NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Centre publishes commemorative book celebrating its early years

NYU Abu Dhabi Arts Centre publishes commemorative book celebrating its early years

ABU DHABI, 15th September, 2023 (WAM) -- The Arts Centre at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) celebrated its first seven years (2015-2021) with the launch of a commemorative bilingual book and a panel discussion titled “Arts Conversation: Documenting a Performing Arts History”.

Available for purchase internationally through Amazon, the book includes a series of essays, anecdotes, and quotes from a variety of prominent members of the community, including Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of State, and Vice Chancellor at NYUAD Mariët Westermann, each sharing stories of how the Arts Centre at NYUAD has impacted the local arts scene. It also forms a visual archive, centered largely around the photography of Waleed Shah, and other contributors.

Bill Bragin, Executive Artistic Director at the Arts Centre, said, “The Arts Centre means so many different things to so many different people. Its founding and growth, as a significant complement to the development of the cultural district on Saadiyat Island, and the investment in the arts and culture ecosystem in the UAE as a whole, is a story we wanted to tell in all its complex variety. Through thoughtful words from a ‘polyphony of voices’ of contributors, including artists, NYUAD faculty, former students, and journalists who have been documenting the process, as well as gorgeous photography, this five-volume, bilingual box set allows us to tell this story in close to real time.”

Bragin, along with editor-in-chief, curator, and critic Nadine Khalil; and photographer Waleed Shah, discussed the importance and meaning of documenting the arts and how they have individually and collectively documented seven years of The Arts Center’s history. The panel discussion was moderated by Westermann.

Bragin added, “We see it as a gift to future historians who may be interested in discovering the first phase of development at Saadiyat Island, and of NYUAD’s journey. The scope ranges from pre-Saadiyat days at NYUAD’s Downtown Campus, to the move to Saadiyat and the creative placemaking and drive to bring audiences and build a community in a new physical location. It also encompasses the challenges to redefine our work and sustain our community when the global pandemic prevented us from physically gathering. How we overcame those challenges is a great testimony to the power and meaning of the arts.”

Firmly rooted in Abu Dhabi but with a global reach, The Arts Centre has been building a sustainable performing arts community on Saadiyat Island for the past seven years, as it heads toward becoming a cornerstone for the arts in the UAE capital. The book depicts definition-defying highlights in music, theatre, dance, film, poetry, family programmes, and interdisciplinary performances. It also tracks The Arts Centre’s journey to become a beacon on the international arts landscape.