New Fellowship Established in Honor of Tarek Al-Ghoussein

Adele Bea Cipste, a first-year MFA student at NYUAD, is the inaugural recipient of the prestigious fellowship.

Adele Bea Cipste, a first-year MFA student at NYUAD, is the inaugural recipient of the prestigious fellowship

With generous support from the Farjam Foundation, NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) has established a new fellowship in honor of the late Tarek Al-Ghoussein, professor of visual arts and first director of the Master of Fine Arts program at NYUAD.

The Fellowship will be awarded every academic year to an outstanding student in the MFA program. The first recipient of the Tarek Al-Ghoussein Fellowship is Adele Bea Cipste, a first-year MFA student at NYUAD who completed her undergraduate degree in 2022 at the University.


“It is always great to see students recognized for their achievements, and it is wonderful that Adele Bea Cipste has been named the first Tarek Al-Ghoussein Fellow. Adele is an outstanding graduate student who was mentored by Tarek Al-Ghoussein, and has already become a key participant in the growing UAE art community. We miss Tarek, and are proud that his legacy at NYUAD and in the international art world continues to shine. We are profoundly grateful to the Farjam Foundation for supporting this valued initiative.”

Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann

“The Farjam Foundation is proud to support this Fellowship, an initiative conceived with Dr Mariët Westermann in order to recognize the enduring legacy of Tarek Al-Ghoussein, and to offer future generations the possibility of contributing to the growth of the UAE creative community.  


Founder of the Farjam Foundation Farhad Farjam

The Farjam Foundation is renowned for its extensive and discerning collection of modern and contemporary art from the MENA region and West Asia, and for its rich legacy of supporting arts education and cultural exchange. The collaboration between NYUAD and the Foundation is inspired by a shared dedication to making art accessible to all and providing opportunities for artists to explore, understand, and enrich the human experience through their art. It underscores a shared vision for empowering artists and promoting the role of art in dialogue and discovery.

Tarek Al-Ghoussein, a revered professor at NYUAD and highly regarded artist of international renown, made an indelible mark on the artistic and academic landscape of the UAE. He joined NYUAD’s art faculty in 2013 and was granted tenure in 2019. His contributions to the arts at the University were profound, and they extended far beyond the classroom and the studio. Museums around the world continue to collect his acclaimed photographic works, celebrated for their deep engagement with his Palestinian and Kuwaiti heritage and the changing landscapes of the Gulf. In 2013 Al-Ghoussein represented Kuwait at the 55th Venice Biennale, the world’s biggest and most historic stage for showcasing contemporary art.

Educated at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and the University of New Mexico, Al-Ghoussein brought a rich academic experience and diverse practice in the visual arts to his teaching, and served as a model and mentor to a new generation of artists. As a founding faculty member of NYUAD's visual arts programs, he played a critical role in shaping the institution's approach to arts education, emphasizing the importance of creativity, critical thinking, cultural awareness, and methodological innovation.

Al-Ghoussein's approach to art was characterized by a deep sense of humility and a commitment to exploring the human condition as well as specific sites through his work. His artistic practice, encompassing photography, self-portraiture, and landscape interpretation, offered insights into identity, belonging, and the environment.

Beyond his own art, Al-Ghoussein is remembered for his gentle spirit, ability to inspire students and colleagues alike, and dedication to the NYUAD Art Gallery and the broader arts community in the UAE. He was one of the founders of NYUAD's MFA program in Art and Media, launched in 2021, and as its first director ensured that it quickly became a unique and successful graduate program in the arts for the country and wider region.

NYUAD’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Art and Media is a terminal degree in the visual arts. It is designed as a full-time, interdisciplinary studio art program that sits at the crossroads of practice and theory, focusing on research-based art practice. The MFA degree consists of 60 credits over two years of residential study. The MFA program immerses students in contemporary research and art practices while training them to become deep thinkers and artistic innovators. For more information, please click here.