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Press release

In celebration of International Museum Day, Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation is set to launch ‘Toys and Treasures¬¬ - Toy Box to Treasure Chest: The Art of Collecting’, a unique exhibition of memorabilia and treasured items at Ghaf Gallery on May 29, 2013

Toys & Treasures: Collection by Olujimi Osho 26th May 2013

ADMAF delights Abu Dhabi community with ‘Toys and Treasures - Toy Box to Treasure Chest: The Art of Collecting’ exhibition

Under the patronage His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF) joins the worldwide museum community in celebrating International Museum Day this May, with ‘Toys and Treasures - Toy Box to Treasure Chest: The Art of Collecting’, a fascinating exhibition designed to inspire young people to start their own collections.

Inspired by this year’s International Museum Day theme, Museums (memory + creativity) = social change, the exhibition ‘Toys and Treasures – Toy Box to Treasure Chest: The Art of Collecting’ looks to shine a light on the creativity and vitality of the museum sector as well as bring to the spotlight a number of collectors. ADMAF invites audiences across the UAE, both young and old, to delve into the wonderful worlds of seven private collections from the UK and across the UAE and discover how they too can become art curators, collectors, and guardians of history. 

One of the highlights of the exhibition, curated by Trevor Kweku Blackwood, is the private collection of Olujimi Osho. Normally based in London, the Osho Collection has been selected as it advocates the philosophy ‘art for social change’. Trevor has been influential in enabling Osho to share his eclectic collection that reveals his personal journey of self-discovery. Fostered as a child, Osho found solace through the toys he explored and played with. As he moved towards adulthood, he discovered a passion for objects, striving to make sense of the world and reconnecting to his cultural identity by collecting objects that he valued. These treasured items are now used to teach others through interactive workshops in schools in home town of London.

Irina Kohn, a puppeteer from St Petersburg, Russia now based in Abu Dhabi , Zayed Al Abisi, with a selection of his Swiss watches treasure, and  Mohammed Abdul Latif Kanoo, an avid collector of trains, planes and automobiles, will also be featured in ‘Toys and Treasures’.

The exhibition will open on May 29 at Ghaf Gallery and continues until June 19. From spinners to scooters, barbies to buses and puppets to postcards, visitors will explore an array of toys and treasures that weave personal stories and represent individual collectors’ passions, as well as desires to connect to their respective cultural heritage.

H.E. Hoda Al Khamis Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation commented on the occasion: “Museums have a valuable place in society by their unique ability to preserve culture as well as cultivate the creativity necessary to see future generations flourish. This exhibition is a fascinating journey designed to inspire audiences to connect with their own heritage, to start their own collections and understand the similarities and differences in the world of collection and curation.”

This exhibition marks the culmination of a series of workshops for teachers and students held in partnership with Sharjah Art Foundation and Sharjah Museums at Sheikh Zayed Academy for Girls, Al Shohub School, and the Glenelg Schools for boys and girls. These sessions have enabled educational professionals and pupils alike to understand the concept and process of museum curation. A selection of student collections are featured as part of the exhibition, which also includes collections of puppets, watches and model cars and airplanes loaned by local residents.

To complement the exhibition, a series of performances and workshops for children will run throughout the exhibition.  From puppet performances of Middle Eastern folk tales, to sock puppet workshops and trivia games, the events are designed to reveal the history, memories and the value of toys and treasured possessions and illustrate the detail and diverse content of the objects.

To further highlight the role of museums in serving and nurturing society, ADMAF will organise school visits to the acclaimed ‘Birth of a Museum’ exhibition at Manarat Al Saadiyat. In addition, the children of Dar Zayed in Al Ain visited Sharjah Aquarium in partnership with Sharjah Museums as well as Al Ain Palace Museum, as part of an annual ADMAF initiative that enables orphans to develop their creativity and cultural identity. 

'Toys and Treasures - Toy Box to Treasure Chest: The Art of Collecting' is a free to attend exhibition hosted at Ghaf Art Gallery, Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street, Abu Dhabi, from Wednesday May 29 until Wednesday June 19. Opening hours are Sunday-Thursday 10am-2pm, 4pm-8pm; Saturday 10am-8pm. Ladies Night is on 4 June from 4-8pm.


Performances & Workshops

Free admission. To register, email

1 June, 11am-12pm: Sock Puppet Workshop (for 5-8 years)

1 June, 4-5pm: ‘Aladdin’ by Golden Fox Puppet Theatre

8 June, 10am-2.30pm: Puppet Workshop (for 9-12 years)

8 June, 3-4pm: ‘Aladdin’ by Golden Fox Puppet Theatre

15 June, 11am-1pm: ‘Aladdin’ by Golden Fox Puppet Theatre, with trivia quiz & meet the puppets

15 June, 3pm-5pm: ‘Sinbad the Sailor’ by Golden Fox Puppet Theatre, with trivia quiz & meet the puppets