To coincide with COP28 and the Year of Sustainability, Blane De St. Croix: Horizon, an exhibition inspired by the artist’s study of the UAE environment, has opened to the public at The NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Art Gallery. The artist has unveiled several major new works and sculpture series, which respond to the UAE landscape.
This exhibition is the result of Blane De St. Croix’s year-long residency at The Art Gallery, in the lead up to COP28. During this period, he interviewed faculty and climate experts, and joined dialogues about environmental issues being researched by faculty and students across NYUAD, from the sciences and social sciences to the arts and humanities. A series of these interviews is presented in a video installation in the exhibition.
The show surveys De St. Croix’s work from ecosystems around the world, and centers on several major new works. The largest of these, Salt Lake Excerpt, UAE, emerged from his collaboration with theater artist Joanna Settle, an Arts Professor and Associate Dean at NYUAD. They co-created this work in response to the salt lake “sabkhas” of the UAE. Together they designed a light, sound, and sculpture landscape made from at least 50,000 plastic water bottles. The exhibition also includes an “infinite landscapes” series based on the UAE’s deserts, developed from work with NYUAD’s Research Visualization and Fabrication lab. Then, in response to his dialogues with a cluster of faculty in the Social Sciences and Humanities who are conducting research on the Himalayas, he produced High Peaks: Himachal (Snow Mountain). In it, sculptures of Mount Everest and five other peaks loom over the visitor, and appear to be melting and collapsing.
“Having traveled to many spectacular and inspiring, but ecologically fragile, environments, including the Gobi Desert and the Arctic Circle, my studies of the equally beautiful UAE desert reinforced a truth that both artists and scientists tell us: our planet is deeply interconnected, as are the environmental challenges we face. Any solutions we might develop in response must account for this fact. I thank the faculty at NYUAD for their support in developing this new body of work, which I hope will inspire people to think in new ways about how we interact with nature.”
The exhibition is being held as NYU Abu Dhabi is chairing the Universities Climate Network (UCN). Comprising 31 UAE-based institutions of higher education, the UCN collaborates to facilitate dialogues, workshops, public events, policy briefs, and youth participation in the months to and beyond COP28.
Blane De St. Croix: Horizon runs through January 14, 2024, from Tuesday through Sunday, 12-8pm. For more details visit here.