A Pause for Reflection: The Founder’s Memorial

Updated: Aug 7, 2019


The opening of the Founder’s Memorial — a permanent tribute to the centenary of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan — coincides with 2018 being named the Year of Zayed, and the cultural landmark must be added to one’s Abu Dhabi itinerary.



Illuminated by more than 2,000 lights, the suspended shapes of The Constellation shine like stars at night. The celestial display evokes the timelessness of Sheikh Zayed’s vision, which continues to offer the UAE a guiding light along a path of progress and prosperity.

The artwork weighs 250 tonnes and consists of 1,327 geometric shapes suspended from 1,110 cables. These constitute five different types of regular, convex polyhedrons known as ‘platonic solids’, shapes which are renowned for their mathematical beauty and symmetry.

The artwork was conceptualised and designed by public artist Ralph Helmick, whose practice explores human perception through large-scale public installations that invite optical discovery.


The artwork’s reflected points of light form a series of profiles of Sheikh Zayed that vary when viewed from different perspectives both within the memorial’s landscape and from outside along the Corniche.


The memorial’s Welcome Centre provides an insightful multimedia experience enabling visitors to explore Emirati heritage by engaging with Sheikh Zayed’s legacy through rare footage, personal stories from people that knew him, and the voice of the late leader himself.


Yalla highly recommends that visitors take a free guided tour led by UAE nationals to have a more enriching encounter with artwork.


The memorial is free to the public and is located near Emirates Palace on the Corniche breakwater road. It will be open daily from 9am to 10pm. Public parking is available along 18th street. For more information, visit www.thefoundersmemorial.ae and

@FounderMemorial on Facebook and Instagram.

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