Under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, NYU Abu Dhabi, in partnership with Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF), has announced American University of Sharjah (AUS) students Falwah Alhouti, Ibrahim Abdellatif, and Omer Al Raee as the winners of the seventh edition of The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award 2019.
Their winning submission, Sila - an Arabic term that translates to “link” or “connection” – will be unveiled at NYU Abu Dhabi in November, and will then tour other locations. The winners have been awarded $10,000 to complete their installation, and will be working closely with museum professionals from the NYUAD Art Gallery as well as their mentor Assistant Professor, Architecture department at AUS Juan Roldán Martín.
The installation takes its inspiration from the characteristic of “unity” in the UAE’s folkloric dance, Al-Ayyalah, a combination of poetry, drum music, and simple movements. Separated into two rows facing one another just like the dance itself, the installation will be made up of units with varying heights to highlight the diversity of movement. The dynamic quality of the installation is embodied through how these units are interacting with each other and as a group, illustrating their unity. To accentuate the dramatic effect, black and white were selected due to the stillness and motion they create when laid over each other.
Members of this year’s selection committee included Founder of ADMAF H.E. Huda Ibrahim Alkhamis, NYUAD Provost Fabio Piano, Director of Abu Dhabi Art Dyala Nusseibeh, artist Azza Al Qubaisi, and guest juror Claudia Cellini, co-founder of the Third Line gallery.
Once again we have seen exceptional and diverse submissions to the Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award. Sila is a perfect example of the innovation of young Emirati artists who continue to be inspired by our culture, being a striking visual representation of Emirati traditions of dance and music. ADMAF is proud to support emerging artists and present their work to the nation. We remain steadfast in our commitment to invest in the youth and the partnership we have with Christo and New York University Abu Dhabi. Together we look forward to nurturing and supporting many more young artists in the future.
The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award enables young artists to explore the potential of developing and exhibiting public art. NYU Abu Dhabi has been a partner in this Award from its inception, and it is a great honor for us to contribute to the broader artistic dialogue in the UAE, and to offer a platform for aspiring artists to share their ideas and their talents with the local community. I offer my enthusiastic congratulations to the winning team on their unique proposal, and look forward to seeing it come to life in a dynamic installation to be unveiled on our campus later this year.
It was inspiring to hear the shortlisted applicants present their proposals for The Christo and Jean-Claude Award this year. All showed a close connection to the land, nature, and cultural heritage, and had thought through narrative and design with technical flair and imagination. The winning proposal celebrates the Al-Ayyalah dance in material form. The poetry of the performance is perfectly captured in the immersive simplicity of the work. I absolutely loved the concept and found its joyful nature particularly apt for the prize.
Open to UAE-based students and recent graduates, The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award was established to encourage the creation of new artwork in the UAE, acting as a launch pad for visual artists across the Emirates and offering winners an insight into professional life as an artist from commission to exhibition. For more information about the award, please visit this link.