Media Centre

Press release

Many creative encounters bring together audiences and nurture talent

The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award to promote creative expression in the UAE 30th Jun 2013

ADMAF Expands Community Involvement in the Arts through Action-Packed Period of Events

Last month was filled with engaging and enlightening cultural initiatives thanks to the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF). Under the patronage and presidency of His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan, the not-for-profit organisation continued to contribute to Abu Dhabi’s cultural vision through a wide range of successful arts-based initiatives to enhance education, culture, and creativity.

“May represented an extremely rewarding month for us at ADMAF. The arts is a social catalyst that brings people together, regardless of their age, ability or circumstance. Every exhibition and workshop offered an opportunity to learn new skills and nurture young talent while the award ceremonies rewarded excellence and innovation,” said Her Excellency Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo, ADMAF Founder.

Giving a voice through the arts

By delving into childhood memories through the items that shaped them, the exhibition ‘Toys and Treasures - Toy Box to Treasure Chest: The Art of Collecting’ at Ghaf Gallery (30 May – 19 June) was ADMAF’s contribution to International Museum Day 2013 and invited audiences to consider their own personal history and reconnect with their cultural heritage. Complemented by a series of young curators workshops in Abu Dhabi schools, the initiative engaged over 800 children, young people and adults.

Reflecting the transformative role that the visual arts can play in the rehabilitation of survivors of human trafficking, ‘Silent Voices II’ (12-16 May) gave 50 women a creative output to channel their emotions while raising awareness on this important global issue. The exhibition of artworks welcomed visitors and generated significant sales, the proceeds of which provided additional support to Ewa’a Shelters for Women & Children in the UAE. 

Awards celebrate young talent

New York University Abu Dhabi freshman Shakhbout Al Kaabi’s photographic artwork ‘An Overthrown Throne’ won the 2013 Abu Dhabi Festival Visual Arts Award out of 160 submissions. The 10,000AED prize recognises an Emirati undergraduate or emerging artist who demonstrates outstanding creativity in an original piece of work inspired by the Abu Dhabi Festival exhibition, which this year was ’25 Years of Arab Creativity’.

The second edition of the Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award in association with New York University Abu Dhabi was launched in May. The Award, which aims to nurture the careers of young UAE-based artists, has extended its application period, giving applicants more than five months to conceptualize and create proposals for artwork to be exhibited publicly across the UAE and beyond. The inaugural winning artwork – an installation entitled ‘Mirari’ (Mirage) by Sheikha Maryam bint Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s – is currently on display in the grounds of the Al Ruwais campus of the Higher Colleges of Technolog, in Abu Dhabi's Western Region. The winner of the 2014 Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award will receive USD 20,000 for the production and touring of the proposed work to locations across the UAE. In addition, the world-renowned artist Christo will make a further contribution of USD 10,000 to fund related opportunities, which may include training for the winning artist and exhibiting their artwork internationally.

Up to 20 Dar Zayed orphans, ranging from ages 9 to 14, visited Al Ain Palace Museum and Sharjah Aquarium Museum in May as part of ADMAF’s initiative to provide creative learning platforms through which to explore their Emirati culture and heritage while enhancing their imagination and social awareness.                                                                                                                                                             

Emirati calligrapher Mohamed Mandi gave an introduction to Islamic calligraphy at his Abu Dhabi studio, to 74 children as part of ADMAF’s ‘Islamic Arts Series’. Mandi’s young visitors were shown eight basic styles of Islamic calligraphy, before being given the opportunity to experiment.


Through ADMAF’s ‘Ways of Seeing’ programme, the Egyptian artist CHRITCH (Christine Tchaderdjian) gave workshops to over 200 young art enthusiasts, which included an introduction to classical composition, proportion, perspective, tonality, light and shadow. The sessions also offered the students the chance to express their feelings on paper while experiencing the inspiring power of music.


ADMAF’s Young Media Leaders (YML) programme continues to provide vocational development training to young Emiratis seeking to pursue a career in the UAE’s media industries. Now in its seventh edition, the programme delivered workshops in presentation skills, electronic journalism and new media.


International bonds strengthened


In a recent visit to Paris, H.E. Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo spoke at the ‘Women Leaders in the Arts’ Forum at the American University of Paris, as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations. Her Excellency addressed the topics of gender and leadership in the arts, the role of the arts in education, as well as cross-cultural exchange . The audience consisted of alumni and graduates of AUP’s ‘Cultural entrepreneurship, gender and leadership in the Muslim World’ course.


In addition, ADMAF signed a framework agreement with UNESCO. The new partnership deepens relations between the two organisations and explores new ways to work together in the future. The agreement followed a donation by the Abu Dhabi Festival to support a girls’ education project in Egypt through the UNESCO Malala Fund for Girls’ Education, which aims to stem the dropout of adolescent girls from secondary education, strengthen women’s literacy, and give new momentum to the quest to provide access to schools for all girls by 2015.