Celebration via art: 50 years of diplomatic relations between the UAE & Germany

The Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Dubai recently announced the launch of a new cultural project this year, which aims to further intensify relations between the two countries

(L-R) Petra Kaltenbach, UAE-based German artist & curator with Sybille Pfaff, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Dubai

The UAE and Germany, a relationship between two countries that at first sight seemingly could not be more different; starting with the climate, the size of the country, the culture, the religion, the different forms of government, and also, the common history of the two countries is also still very young. In 2004, the UAE and Germany signed a strategic partnership, which was updated and upgraded during H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan's visit to Berlin in 2019 and further enhanced by Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz‘ recent visit to Abu Dhabi in September 2022. Germany celebrates German Unity Day to commemorate German reunification in 1990. Both countries live the unification, the German missions in the UAE even dedicated this year’s German Unity Day to the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations with the UAE. And over the past 50 years, Germany and the UAE have developed a solid partnership based on shared values and similar interests.

  • Re-inventing, the artwork represents a friendship like the one between the two countries, where keeps reinventing to explore new impulses through newer ideas

  • The Unity of Us, this artwork shows the wonderful ongoing movement that keeps a relationship alive and the balance that a good relationship has among equal partners

  • Everything Flows, the artwork is about the liveliness caused by mutual inspiration

It’s an honour and pleasure that the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Dubai has offered me to use my creativity on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Petra Kaltenbach, a UAE-based German artist and curator

The Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Dubai recently announced the launch of a new cultural project this year, which aims to further intensify relations between the two countries, with the help of Petra Kaltenbach, a UAE-based German multi-award-winning artist and curator, whose artworks are based on the idea of transformation and the idea of what defines a partnership. “The WE project means reaching goals and ideals together, experiencing developments together — a common route that intensifies over time and brings forth more fruits. A common route means approaching, exchanging, changing one's own views, and developing new perspectives. All this is transformation. And the closer you get to each other, the more you master common challenges, the more you transform and the stronger the WE become,” she said.

The aim of this art project is to reach out to people in all seven emirates of the UAE, to further build bridges between the two countries by creating a continuous network of relations.

Sybille Pfaff, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Dubai

When two parties build a relationship and pursue a common goal then a web of relationships emerges and over time a transformation from ME to WE results. It’s this guiding thought that is the basis of the celebration of the 50 years of diplomatic relations between the UAE and Germany. “In the best case, a unity emerges. The ME and the WE are not so different, and yet one must rotate on its axis before making the step from ME to WE. This is a symbol of the tireless efforts partners make to live a harmonious relationship,” said Petra. She ran us through a few of the artworks. For instance, the work titled Exchange reflects a good partnership in the form of values, thoughts, ideas, projects, data, etc. "Think of zoom calls or emails, indispensable media in an international partnership,” she said.

This piece was first published in Khaleej Times.

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