The Mastaba, a project for Abu Dhabi, was conceived in 1977, and it will be the largest sculpture in the world, made from 410,000 multi-colored barrels to form a mosaic of bright sparkling colors, echoing Islamic architecture.
The Mastaba, which is an ancient and familiar architectural shape to the people of Arabia, will be 150 meters high, 225 meters deep at the 60 degrees slanted walls and 300 meters wide at the vertical walls. The top of The Mastaba will be a horizontal surface 126.8 meters wide and 225 meters deep.
The colors and the positioning of the 55-gallon steel barrels were selected by Christo and Jeanne-Claude in 1979, the year in which the artists visited the Emirate of Abu Dhabi for the first time.
The proposed area is inland, in Al Gharbia (Western Region) approximately 160 kilometers south of the city of Abu Dhabi, near the oasis of Liwa.
In 2012, Christo commissioned Pricewaterhouse Coopers to conduct analyses on the social and economic benefits of The Mastaba.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s relationship with Abu Dhabi goes back to 1979 when they first visited the Emirate. They have returned many times since, creating a longstanding friendship with the people of Abu Dhabi.
The Mastaba will be Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s only permanent large-scale work.
Christo is a Bulgarian-born and raised American artist, and Jeanne-Claude is French artist born and raised in Casablanca, Morocco. Jeanne-Claude died on November 18, 2009, in New York City.
Some of the most famous projects of the artistic duo are “The Gates,” “Surrounded Islands,” “Valley Curtain,” and “The Floating Piers,” which Christo finished in June 2016 in the Iseo lake in Italy.
The Mastaba of Abu Dhabi (Project for the United Arab Emirates)
Collages and drawings by Christo, 1977, 1978, 1979
Photography by: Wolfgang Volz, André Grossmann, Eeva-Inkeri, Christo’s Archive