Abu Dhabi Festival opens 2019 Visual Arts Exhibition

ABU DHABI, 26th February, 2019 (WAM) — Abu Dhabi Festival 2019 launched its diverse Visual Arts Programme with the opening of a landmark exhibition on 25th February, 2019.

“Distant Prospects – European Landscape Paintings from LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections” presents the history of the European landscape painting from one of the world’s most important private collections. These masterpieces have never before been seen in the Middle East. The paintings date back to the 15th century, featuring key figures in the Late Renaissance and Baroque artistic movements, including works by Lucas Cranach the Elder, Joos de Momper, Jan Brueghel the Younger and Peter Paul Rubens, among many others, collected and preserved over many generations by the House of Liechtenstein.

The festival is held under the patronage of Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance.


Distant Prospects is a historic exhibition of priceless treasures, the likes of which has never been seen in the UAE and is now open to the public until 25th March, 2019, at Gallery S at Manarat al Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi.

Commenting on the launch, Sheikh Nahyan said, “President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan declared 2019 as the ‘Year of Tolerance’. It calls attention to the nation’s respect for diversity, inclusion, and an empathetic understanding of the identity and difference of human beings. Tolerance and inclusion have been at the heart of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, ADMAF, and the Abu Dhabi Festival.”

Visual arts, he said, have always been an integral component of the Festival. Distant Prospects, debuting this year in the Middle East, celebrates the visual arts by exhibiting over 400 years of cultural diversity and artistic talent that significantly contribute to an informed comprehension of the history of art.

“Without a doubt, the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and the Abu Dhabi Festival and their tireless and visionary founder, Huda I. Alkhamis-Kanoo, have reinforced the UAE’s dedication to diversity, tolerance, and intellectual and artistic excellence. They will do it again in 2019 and will again earn the boundless gratitude of the UAE,” Sheikh Nahyan said.

Huda I. Alkhamis-Kanoo, Founder of ADMAF and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival, said, “Appreciating art has always been a key element of cultural dialogue, for the ability to look into the past, as portrayed by artists hundreds of years ago in faraway lands, serves to broaden our understanding of how different cultures have evolved over time. Abu Dhabi Festival has long been involved in the evolution of visual arts in the country, by hosting creative masterpieces from around the world and we are very excited to welcome more than 70 classic masterpieces from LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, some of which date back to the 15th century.”

Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein commented, “Why do we collect pictures, works of art? I could say because it is part of the tradition of a family because these mobile treasures are always valued as a moveable investment as well. But my family collects such works of art first and foremost because, for generations, we have taken such pleasure in these treasures themselves and still do today. In my castle in Vaduz, and in the palaces in Vienna, we live with many of these treasures, among them extremely important landscapes both serene and dramatic, with seascapes, hunting scenes and Biedermeier idylls. It gives me particular pleasure that now people in the Middle East can now see my pictures first hand and share this enjoyment.”

The launch ceremony was attended by Hamad Al Kaabi, UAE Ambassador to Austria, and senior officials.

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