Photo by Bailey Theado

Innovative installation reflects creativity at DTC

Photo by Bailey Theado It is not often that you can walk up to admire a piece of artwork and find yourself staring back from its surface. But that is ...

Mar 16, 2013

Photo by Bailey Theado
It is not often that you can walk up to admire a piece of artwork and find yourself staring back from its surface. But that is just the case with NYUAD’s new and reflective addition to the Downtown Campus, “Mirari,” the 2013 winner of the Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award.
What looks like a shiny jumble of angles from afar is, when viewed up close, a carefully arranged cluster of mirrors, each tilting in different directions and reaching various levels of height. Its shiny edges jut upwards, at times overlapping each other or weaving between the artwork’s spindly metal legs. In the daytime, the glossy mirrors are slick with sunlight, which pools in silvery puddles on the piece’s surface and distorts the reflections of DTC and the courtyard surrounding it.
“Mirari” was unveiled on March 11th in collaboration with the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute and the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation. The artwork’s debut marked DTC as its first stop on its four-month tour around Abu Dhabi; it attracted many reporters from the region as well as Christo Javacheff himself, who established the Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award in 2012 along with his wife, Jeanne-Claude.
The award, which is granted to one winner out of a pool of applicants, seeks to spread the enjoyment and popularity of art within the region. Applicants may use any form of media, including video, sculpture, or installation.
“It is our hope that by touring to these sites, students and recent graduate artists throughout the United Arab Emirates will see the work and be encouraged to continue developing their own work, and to submit proposals for future rounds of this award,” said Maya Allison, exhibition director of New York University Abu Dhabi. “Both the winning applicant and the four finalists have already received substantial recognition as a result of this process.”
Sheikha Maryam bint Sultan bin Zayed, granddaughter of His Highness Sheikh Zayed, was the winning artist behind “Mirari.” Her concept for the design is quoted in its description as being similar to that of a mirage – much like a shimmering oasis in the desert, the piece is designed to change and shift depending on distance, angle, weather and light.
“Mirari’s” abstract and unique nature has prompted different reactions among NYUAD students.
“As a science student, I thought it had something to do with solar panels,” said sophomore Israel Desta. “Knowing now that [it is an artpiece], I think it’s interesting. It’s really nice.”
Sophomore Anteneh Teferi was intrigued by DTC’s new installation.
“I would be interested to know what the artist was up to while creating this, and the definition behind it,” he said.
“Mirari” will be a displayed at the DTC until April 4th.
Zoe Hu is deputy news editor. Email her at
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