x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Sheikha Maryam's award-winning piece is unveiled before one of her heroes

Sheikha Maryam bint Sultan bin Zayed, who recently graduated from the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises at Zayed University, won the inaugural Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award.

Sheikha Maryam’s award-winning piece on display at the NYU Abu Dhabi campus. Lee Hoagland / The National
Sheikha Maryam’s award-winning piece on display at the NYU Abu Dhabi campus. Lee Hoagland / The National

ABU DHABI // An award-winning artwork by Sheikha Maryam bint Sultan bin Zayed was unveiled at an event in the capital last night.

The granddaughter of the founding President Sheikh Zayed, Sheikha Maryam's piece won the inaugural Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award.

A recent graduate from the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises at Zayed University, her award win was announced in December last year by the New York University Abu Dhabi Institute and the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (Admaf).

Last night, her work Mirari was displayed at an event at NYU Abu Dhabi's downtown campus, which was attended by the internationally renowned Bulgarian-born artist Christo.

The award was named after him and his wife and artistic collaborator, Jeanne-Claude, who died in 2009.

Inspired by a mirage, the winning piece consists of triangular-shaped mirrors clustered together.

Sheikha Maryam said the process was a challenge but she felt "very proud" when she saw the final outcome of her efforts.

"I never participated in any kind of award before," she said.

"The reason was I have always loved Christo's work. I have always known about what he is doing recently and what he did. It was really exciting to me to even have such an award here in the UAE.

"I thought I should definitely participate. I'm going to continue my artwork and want to continue studying art.

Sheikha Maryam beat 26 other entries from UAE-based students to be awarded US$5,000 (Dh18,365) to make her work of art.

The award, established last year to nurture artistic talent, was open to full-time students enrolled in higher-education institutions within the country and residents who had graduated from one of its universities or colleges in the past five years.

Award director Emily Doherty said it was a collaboration between NYU Abu Dhabi Institute, Christo and Admaf.

"The reason why it's incredible is because it's the culmination, really, of a sole purpose to create a launch pad for a young artist into their career, and to give them a real experience of creating a work of art from scratch," Ms Doherty said.

She said Christo had been coming to the area since 1979 and wanted to show a way of committing to young artists in the region.

The winning work will be on display at the university campus until April 4, when it moves to other locations in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

A call for entries to next year's award will be made in May.

ecleland@thenational.ae