May 9th, 2013

Christo increases prize money for award for UAE artists

Already credited with raising one artist's confidence and profile, an award aimed at launching the careers of young UAE-based artists has grown by US$10,000 thanks to the generosity of its founder, the artist Christo.

Christo, the Bulgarian site-specific artist born Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, spent almost 50 years with his late wife, Jeanne-Claude, creating pieces of public art.

Last year he announced the founding of the Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award in the UAE in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Music and Art Foundation (Admaf) and New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD).

As applications for the second edition of the annual award opened yesterday, Christo announced the increased contributions that would go towards development of the winning artist and would be in addition to the $20,000 (Dh73,460) prize money.

"I have been impressed by the courage and creativity of the young generation of artists here in the UAE. With our friends at the NYUAD Institute and Admaf, I am happy to support this award and to help the young people here make their art a reality," he said.

He also explained that the application process would be extended to a five-month period to allow artists to fully develop their ideas.

In March, last year's winner, Sheikha Maryam bint Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a granddaughter of Sheikh Zayed and a graduate of Zayed University, presented her piece Mirari, a selection of stainless steel mirrored triangles said to represent the points of convergence between the past, present and future.

This year's winner will be announced in December and will then work on producing an exhibition slated for next spring.

At the announcement, Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, the founder of Admaf, initially thanked Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al Nahyan for her patronage, and then explained that the award exemplified Admaf's long-standing commitment to inspire young and emerging UAE-based artists.

"The spirit of Christo and Jeanne-Claude is upheld and the creativity of the UAE visual arts sector is celebrated through this initiative, which has already proven itself as a dynamic national platform to launch the next generation of arts practitioners," she said.

Applicants should submit requests on the NYUAD and Admaf websites before midnight on October 31. Students must be nominated for the award by a mentor or academic tutor, while recent graduates may apply either independently or with the support of a nominator. More information can be found on and

Anna Seaman, The National, May 9, 2013