Leonardo/ISAST is pleased to announce that the First Leonardo Global Crossings Prize has been awarded to Abdel Ghany Kenawy and Amal Kenawy, of Cairo, Egypt, a brother-sister team who have been collaborating on large-scale installations since 1997. These works, whether tower-like structures containing glass balls rising up towards the ceiling or tunnels leading to a block of frozen ice in a room surrounded by chiffon, demonstrate that there is no “natural” barrier between the worlds of art and science.
The Kewanys’ unique collaboration is built partially upon Abdel Ghany’s background in the physical sciences and Amal’s background in filmmaking, yet their individual efforts cannot be so neatly defined as singularly “scientific” or “artistic.” Committed to their creative processes, they work very closely together on every aspect of their projects from conceptualization and structural design to production and execution in their workshop. Characteristic of all their projects is the power of texture and image, and sensorial play with surfaces between spaces (loosening up the inside/outside polarity) – whether it is a “textured” video, the texture of light projected on a triple screen of chiffon, the texture of human hair bows on a pair of wax legs in a display case, or the textures (acoustic and visual) of a beating heart on which a pair of lace gloved hands is sewing a white rose appliqué. For examples of their work see http://www.thetownhousegallery.com/html/artists/amal_abdelghany_kenawy.htm
The three runners-up for the 2005 Leonardo Global Crossings Award are Regina Célia Pinto (Brazil – web-based and CD-ROM art), Kim Machan (Australia – curator, arts producer and consultant) and Shilpa Gupta (India – Internet, video and installation works).
Other nominees for the 2005 award included: Andres Burbano (Colombia), Kibook (collaborative team of Visieu Lac [Vietnamese-Australian], Mark Wu [British-born Chinese] and Stefan Woelwer [Germany]), Nalini Malani (India) and Hellen Sky (Australia).
The 2005 Leonardo Global Crossings Award, funded in part by the Rockefeller Foundation, was juried by an international panel of experts co-chaired by Nisar Keshvani (Singapore) and Rejane Spitz (Brazil). The award recognizes the contribution of artists and scholars from culturally diverse communities worldwide within the emerging art-science-technology field. The award is part of the Leonardo Global Crossings Special Project, supported by the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.
For additional information about the Leonardo Global Crossings Award, please visit