In the cool air, sheltered from the heat of the desert outside, three mothers each cradle a child to their breast. Ancient Egyptian, medieval French and 19th-century African, they're from different cultures and epochs, yet their shared humanity is clear. Article by Financial Review

The three statuettes are the first thing visitors see as they embark on their journey through the Louvre Abu Dhabi. They encapsulate the universal philosophy behind this $A2.6 billion museum, which comes with a commensurate wealth of expectations.

Jean-Luc Martinez, director of the parent Louvre in Paris, calls it "the most important cultural project of the 21st century", and "an antidote to the poison of hatred and barbarism".

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi's ruling Al Nahyan family say the project will help the capital of the United Arab Emirates transition into a cultural hub, diversifying the economy and reducing its reliance on oil.

Initial signs are promising: with a growth rate of 18.9 per cent, Abu Dhabi is the fourth fastest-growing destination in the world for international overnight arrivals, as reported by the Mastercard Destination Cities Index 2017.

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