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Press Releases

  • 22 Mar 2018

DIFC Pays Tribute to Zayed as Part of DIFC’s Art Integration Programme

Five of Manolo Valdes’s sculptures exhibited for the first time in the Middle East

UAE - Dubai, 22 March 2018: Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading international financial hub and destination for lifestyle, arts and culture, has unveiled the ‘Ode to Zayed’ along with five large-scale sculptures by world renowned artist Manolo Valdés at the heart of DIFC’s Gate building area, as part of the ongoing Art Integration programme and in line with Dubai Art Week.

The ‘Ode to Zayed’ installation presented by the artist Amrish Patel and Apical Reform gallery marks the ‘Year of Zayed’ and the centenary celebrations of the birth of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The artwork is a unique masterpiece where visitors can see the portrait of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan which emerges from the desert landscape of the UAE, visible on the mirrored column.

Manolo’s exceptional vision and ability to create a visual and figurative language that is reminiscent of both the past and present have made him one of the most important Spanish artists today. This is the first time that works by the New York-based Spanish artist are exhibited in the Middle East in collaboration with Opera Gallery Dubai. The exhibition at Opera Gallery will continue until 15 April 2018.

The next phase of DIFC Art Integration programme will bring artworks to Gate Avenue at DIFC when it opens this year, offering new exhibition spaces and cultural programming. The sculptures complement the installations by English sculptor Sir Tony Cragg and Oliviero Rainaldi, an Italian sculptor and painter, already on display within DIFC’s Gate Village which attracts up to 4,000 visitors for DIFC Art Nights, an evening of art and entertainment held twice a year.

Alya Al-Zarouni, Executive Vice President of Operations at DIFC Authority, said: “DIFC is more than a leading financial centre; we have also become one of the region’s premier destinations for lifestyle, arts and culture. The Centre is home to numerous art galleries including some of the most influential in the region and offers creative programming throughout the year. Over 22,000 professionals work in DIFC and we receive many visitors per year, so we are delighted to present these exceptional sculptures for all to enjoy. It is also our honour to pay tribute to the founding father Sheikh Zayed, in celebration of the Year of Zayed, through this unique artwork”

The five sculptures by Manolo Valdés are Butterflies (2013), La Diadema (2015), La Mariposa (2015), Mariposas (2015) and Clio Dorada (2017). They depict stylised heads surrounded by butterflies or abstract shapes. Each of the sculptures weighs approximately 3.5 tons and stretches up to 12.5 metres in length.

Clio Dorada and La Mariposa were chosen to balance each other. Placed in ponds on the side of DIFC’s iconic Gate building, the business and intricacy of Clio Dorada is the opposite of the apparent simplicity of La Mariposa. Mariposas and Butterflies share the same theme and were positioned in the grass area opposite the Gate building. The choice was made to match the volumes and the architecture surrounding their environment. La Diadema was installed on a platform, offering the viewers two very different angles and interpretations. The same artwork will look totally different when seen from the street than when seen from inside DIFC.

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Press Release: DIFC Pays Tribute To Zayed As Part Of Difc’s Art Integration Programme - English
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Press Release: DIFC Pays Tribute To Zayed As Part Of Difc’s Art Integration Programme - Arabic
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DIFC is more than a leading financial centre; we have also become one of the region’s premier destinations for lifestyle, arts and culture."

Alya Al-Zarouni, Executive Vice President of Operations at DIFC Authority

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