Inaugural David Webb Museum Fellowship Announced

NYUAD alumna Tala Nassar has been selected as the first David Webb Museum Fellow

Press Release

The NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Art Gallery, the University’s academic-museum gallery, together with David Webb New York, the legendary New York-based fine jewelry House, have announced the David Webb Museum Fellowship. NYUAD alumna Tala Nassar has been selected as the inaugural David Webb Museum Fellow.

The rotating curatorial fellowship has been designed exclusively for NYUAD alumni who have bilingual literacy in Arabic. The fellow will be paired with the University’s Curatorial and Education departments, preparing them to embark on a career in museums. It is aimed at building capacity for the UAE and GCC, attracting new Arab talent to the museum field. 

In her role, Nassar will be assisting The NYUAD Art Gallery’s curatorial team in integrating the exhibitions and public programming of the Gallery into the academic and intellectual life of the University and the artistic community of Abu Dhabi and beyond. Furthermore, she will be working with a wide range of scholars and faculty at NYUAD on the development and execution of exhibitions that pertain to their extensive research areas, both at the main gallery space and its auxiliary venue, the Project Space, further bolstering the Gallery’s mission as a teaching museum.


“It is my treasured hope that this new fellowship will aid in giving rise to a generation of scholars and curators who will continue to write the histories of the Arab-language-speaking worlds. David Webb, with its long history of innovation and artistry in the field of jewelry, offers an ideal partner on this fellowship: both as a company rooted in New York (where our institution originated) and -- as demonstrated by this gift -- deeply committed to the Gulf as a site of meaningful cultural dialogue."

Executive Director of The NYUAD Art Gallery and the University’s Chief Curator Maya Allison

“Like much work in the museum field, curating is ultimately a skill one must learn by doing: it requires apprenticeship. In turn, the senior curator has a great deal to gain from working with the fresh perspective of an emerging curator-in-training. I know from my work on art histories of the UAE that language is a critical skill for the deeper development of art historical and curatorial practice: without it we cannot hope to tell the more nuanced Arab art histories. We have David Webb, and our University’s commitment to the arts, to thank for making possible this cornerstone in the growth of curatorial practice here,” Allison adds.

From L to R: General Manager at David Webb Prema O'Grady; Co-owner of David Webb Mark Emanuel; Executive Director of The NYUAD Art Gallery Maya Allison; and David Webb Museum Fellow Tala Nassar.

“Among the primary influences in David Webb’s life were artifacts of the ancient world, which he discovered on his weekly trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. We see the fostering of museum curatorial practice in the region as a continuation of that creative legacy. The relationships we have forged in the UAE and the GCC are immensely important to us. We are delighted and grateful to have the opportunity to support young talent in the region through this partnership with The NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery.”

Co-owner of David Webb New York Mark Emanuel
Diana Al-Hadid: Phantom Limb, March 6–May 28, 2016, Curated by Maya Allison. Photos: John Varghese

The NYUAD Art Gallery, the University’s academic museum-gallery, presents work by internationally-established artists, curators, and scholars, to serve the intellectual and creative dialogue with students and the wider community, via topics of regional relevance and international significance. The main gallery space is a teaching museum, connecting the curriculum and the public. The Project Space, the Gallery’s auxiliary venue housed within The Arts Center, is an exhibition laboratory for community artists.

For more than 70 years, David Webb has been the quintessential American jeweler of highly original, modern jewelry. Best known for distinctive carved and enameled animal bracelets, dramatic gold necklaces, colorful sautoirs, dynamic use of pearls and diamonds, and exquisite rock crystal pieces. David Webb is one of the America’s most important, distinguished jewelers. All of the jewelry is handcrafted on the premises in New York on the famed Madison Avenue.

Born in Amman, Jordan, Nassar earned her BA in Art and Art History from NYUAD in 2019. During her time as an undergraduate, she served as a curatorial researcher to Allison, for whom she conducted Arabic language research for the exhibition The Cultural Foundation: The Early Years (2018). She also curated the exhibition Al Tariqah (Sama Alshaibi, 2019) at The NYUAD Institute, which was held in conjunction with the conference Women in Migration II. She has since worked as a Research Assistant to Arab art historian and NYUAD Associate Professor Practice of Art History Salwa Mikdadi on the Center for the Study of Art from the Arab World project, as well as conducted research for the paper titled Women and Abstraction in the Arab World after World War II. 

About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective undergraduate curriculum across the disciplines with a world center for advanced research and scholarship. The university enables its students in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and arts to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from over 115 countries and speak over 115 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.