Press Release

In collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF), New York University Abu Dhabi Institute (NYUADI) is pleased to announce the winners of The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award 2015.

The purpose of the Award is to provide young artists with a platform from which to launch their career in the arts, and to give them an experience of working on a live project for public consumption, with the support of industry professionals.

Salwa Al Khudairi and Nada Al Mulla, both studying Architecture at the American University of Sharjah, developed the winning project, entitled Keswa. The project was selected from a number of high calibre submissions for its creativity, originality and quality of production research.

Inspired by Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s interest in single colored, dynamic forms extending through a vast space and by the abaya worn by women in the Arab world, Keswa suggests a draped fabric that gives shelter while standing within itself. The concept of a straight wall that curves in both corners to provide an enclosed area of seating in a public space was motivated by the idea that abayas are to women what fabric is to buildings. Keswa’s outside is rhythmic, while its inside reveals the hidden characteristics holding up the structure.

ADMAF Founder H.E. Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo said: “In just three years since its launch, The Christo & Jeanne-Claude Award has not only generated a fascinating body of work that responds on a multitude of levels to the UAE environment, but it has also allowed extraordinary young talent to walk the path of a professional artist. I am delighted to sit on the Award committee, which has chosen Keswa by Salwa Al Khudairi and Nada Al Mulla. The American University of Sharjah, like New York University Abu Dhabi, possesses an outstanding reputation for nurturing the artistic ability and intellectual potential of young people. I commend these institutions and the artists alike for their spirit of ambition, innovation and creativity.”

Salwa Al Khudairi said: “Receiving The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award is an honor, as it allows us, through our work, to share a piece of ourselves with the artist as well as with the public.”

Nada Al Mulla said: “This has been an incredible opportunity for us to challenge our limits. Throughout the creative process we faced difficulties that only served to bolster our determination. This is, hopefully, only the beginning of our journey."

NYUAD Institute Vice Provost for Intellectual and Cultural Outreach Reindert Falkenburg said: "NYUAD Institute is extremely proud that the partnership between Christo and Jeanne-Claude, ADMAF, and NYUAD Institute has yielded such high quality proposals for The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award from truly gifted university students and graduates in the UAE. This year's winning submission from two talented American University of Sharjah students exemplifies this high standard we have come to expect for The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award applicants, and we are confident that the standard of quality will only increase in the coming years."

The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award, which accepts proposals for public art pieces from UAE-based undergraduate students and those who have graduated in the last five years, is designed to encourage and celebrate the creation of new artwork in the United Arab Emirates.

The winning work will be unveiled at the NYUAD campus in March 2015 during the Abu Dhabi Festival, and will later tour a number of locations throughout the UAE.

About the NYUAD Institute
The NYUAD Institute hosts academic conferences, workshops, lectures, film series, performances, and other public programs directed both to local audiences and to the worldwide academic and research communities. It is a center of the scholarly community for Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, and the Gulf, bringing together faculty and students from institutions of higher learning throughout the region. Visit http://nyuad.nyu.edu/en/research/nyuad-institute.html

About Christo and Jeanne-Claude
For half a century, internationally acclaimed artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude have created highly celebrated works of art around the world. Together, they changed the concept of “public art” by creating temporary works that are truly transitory by design. Jeanne-Claude passed away in November 2009, but Christo continues with their work on Over The River, as well as other projects.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude have never accepted any subsidies, royalties, grants, or sponsorships. They fund all of their temporary public works, and the artists’ income is derived from the sale of original works of art by Christo to museums, galleries, and private collectors. For more information, visit www.christojeanneclaude.net

About ADMAF
The Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation seeks to nurture the arts, education, culture, and creativity for the benefit of society and the advancement of Abu Dhabi’s cultural vision. Established in 1996 by Her Excellency Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, the Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation under the presidency and patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth & Community Development.
ADMAF’s broad programme of initiatives and events — including the Abu Dhabi Festival among many others — brings together audiences of all ages and nationalities. Through its educational and community programs, it nurtures the creative talent of the UAE and beyond, in partnership with leading national and international institutions. Visit www.admaf.org