Young Architecture Students Honoured with The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award 2015 for Creative Sculpture, Keswa

The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award 2015 was awarded to American University of Sharjah students Nada Al Mulla and Salwa Al Khudairi for their work, Keswa.

Award-winning piece unveiled at NYUAD ahead of a nationwide tour

Press Release

The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award, under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Shamsa Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, was presented last night by New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Institute in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF).
Open to UAE-based students, and graduates within the last five years, the Award honoured third year Architecture students of The American University of Sharjah, Nada Al Mulla and Salwa Al Khudairi, for their creative sculpture, Keswa.

Keswa, the Arabic word for cloth or covering, explores the flowing form of the abaya, or traditional garment worn by Arab and Islamic women. Though the piece is comprised of steel, a hard material, the form suggests the movement of undulating fabric. The details of attachment at the steel ribs nod to embellished stitching. Viewed from afar, the stark black form sits in contrast to its surroundings but at the same time, light and colour from within that close environment are highlighted by the materials used.

Established in 2012, the Award is designed to encourage the creation of new artwork in the UAE, act as a launching pad for visual artists across the Emirates and offer the winner an insight into professional life as an artist from commission to exhibition.

Embarking on a UAE wide tour until April 2nd, Keswa will be available for viewing at the following locations: New York University Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island (Monday 16 March 2015 – Thursday 2 April 2015), Qasr Al Sarab, Liwa (Sunday 5 April 2015 – Thursday 16 April 2015), Maraya Art Centre 1971 Design Space, Sharjah (Sunday April 19 – Thursday April 30). Audiences are encouraged to enjoy a close encounter with the work; to walk through or even sit under the piece, and to experience the enveloping form.

Further information on the Abu Dhabi Festival 2015 Community & Education programme came be found on the Festival website:

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, ADMAF Founder, the Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth & Community Development, ADMAF Patron and President.

ADMAF’s broad range of initiatives - including the Abu Dhabi Festival, year-round education and community programmes, and, The Nationals’ Gallery - brings together audiences of all ages and nationalities. Through them, it nurtures the creative talent of the UAE and beyond, in partnership with leading national and international institutions.

For more information please visit our website at:

About Christo & Jeanne-Claude
Together with his late wife Jeanne-Claude, Christo has created some of the most ambitious, impressive and beautiful large scale works in the history of art. They include The Pont Neuf Wrapped, Paris 1985; Surrounded Islands, Greater Miami, Florida 1983; Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin 1995 and The Gates, Central Park, New York 2005 These artworks present audiences with a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience something truly extraordinary and unique. They are often several decades in the making.
Christo’s drawings are held by most major museums, galleries and collections around the world including The Guggenheim in New York, Tate in London, and Centre Pompidou in Paris. The work is also held by many major corporate collections including Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Daimler and Toyota.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude first came to Abu Dhabi in 1979 and fell in love with its people, culture and the extraordinary landscape. Christo has returned many times since to lecture students on their extensive body of work – amongst others, New York University Abu Dhabi, Université Paris Sorbonne-Abu Dhabi, The British School Al Khubairat, The Higher Colleges of Technology Madinat Zayed and Al Ruwais, and Khalifa University Abu Dhabi. He returns in 2015 to support the winner of this Award and to unveil their winning work.

Award Presented by

NYU Abu Dhabi Institute
The NYU Abu Dhabi 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.

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.