Louvre Highway Gallery
Dubai Lifestyle

Why is there a giant Buddhist sculpture sitting proudly on Sheikh Zayed Road?

It is part of the second Highway Gallery by Louvre Abu Dhabi, which is currently being installed

Did you notice a Buddhist sculpture on the E11 Sheikh Zayed Road this morning? It’s sitting proudly, with perfect posture and one leg folded, next to the arterial road near Al Rahba in Abu Dhabi. Well, it’s part of the second Highway Gallery by Louvre Abu Dhabi.

It is a reproduction of the wooden Guanyin, Bodhisattva of Compassion from China, dated between 1050 and 1150, that greets visitors when they arrive at the Asian Trade Routes gallery in the museum.

The roadside version is one of the first installations for a highway gallery that officially launches on Sunday, April 7. The gallery of huge reproductions will feature 10 artworks when complete, three of which are giant sculpture renditions of pieces from Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection.

From next Sunday you will be able to tune into Radio 1 FM (100.5FM), Classic FM (91.6 FM) and Emarat FM (95.8 FM), and as you drive towards the display, you will automatically hear a 30-second story about each work. How? There’s a trigger a few metres before each work that sets off the audio (ah, technology).

Last year’s Highway Gallery included major Louvre Abu Dhabi works and loans such as Piet Mondrian’s Composition with Blue, Red, Yellow and Black (1922); the first work by Leonardo da Vinci shown in the Emirates, La Belle Ferronniere (1495­-1499); and one of the oldest monumental statues still existing, a haunting sculpture of a two-headed figure from the Neolithic era (about 6500 BCE) that was found in Ain Ghazal, Jordan.

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