Weather :

Timings : 09:00 AM to 08:00 PM, daily; Art Studio - 09:00 AM to 08:00 PM (Sunday to Thursday), 10:00 AM to 08:00 PM (Friday and Saturday). The last admission is 07:00 PM on all days

Time Required : 1 - 2 hrs

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Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi Overview

Set in the Saadiyat Cultural District of Abu Dhabi, the Manarat Al Saadiyat portrays the local, regional and international artistic and cultural expression. One can explore and discover famous collections from global creators, as well as important cultural exhibits from local communities.

Established in 2009, the Manarat Al Saadiyat was the first development on the Saadiyat Island and in the Saadiyat Cultural District. It acts as a visitor centre to those visiting the cultural district and as a passageway to some of the most famous museums based here, including the Zayed National Museum, the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the upcoming Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.

Translating to ‘the Place of Enlightenment’ from Arabic, this art and culture centre is known for its art exhibitions, featuring collections from world over. The 15,400 square metres of space includes three galleries, which host temporary and permanent art exhibitions. The fourth space comprises the Manarat Al Saadiyat’s Art Studio. The centre is also home to an events space, a photography studio, an atrium, an auditorium, a garden, a terrace area and an in-house dining venue.

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Cultural Significance

Manarat Al Saadiyat is the ideal place to view, appreciate and create works of art. One can visit any of the ongoing exhibitions, attend a workshop, catch a movie, engage in conversation or even enjoy a meal at the centre.

The Manarat Al Saadiyat, as an art platform with modern and contemporary programmes, supports the efforts of local initiatives from within the country, as well as innovative ideas from various parts of the world. It aims to promote art, creativity and diversity in the community, as well as create an awareness and understanding of the art and culture of the region.
 Site of the Abu Dhabi Art since 2011

It has also been the site of the Abu Dhabi Art show since its conception in November 2011. Abu Dhabi Art brings together art connoisseurs and artists everywhere for a unique version of an art fair, with quality artwork from across the globe. The annual event begins in Abu Dhabi in November, and moves on to other locations throughout the year. It consists of exhibitions, performance, talks, presentations, panels and various other events, displayed to an audience of over 20,000 people.

Workshops and Exhibitions

The Manarat Al Saadiyat is the venue for a number of workshops and exhibitions organised throughout the year, as well as unique events such as comedy nights, sky-gazing and yoga classes. It has held over 15 diverse exhibitions over the years, such as Treasures of the World’s Cultures, Eco Future, The Birth of a Museum, Emirati Expressions, Comic Craze and the Emirates Photography Exhibition.

The Manarat Al Saadiyat had its first ever exhibition, the Disorientation II: The Rise and Fall of Arab Cities, from November 2009 to March 2010. It displayed a collection of work from various Middle Eastern countries and focused on a number of important issues pertaining to Arab cities.
The ‘Emirate Expressions’ exhibition, 2016

The cultural hub is also home to the 1,500 square metres Saadiyat Experience Centre, one of its permanent exhibitions, which highlight the growth and development of the Saadiyat Island in the city. Emphasising on the past, present and future of the Saadiyat Island, the Saadiyat Story is a nine chapter long visual, user-friendly experience.

Movie buffs can attend free screenings at the MAS Films by Cinema Space, and discover the classics, contemporaries and family favourites of world cinema. RSVP is mandatory, due to limited seating. Details of upcoming programs can be found online, on

Art Studio

Manarat Al Saadiyat offers an art space called the Art Studio, with the objective of providing classes, courses, workshops and initiatives related to art and creation, for children, adults and families. This dedicated space was started in 2010 and allows people to create art individually or in collaboration with others, and helps them understand the transformative power of art.

It offers a range of workshops for people of all ages, focusing on various techniques and styles. These include drawing, painting, print-making, sculpture-making and more, offered at fixed timings during the week, with separate classes for different age groups.
Art Studio

One can register for the workshops by phone, email or on the Manarat Al Saadiyat website. The cost per person to attend a workshop is AED 100 for adults, AED 75 for teens and juniors and AED 50 for children. The cost is inclusive of the materials required.

Visitors can also design and create at the Drop-In Studio, where they can create at their own pace for up to 2 hours. With the guidance of art instructors, they can experiment with art activity and take their work home.

The cost per person to attend a workshop is AED 50 for adults and AED 30 for teens, juniors and children. The cost is inclusive of the basic materials required, however additional materials such as a canvas and speciality supplies can be bought from the supply store, Art Central. Signing up in advance for the Drop-In Studio is not required; one can simply sign up at the reception desk upon arrival. Children aged 8 years and below must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

The Art Studio also offers a residency programme for teaching artists, known as Art Works. It was started in 2013, to develop a class of artists who can work in museums, schools and art centres. The program identifies recent graduates having commendable skills in art and an interest in teaching as a career, and provides them with an opportunity to intern or work for them. The emerging artists are given a chance to meet and work with a number of experienced teaching artists.

Children above the age of 5 years can be left to work in the Art Studio with the supervision of the staff, but parents or guardians must remain close by in the Manarat Al Saadiyat premises. There is a dedicated space for adults to create their own artwork, or relax and have a cup of coffee or read a book. However, the centre encourages parents to work alongside their children.

Photography Studio

The fully-equipped photography space at Manarat Al Saadiyat was developed with the aim of developing and enhancing the talent in photography. This will allow budding and amateur photographers to enhance their skills and learn the latest techniques of the medium. It also includes initiatives to hold specialised workshops and training programs conducted by professionals in the field, as well as photography exhibitions for artists in the country.

Dining Experience

Fanr Restaurant
The in-house restaurant at Manarat Al Saadiyat is the L’Arte, an Italian hospitality experience, complete with cakes, desserts and a kids’ menu. The concept restaurant combines Italian food with art and design in its menu, with favourites such as the famous coffee from Illy Cafe.

Other Services and Facilities

Manarat Al Saadiyat offers planning services for parties and corporate events. Party planning includes art materials and cake and catering services done by the in-house restaurant, L’Arte. Corporate team-building activities for a corporate retreat can also be organised, which involve a creative escape from the usual ways of thinking and learning. Bookings for planning parties or corporate events can be made by phone or via e-mail.

Manarat Al Saadiyat features an outdoor space and terrace, which can be the ideal location for a number of functions and programs, such as outdoor dining, yoga classes or corporate events. It also allows one to rent out spaces available in the Manarat Al Saadiyat for various events. However, these external event requests are subject to approval, after sharing details regarding the event, audience and the space to be rented out.

How To Reach Manarat Al Saadiyat

The Manarat Al Saadiyat is situated in the Saadiyat Cultural District in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It is located near the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and the Zayed National Museum. One can get here by car or taxi. If one is coming from Abu Dhabi, drive from the Mina Port area, following the signs for Yas Island, and take the Sheikh Khalifa bridge going to Saadiyat Island. From Sheikh Khalifa Highway E12, follow the road signs pointing to Manarat Al Saadiyat.

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