Three AUS students win The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award 2021

Under the patronage of Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), in partnership with Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF), has announced Nour Elbery and Marawan Mahmoud from Egypt, and Rashid Modibbo from Nigeria, as winners of the ninth edition of The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award 2021.

The winning trio are architecture students from the American University of Sharjah (AUS).

Their winning submission, titled Cocoon, seeks to demonstrate how yesterday and tomorrow merge into one another, blurring time and rhythm, and forcing us to reflect on our shared experience of the pandemic, both individually and collectively. The installation will be available for viewing in November.

Huda I. Alkhamis-Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, said, “The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award is a core part of ADMAF’s 25-year commitment to cultivating the UAE’s creative ecosystem. This year has shown us the importance of both solidarity and art in times of uncertainty, and we are delighted to continue our partnership with Christo and NYU Abu Dhabi to bring the winning project, Cocoon, to life. The project highlights our shared experience of the pandemic as well as the power of creative expression to inspire us. We congratulate the AUS students, Nour Elbery, Marawan Mahmoud and Rashid Modibbo. on this outstanding work.”

Executive Director of The NYUAD Art Gallery and the University’s Chief Curator Maya Allison added, “The Christo Award offers the unique opportunity to young artists to create an artwork that, in the spirit of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work, can be publicly exhibited and enjoyed. This year we witnessed how the artists responded to the uncertainty and challenging environment of this time, by using their creativity to design a Cocoon for humanity.”

The winning artists have been awarded US$10,000 to complete their installation with the guidance of experts including the artists’ mentor, Architecture Professor at the AUS, Gregory Watson, the Award’s Director, Emily Doherty, The NYUAD Art Gallery team, NYUAD’s Visual Arts faculty, and the award team at ADMAF.

Members of this year’s selection committee included ADMAF Founder, Huda Ibrahim Alkhamis, NYUAD Interim Dean of Arts and Humanities, Awam Amkpa, Director of Abu Dhabi Art, Dyala Nusseibeh, and artist, Azza Al Qubaisi.

The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award is open to UAE-based students and recent graduates and was established as a launchpad for visual artists across the Emirates.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude made monumental works on a huge scale for more than half a century, including the wrapping of The Reichstag in Berlin and The Gates in Central Park, New York. Their drawings are held by most major museums, galleries, and collections around the world, including Guggenheim New York, Tate London, and the Centre Pompidou Paris.

Christo was committed to supporting the next generation of artists and creative practitioners in the UAE and the award was established almost a decade ago, to cultivate creativity across The Emirates.