Lonely Planet Writer

Louvre Abu Dhabi launches a drive-by art gallery on the highway to Dubai

The drive along E11/Sheikh Zayed Road between Abu Dhabi and Dubai has just become a whole lot more interesting now that a drive-by art gallery has popped up there. Courtesy of Louvre Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Media, the Highway Gallery has launched on billboards along the busy highway in celebration of the UAE Innovation Month.

Louvre Abu Dhabi has launched a billboard gallery that spans 100km of the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway. Image by Louvre Abu Dhabi

The 9 x 6 metre billboards show artworks from Louvre Abu Dhabi at 10km intervals on the E11 road. How it works is that cars pass a trigger a few metres before they encounter the billboard. If the car radio is tuned to any of the three radio stations partnering on the project – Radio 1 FM (100.5 FM), Classic FM (91.6 FM) or Emarat FM (95.8 FM) – a 30-second audio explanation on the artwork written by Louvre Abu Dhabi curators plays on the radio. This includes the piece’s title, artist, technique, context and description.

The Highway Gallery art initiative is part of the Department of Culture and Tourism and Louvre Abu Dhabi’s wider programme to increase cultural engagement in the Emirate and build an audience for art. It aims to bring local audiences and residents into the museum, and also to reinforce art’s role in elevating everyday life into something beautiful and memorable. Those behind it also feel that the initiative is entertaining and educating for the driver, and for children if they’re in the car. The artworks on display include Vincent Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait 1887 and La Belle Ferronniere (1495­-1499), the first work by Leonardo da Vinci ever shown in the Emirates.

The Highway Gallery runs until mid-March, and can be seen when driving from Dubai to Abu Dhabi on the E11/Sheikh Zayed Road. For further information, see here.