and oil was a twinkle in the Bedouins’ eyes.

The images are huge, which makes them extremely impactful and we spent a very happy couple of hours roaming around, reading the accompanying stories and even watching specially commissioned films which documented the creation of the UAE.  It was a truly wonderful and moving experience. The exhibition ends on the 20th, so if you haven’t seen it, you probably won’t. I’m very glad I was lucky enough to catch it.

1 comment:

Mrs Dubai said...

I'm reading a brilliant book about the UAE at the moment: A Diamond in the Desert by Jo Tatchell. You must get it, you will enjoy it no end. It's written by a lady who grew up here in the 70s and has now come back to see the changes. Very fair and interesting.