Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award winners

The ninth edition of The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award has been won by three architecture students at the American University of Sharjah: Nour Elbery and Marawan Mahmoud, both from Egypt, and Rashid Modibbo from Nigeria.

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.

The installation will be on show in November, initially on the NYUAD campus. That will be the first time we get to see it.

“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,” said Maya Allison, Executive Director of The NYUAD Art Gallery and the University’s Chief Curator. “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.

“It is heartening to see how uncertainty and the unknown have led us to explore new ways of working, while changing the way we live, think, and act, and still, we find ways to create art.”

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

The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award is open to UAE-based students and recent graduates and was established as a launch pad for visual artists across the Emirates, encouraging new artwork and offering winners an insight into professional life as an artist from commission to exhibition.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude made monumental works on a huge scale for over 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. The work is also held by many major corporate collections.

Christo was committed to supporting the next generation of artists and creative practitioners in the United Arab Emirates and The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award was established almost a decade ago, to cultivate creativity across the emirates.

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