"My God! Oh my god... thank you so much... thank you all so much," Abdi told the finale's judging panel after Work of Art host China Chow announced his victory.
Abdi, a 23-year-old who resides in Dover, PA, defeated Peregrine Honig to win the first season of the new Project Runway-like artist competition, which concluded with a finale gallery show featuring works the three remaining finalists had created while at home for two months.
Abdi's finale gallery show featured two figurative sculptures lying on the gallery floor as well as paintings and drawings.
"My theme is expressing how the beauty of humanity has been covered up in so many ways through socioeconomic issues, evil [and] violence," Abdi explained about his winning show, which he titled "Luminous Beings."
As Work of Art's winner, Abdi will receive a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum and a $100,000 cash prize.
"I was like, 'Mom, I got to find her,' because this victory is as much hers as it is mine," he said. "I'm just going to give my mom the whole $100,000 and let her give me some. She's sacrificed way more than I have -- just all that she's done for me in the past three months, but then all the stuff that she's done for me in the past 22 years."
"This is just a door to do what I was created to do, hopefully I can just keep making amazing art with the hope that I'll leave something beautiful in this world for people to appreciate."
Peregrine, a 33-year-old who resides in Kansas City, MO, took the announcement of her loss well.
"I feel like I had a $100,000 lottery ticket in the pocket of my coat and I left the coat on the subway," she joked. "But I'm really happy for Abdi."
Miles Mendenhall, a 23-year-old from Minneapolis, MN, finished third in the finale's gallery show -- which was judged by regular Work of Art judges Bill Powers, Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and Jerry Saltz as well as photographer David LaChapelle, who served as a guest judge.
"I feel it's s--t to lose, but I feel proud of the work that I produced because I tried out a lot of new things I hadn't tried before," Miles said.
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