In Fall 2014, the Crochet Coral Reef traveled to the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute, part of the recently opened New York University campus in the United Arab Emirates. The Middle East is home to a network of unique reefs as well as an explosion of human development, making the region a fertile place for both the aesthetic pleasures and ecological messages of the Crochet Coral Reef project.
Located in a 4-story space, this unusual Reef exhibition was lit by natural light evoking a vast aquarium. The exhibition also debuted the NYU Abu Dhabi Satellite Reef, an endeavor overseen by NYU community outreach officer Jason Beckerman and ex-pat Australian artist Michal Teague. This stunning addition to the worldwide archipelago of crochet reefs was constructed around a collection of traditional Emirati fishing baskets attached in seven mosque-like mounds, each representing one of the seven federated “emirates,” with Abu Dhabi as their capital. Throughout 2014, members of the NYU Abu Dhabi community gathered to crochet the forms. Participants included NYU-AD faculty and students as well as cafeteria workers, plus a diverse group of native Emiratis and resident ex-patriots. The final reef – a triumph of whimsy and local influence, with a concerted element of bling – shot upward in a collection of exuberant islands.