Vivi Zhu, Hala El Abora, and Majd Alloush

Made with rammed earth and colored using mineral pigments, Shaheeq's material form aligns with its theme. After the conclusion of Abu Dhabi Art, the installation will be exhibited at NYU Abu Dhabi and Umm Al Emarat Park before being installed at Jubail Mangrove Park, where it will biodegrade, benefiting the environment.

The columns' composition includes basalt sand and beach sand sourced from Umm Al Quwain, and mineral pigments were mixed using a concrete mixer. Notably, the artists took a hands-on approach to building the installation, completing the physical labor over a month during the summer.

The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award, held annually since 2013, serves as a platform for UAE-based students and recent graduates, offering opportunities for emerging artists. The award, under the patronage of Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan, is presented by NYU Abu Dhabi in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation.

“Shaheeq reminds me of our intrinsic cohesiveness as a species, we aren’t separate from each other or nature. The artists’ collaboration with the environment highlights this generation’s concerns for climate change and the urgent need to imagine and manufacture a more sustainable future. The use of the mangrove trees, and the forest ecosystem that supports them encourages us to look for solutions within our own natural ecosystems. And as we approach COP28, these themes assume ever greater relevance.”

Executive Director of The NYUAD Art Gallery and the University’s Chief Curator Maya Allison

Shaheeq will be displayed at NYU Abu Dhabi, Um El Emarat Park, and Jubail Mangrove Park, ultimately biodegrading and leaving no trace. The installation underscores the artists' collaboration with the environment and their generation's focus on climate change, promoting the exploration of sustainable solutions within natural ecosystems.

The winners of the 2023 Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award, Vivi Zhu, Hala El Abora, and Majd Alloush, have unveiled their winning project, Shaheeq, at Manarat Al Saadiyat on the eve of Abu Dhabi Art. The installation focuses on the photosynthesis processes of mangroves, paying tribute to their efficiency in absorbing carbon from the air and supporting marine life.

Shaheeq consists of three columns of varying sizes on mounds of sand, with gradients of grey, brown, and blue. The artists highlight the ecological importance of mangroves in the UAE's heritage, emphasizing their role in carbon sequestration and resilience in salty water.


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