We might still be getting over how incredible and deeply moving the opening ceremony was, but the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi has another surprise for us.
Six internationally renowned artists have been commissioned to create a series of artworks designed to celebrate the lasting legacy of the games.
The pieces have just been unveiled at Manarat Al Saadiyat and they will form part of the permanent exhibition in the newly created Special Olympics Garden.
This area is designed to be a lasting reminder of the message of unity and inclusion that the World Games promotes across the region, and it will be open for the public to explore.
Tala Al Ramahi, chief strategy officer for the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 said: “Our aim is for the World Games to act as a catalyst for change, raising awareness of what people of determination can achieve and changing perceptions in society.
“It is vital that the legacy of the Games lives on long after the sports competitions have ended, ensuring inclusion and unity becomes a feature of everybody’s day to day lives.
“These public artworks will be a permanent reminder of the importance of the Special Olympics message, ensuring generations to come benefit from the legacy of hosting these global Games in the Middle East for the very first time.”
The works include a wall mural made of ceramic tiles by Paris-based artist Etel Adnan, a sculpture of two figures holding the Olympic Torch by Korean artist Noh Jun and a mirrored bridge crossing over a stainless-steel lake by Mehmet Ali Uysal.
Wael Shawky is another celebrated artist who created a carved wooden wall for the site. Talking about the importance of the commemoration site he said: “The joy in Special Olympics is that everyone who participates is already a victor. Every single participant, in choosing to be part of the Games or part of the community behind the Games, conquers challenges, defines how their battles are framed, whilst recognising they are part of a far greater story - one of human determination, progression and bravery.”
Artists Pascale Marthine Tayou and Nadim Karam have also contributed an artwork each.
In addition to the pieces themselves, the artists will support the games by running a series of art workshops for people of determination.
We think it sounds like a great idea.
Free. Daily 9am-8pm. Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island, www.manaratalsaadiyat.ae.