Performance by internationally acclaimed artist Wael Shawky under Louvre Abu Dhabi’s dome blends culture of medieval Europe with that of the Arabian Gulf

Celebrating the museum’s latest exhibition, La Chanson de Roland will be on show for two nights only. Taking place from 26 – 27 February, the performance will feature more than 20 singers and musicians from the UAE and Bahrain, performing in the classical Arabic fidjeri style, developed more than 800 years amongst fishermen in the Arabian Gulf. Combining history and theatre with art, music and myth, the work interrogates stereotypes associated with the history of the Crusades and reflects it from an Arab perspective.

Wael Shawky
Wael Shawky

Inspired by one of the oldest works of French literature La Chanson de Roland (the song of the Roland) and the French Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf’s 1983 book The Crusades through Arab Eyes, Shawky’s work blends the cultures and traditions of medieval Europe with those of the Arabian Gulf. The artist often focuses on the topic of Medieval Arab culture and the Crusades, and his well-known film seriesCabaret Crusades has previously been on show at institutions such as the Serpentine Galleries in London or MoMA PS1 in New York.

The performance ties in with the theme of the exhibition, which offers a rare opportunity to compare medieval chivalric culture from the Islamic East and Christian West. Encompassing over 130 artefacts, from medieval armours and weapons to illuminated manuscripts depicting chivalric scenes, the exhibition pays particular attention to knightly values such as courage, faith, loyalty and honour.

Furusiyya: The Art of Chivalry between East and West is the third exhibition in Louvre Abu Dhabi’s current cultural season Changing Societies. Other exhibitions in the 2019/20 season include: Rendezvous in Paris: Picasso, Chagall, Modigliani & Co (1900 – 1939) (18 September – 7 December 2019), 10,000 Years of Luxury (30 October 2019 – 18 February 2020) and the upcoming exhibition; Charlie Chaplin: When Art Met Cinema (15 April – 11 July 2020).

Visiting Furusiyya: The Art of Chivalry between East and West is free with the museum’s general admission ticket. Pre-booking is highly advised due to the peak period. To book tickets, please visit or call Louvre Abu Dhabi at +971 600 56 55 66. Admission is free for children under the age of 13.

Performances of La Chanson de Roland will take place in the Auditorium on 26 and 27 of February at 8pm. Tickets are 150 AED (including VAT) and are available online.

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