On October 6 the Italian Cultural Institute (ICI) in Abu Dhabi opened its doors to the public, becoming the first Italian cultural center in the Gulf region. 

The inauguration of the Italian Cultural Institute in Abu Dhabi 

The Italian Cultural Institute represents the official government body for the promotion of the Italian language and culture. Located in the Al Bateen area, in Abu Dhabi, the Institute is a three-storey building featuring a multi-functional space that can host various events and activities. 

For the occasion, Nicola Lener, the Ambassador of Italy to the UAE, said: “Strengthening economic and cultural bonds between Italy and UAE is our core objective. Indeed, we have had exchanges in various fields dating back to the 60s. We are excited to share our heritage on a cultural platform, and the establishment of the Italian Cultural Institute is a testament of how the country demonstrates the value of tolerance – by embracing different cultures that compose the social fabric of the UAE“. 

Ida Zilio-Grandi, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Abu Dhabi
Ida Zilio-Grandi, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Abu Dhabi

The Italian Cultural Institute’s mission will be to promote knowledge, understanding and appreciation of Italian heritage and contemporary culture. The goal is to create a bridge between Italian and Emirati culture, strenghtening the ties between the two countries through educational and cultural events in the fields of art, music and academic literature.

The Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Abu Dhabi and expert in Islamic studies, Ida Zilio-Grandi, said: “As the Institute opens, we also open a culture of sharing with hopes to bring the people of multicultural, multi-ethnic and multilingual society closer. To do that, understanding is key because we want members of the society to develop a meaningful connection. The Institute is a platform to showcase the link between Italians and Arabs, how the rich history connects us both. What better way to understand other people’s cultures than arts?”

Fabrizio Plessi and his Digital Wall
Fabrizio Plessi and his Digital Wall

During the inauguration day, the public was welcomed by the exhibition “PLESSI’S DIGITAL WALL” by Fabrizio Plessi, the first Italian to experiment with video art.

The show features five video works on free-standing TV screens that present water as a vital element. Conveying a message of hope and happiness, the artist depicts the continuous flow of life through the water element despite conflicts and disruptions. Pushing the boundaries between art and science through digital art, Plessi seeks to humanize technology by striking a balance between man’s historical consciousness and the new technologies that occupy an increasingly important place in our daily lives.