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Friday, June 2, 2023

’50 Years of Cool’: Unique show explores UAE’s air conditioning history

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi is hosting its first visual art exhibition showcasing the cultural impact of air conditioning in the UAE’s first 50 years of statehood.

Zaki Nusseibeh, cultural advisor to the UAE President and rector of UAE universities, recently officially inaugurated the exhibition, which examines the development of cooling methods in the country. Akio Isomata, Japanese Ambassador to the UAE, was also present at the opening ceremony.

Titled 50 Years of Cool, the show explores the emergence of air conditioning through the lens of four Emirati artists. Organized by Taqeef and O General, companies that were the first to provide cooling systems in desert environments, the exhibition was held at MiZa, an up-and-coming creative district in Abu Dhabi’s historic Mina Zayed Centre.

The show will welcome visitors until March 9th from 10am to 10pm. Admission is free for all visitors.

“Art and culture play a vital role in expressing and reinforcing the values ​​of kindness, tolerance, understanding and working together. Over the past 50 years, the UAE has had many remarkable achievements and collaborations, such as the one we are celebrating [at the show] The relationship between Japan and the UAE has played a pivotal role in this. Collaboration makes both societies and individuals stronger and can gain a wealth of knowledge from each other,” Nusseibeh said.

Through photography, moving images, and annotated portraits, the exhibition invites viewers to reflect on the transformative impact of air conditioning on the quality of life and, among other things, the fabric of the urban landscape. This evolution of air-conditioning forms a current of dialogue with the history of organized migration and economic development in the Gulf region, which laid the foundation for the UAE’s journey to industrialization.

“In 1973, Taqeef partnered with Fujitsu General to introduce air conditioning to the country. The technology was unique at the time, changing the way homes and offices were built and, in turn, the way people lived. This exhibition is captivating and thought-provoking Taqeef is redefining the role of air conditioning as a catalyst for a major paradigm shift in countries, people and their daily lives. “It takes visitors on a nostalgic and fascinating journey to learn about The role of this humble air conditioner in the UAE, past and present. “

within the frame

Featured works include Hussain Al Moosawi’s grid of photographs that capture the different types of air-conditioning systems in the UAE, highlighting their presence in the architecture of UAE cities and the daily lives of residents. A collage of personal oral histories and visuals, an experiential short film by Fatema Al Fardan weaves together poetic interpretations of the before and after effects of modern air conditioning, showing first-hand accounts of how it has revolutionized the way people live and work.

Ahmed Al Kuwaiti’s series of photographs bear witness to the intricate relationship between buildings, people and air-conditioning systems that make the UAE’s urban environment habitable even in the scorching heat. Plus, Augustine Paredes’ poignant portraits of O General’s employees, technicians, and longtime customers offer a glimpse into the impact of the local air-conditioning industry on humans on the ground.

“We are honored that O General is firmly rooted in the cultural fabric of the region and has maintained its market leadership since its inception. We are steadfast in supporting the growth and development of the UAE over the next 50 years, aligning our technology and products with the in line with China’s net-zero emissions target by 2050,” said Etsuro Saito, President and CEO of Fujitsu General Co., Ltd.

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