77-year-old Bulgarian-born artist Christo launched the Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
The award is named after himself and his late wife who was an artistic collaborator.
At a press conference, he announced that the award is open to anyone who is currently in tertiary education as well as those who have graduated within the past five years regardless of the subject they’re studying, UAE’s daily The National reported.
The winner will be chosen by a panel of experts not including Christo, the prize is a guaranteed $5,000 which will hopefully allow them to realize their dream project.
All forms of media are eligible for entry, however, there is a decisive criterion that will apply to how the entrants propose to exhibit their work. Judges will favor those who avoid the conventional “white cube” gallery space and the typical ways that art work is generally displayed.
Christo explained why he agreed to lend his name to the prize, which happens to be backed by NYU Abu Dhabi and the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation.
Christo was quoted by The National as saying that “Abu Dhabi’s art and culture program is very important – creating beautiful art is the mark of a great civilization. We hope this annual award will encourage and support a generation.”
“I am proud to be associated with this award that promotes and supports art and creativity in the UAE. I have been coming to Abu Dhabi for more than 30 years and this award is further evidence of Abu Dhabi’s commitment to the arts,” he added.
During his trip to the UAE, Christo will also present a public lecture at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi tonight and on Friday he will be the guest of honor at the only screening of Nomad of Art which is a short documentary about his and Jeanne-Claude’s artworks.
The Gates, which was produced in 2007 is about their project in New York, will be shown at this year’s Abu Dhabi Film Festival.
Christo will tour the western region of Abu Dhabi to scout out potential sites for his proposed monument to the petrochemical age – The Mastaba
The 150-metre-high sculpture, built from hundreds of thousands of multi-colored oil barrels, was first proposed in 1977.