Under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), in partnership with Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF), unveiled the winning submission of the tenth edition of The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award 2022 at Abu Dhabi Art for the first time.
Urban Fabric is a series of four sculptures resembling pieces of thread, conceptualized and built by NYUAD sophomore undergraduate students Roudhah Al Mazrouei, an Emirati national, Gerald Jason Cruz from the Philippines, and Jennifer Tsai from Taiwan. These forms are intertwined and interlaced into the ground, turning the physical environment around the art piece into a canvas that the thread is woven into, linking each piece together.
In attendance at the unveiling were the UAE Minister of Culture and Youth HE Noura Al Kaabi, France's Minister of Culture Rima Abdul Malak, Chairman of Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) Abu Dhabi HE Mohamed Al Mubarak, His Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador to the UAE Patrick Moody, Spanish Ambassador to the UAE Iñigo de Palacio, Founder of ADMAF HE Huda I. Alkhamis-Kanoo, NYUAD Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann, Director of the Award Emily Doherty, Christo’s Director of Operations and nephew Vladimir Yavachef, Executive Director of Culture at DCT Abu Dhabi Rita Aoun-Abdo, Abu Dhabi Art Director Dyala Nusseibeh, Executive Director of The NYUAD Art Gallery and the University’s Chief Curator Maya Allison, and along with the winning artists, among others.
HE Alkhamis-Kanoo said: “The Christo & Jeanne-Claude Award provides an exceptional platform for the UAE’s young artists to exhibit their work, reflecting ADMAF’s commitment to nurturing creativity and innovation among the nation’s youth. We are delighted to have this year’s winning submission, Urban Fabric, by NYUAD students Roudhah Al Mazrouei, Jason Cruz and Jennifer Tsai be unveiled for the first time at Abu Dhabi Art where it will reach a vast audience at what is set to be the annual fair’s largest and most diverse edition yet. The thought-provoking work represents connection, diversity, and the inclusive nature of our beloved city and we are pleased to have partnered with NYU Abu Dhabi once more to help bring the unique project to life.”
Allison said: “Producing a work of public art requires creativity, inspiration, intuition, and initiative. We have witnessed these traits throughout the years in the work of Christo awardees we have mentored. At this moment, as we ease out of the pandemic, it’s delightful to see a work that so brightly and playfully embodies the idea of our interconnectedness. Celebrating this interconnectedness is part of the decision to unveil the artwork at Abu Dhabi Art, our neighbors and colleagues in the Abu Dhabi arts community. It is a testament to our commitment towards actively supporting the dynamic art ecosystem in the UAE.”
Doherty added: “Christo and Jeanne-Claude created highly celebrated works of art around the world, changing the concept of ‘public art’ by creating temporary works that were transitory by design. This year, the winning young artists have the rare opportunity to unveil their work at one of the region’s leading art fairs for the first time, and it is so rewarding to see UAE aspiring artists showcasing their art pieces in the true spirit of Christo and Jeanne- Claude’s legacy, with a public art installation that can be enjoyed by the wider community in the UAE and beyond.”
The installation was designed in a way that encourages interaction in order to create a dynamic and thought-provoking space. After Abu Dhabi Art, Urban Fabric will move to NYU Abu Dhabi, followed by Umm Al Emarat Park in Abu Dhabi.
Produced annually since 2013, in collaboration with The NYUAD Art Gallery, The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award serves as a launch pad for artists across the Emirates, encouraging new artwork and offering winners insight into professional life as an artist, from commission to exhibition. The program is open to UAE-based students and recent graduates.