Manar Abu Dhabi lights up the capital

Lulu Island Manar Abu Dhabi, Public Art Abu Dhabi, Paad, Lulu Island, Lulu Island Abu Dhabi Manar, Lulu Abu Dhabi 2023, Manar Abu Dhabi Lulu Island

The group exhibition features over 20 local, regional and international artists committed to enhancing the city’s urban fabric through public art

If you thought you seen the Batman sign over the city at the weekend fear not, you are not losing your mind!

Abu Dhabi has become illuminated with creativity over the last week as light art exhibition Manar Abu Dhabi opened to the public, showcasing compelling light artworks installed across various islands, mangroves, and natural vistas in the capital.

Manar’s inaugural edition is held under the theme Grounding Light, rooted in the concept of grounding and self-enlightenment and the belief that light is a reflection of our inner selves, body, mind, nature and spirit.

Curated by Reem Fadda and Alia Zaal Lootah, the citywide exhibition features an array of artworks by over 20 local, regional and international artists from Argentina, Taiwan, Germany, France, India, Japan, Mexico, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.

Artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer took over Lulu Island with Translation Island, an interactive journey through 10 large-scale audiovisual multimedia artworks.

An ambitious technological tour de force, the works employ ultrasonic atomizers, Geiger counters and thermal cameras, among other equipment.

Some of the installations use light to represent or interact with natural and cosmic phenomena, while others reflect on the transient nature of existence, human understanding and misunderstanding. Ultimately, the exhibition is a platform for self-representation and participation by the visitors.


Highlights of Lulu Island:


  1. The boat ride out to the island itself is a wonderful experience. Taking in some fabulous views of Abu Dhabi city, it is the perfect way to commence the tour and it also only takes 10 minutes too!
  2. The first activity which catches your attention is entitled Recorded Assembly, where you can go into a little video booth and your image is transferred onto a gigantic screen in the background. If you have two friends with you all of you can use an individual booth and have your collective images cast onto the screen! All for the love of the ‘Gram of course!
  3. Next up you can wander into Pulse Island, a forest full of light! Here, you are greeted with an array of 4,000 light bulbs that will glimmer to the rhythm of your heartbeat. A creepy yet enlightening experience.
  4. A trip to Dune Rangers is another highlight of the tour, where the valley is illuminated by threshold lines that react to voices and sounds sensed by area microphones. Echoes of everything spoken with this valley return in the form of travelling waves of light, haze and sound.


Who might like this trip?

The trip has something for everyone. From the more mature and initiated digital and light art enthusiasts to the various interactive activities that the kids can enjoy, everyone has an opportunity to embrace the wonderful transformation on Lulu Island.


So, what’s next?

In conjunction with the art installations, a schedule of public talks, workshops and performances is offered to visitors over the course of the exhibition. These endeavors highlight Public Art Abu Dhabi’s ongoing commitment to enhancing the emirate’s public spaces through art, building upon a vibrant cultural legacy while looking forward to a future rich with creative potential.


The exhibition continues until the end of January. For further information, visit abudhabiculture.ae

For further information about arts and cultural events in Abu Dhabi and beyond, visit Yalla Abu Dhabi Life

Image source Public Art Abu Dhabi Instagram

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Shane Reynolds

An Irish man living in the Middle East for almost ten years, Shane has his finger on the pulse off all things social in Abu Dhabi and when he’s not writing for Yalla Abu Dhabi Life, you can find him DJing in some of the capital’s hottest night spots