UAE desert to host world’s largest permanent artwork

The Mastaba by Christo and Jeanne-Claude
The Mastaba by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, set to be placed in the UAE desert near Abu Dhabi

The world’s largest permanent artwork, a stunning 150-metre tall sculpture built from 410,000 multicoloured barrels, is set to be built in the UAE.

The Mastaba – devised by the late artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude who are best known for wrapping world monuments including Berlin’s Reichstag and the Arc de Triomphe in fabric – will find its home in the Liwa Desert, approximately 100 miles south of Abu Dhabi.

Christo with the plans for The Mastaba before his death in 2020

The giant sculpture references traditional Islamic architecture and will be created based on detailed plans left behind by the husband-and-wife team before their deaths in 2020 and 2009 respectively.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude first came up with the idea in 1979 after visiting the UAE. It is now hoped that the sculpture could open for public visits as early as 2027, subject to government approvals.