x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Christo award winning art begins its emirate-wide tour

A handout photo of New York University Abu Dhabi's Erin Meekhof and her installation, Abjad, winner of Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award 2014 (Courtesy: Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation)
A handout photo of New York University Abu Dhabi's Erin Meekhof and her installation, Abjad, winner of Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award 2014 (Courtesy: Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation)

Abjad, the winning project of this year’s Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award finishes the first stint of its tour today and moves to the deserts of Liwa in the morning.

The five black sculptures, made by Erin Meekhof after her in-depth exploration into the roots of Arabic and English languages, have been displayed at Abu Dhabi’s New York University campus since March 17th.

They take the symbols for the phonemes that began with the ancient Proto-Canaanite and Phoenician alphabets and then show how the Arabic alphabet developed from the Nabataean script and the Roman language came from the Etruscan letters. Meekhof describes the sculptures as “phylogenetic trees” and they give a fascinating glimpse into how the seemingly different alphabets are linked.

“I’m really thrilled about the chance to travel with the work,” Meekhof says, “because the project comes so much out of my own experience in the UAE and really speaks to the UAE as a country that uses Arabic and English interchangeably and there are very few places in the world like that.”

Abjad move to Qasr Al Serab hotel tomorrow and then later to Kattara Arts Centre in Al Ain.