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UAE National Day show designed by Rolling Stones concert creator

Words by Rob Chilton

Musical mastermind coordinates a live broadcast on December 2

Millions of people will witness the majesty of the UAE’s mangrove forest during a special National Day broadcast designed by a visual artist who has worked with the biggest names in music.

Es Devlin is a British stage designer who has created jaw-dropping stage shows for the Rolling Stones, Kanye West, Jay-Z, U2, Stormzy, Adele, Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga. Along with a team of Emiratis, she has devised a spectacle that’s inspired by the saltwater forests of the UAE.

The mangroves forests stretch along the UAE coastline

Showing live in Abu Dhabi on December 2 and simultaneously beamed to people at home, Seeds of the Union will mark the UAE’s 49th National Day with themes of hope, optimism and unity. The visual extravaganza will “reflect the UAE’s natural environment, history, values and hopes” according to organising committee member Khalfan Al Mazrouei.

Devlin created the Rolling Stones gig in London's Hyde Park in 2013

For many Emiratis, the mangroves represent the stunning growth of the country from its birth in 1971. In the decade that followed the country's inception, huge mangrove plantation programmes were implemented by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE.

Mangroves protect the coastline from erosion

Now flourishing along large stretches of the UAE coastline, the mangroves are home to many species of birds and fish and act as an aquatic playground for tourism and water sports, especially kayaking. Mangroves also protect the coastline from erosion and aid the environment by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Kanye West and Jay-Z perform their Watch the Throne concert

Details of the show’s storyline are top secret but, judging by Devlin’s impressive body of work, Seeds of the Union will perhaps feature a dazzling light show and giant image projections, as has been seen in the numerous large-scale rock and pop concerts she has designed to great acclaim.

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