COMPETITION: Design a gift from the UAE to the UN

The UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has launched a national competition to design gifts that will be presented to the United Nations under the name “Gift of Zayed”. It’s open to UAE nationals and residents and the deadline is 1 July 2018.

It’s a diplomatic tradition that member states present artworks to the United Nations, to be displayed in the four major UN buildings; the donations are intended to embody one of the main objectives of the world body, “the unity of humanity in all its cultural diversity”.

This time around there will be three objects, two for the UN as before – to be displayed at the UN’s New York HQ in New York and at the UAE’s mission headquarters to the UN – with the third being showcased at MofAIC premises.

The Ministry is looking for “artistic, exclusive, unique and authentic designs” that symbolise the UN’s core purpose of global unity and embody the UAE’s own rich cultural values “in a creative and innovative manner”. Applicants can be a single individual, an entity or a group; only one design per application is permitted, and the owner of the design must cede all rights to it to MoFAIC.

There are some restrictions on content, but nothing onerous – no people-themed sculptures, no plagiarism– and there doesn’t seem to be too many constraints on materials or size (the last such gift from the UAE to the UN, in 2001, was a pair of sculptures, but 3D objects don’t seem to be mandatory). As part of the application, there should be a creative brief that describes the proposal, showing how it relates to the UN’s values and including a materials list and illustrations.

Applications should be received by 1 July. We aren’t sure when the three selected artists will be named or when the work will have to be completed by; but a shortlist of ten finalists will be announced on 22 July, and the three selected artworks will be delivered to the UN on 29 September.

All this information has come from a MoFAIC press release to the official news agency WAM, and there’s nothing at all on the Ministry website; instead you’ll need to email for information and registration forms.

MofAIC says it will notify all applicants (including those rejected, which makes a pleasant change) and the three winners will get a trip to New York to visit the UN headquarters.

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