Abraaj Group Art Price






Syntax and Society 

The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2016

The 2016 catalogue consists of two artist book: Volume 1, featuring the shortlisted artists practice, together with Volume 2 (English and Arabic) dedicated to Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme's work and research. 

Curated by Nav Haq and designed in Antwerp by Studio Pieter Boels, the exhibition catalogue is avaliable though Sternberg Press



Before History
The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2015

Before History catalogues the exhibition for the Abraaj Group Art Prize 2015, which includes a new body of work by Yto Barrada, the winner of the prize, and existing work by shortlisted artists Sarnath Banerjee, Setareh Shahbazi, and Mounira Al Solh. The exhibition explores the layering of time through historical artifice. History here is considered as a constructed sphere, constantly in flux, simultaneously being buried and excavated.
In a world of hyper-mediation, how can one construct a sense of an individual history? How does it relate to the sediments of culture? A film at the heart of Yto Barrada’s new work, Faux départ (False Start) (2015), questions the veracity of artifacts in the context of modern-day museology. Through a study of paleontology in Morocco, the artist asks: How does one fabricate a history?
This special catalogue consists of two artist books, one by Yto Barrada and the other devised in collaboration with the shortlisted artists. Together they function as a sculptural object, layering on top of each other.

Edited by Omar Kholeif / Contributions by Mirene Arsanios, Yto Barrada, Sarnath Banerjee, Omar Kholeif, Setareh Shahbazi, Mounira Al Solh
Copublished with the Abraaj Group / Design by Julia, London
March 2015, English / 20 x 27 cm, 232 pages, 14 b/w and 133 color ill., softcover / ISBN 978-3-95679-121-5


This year a digital publication accompanies the exhibition.  Five literary authors—Nadeem Aslam, Wiam El-Tamami, Githa Hariharan, Pankaj Mishra and Ruth Padel—were each invited to respond to a project proposal, the ground prepared by the artist.  The gauntlet: to take as a point of departure the proposal itself, a space of flux and possibility and respond with a text.  The digital experience of the publication contemporises the architecture of the Persian garden and produces a virtual environment where documentation of the artworks and commissioned texts can hope to live beyond the transient nature of the display. They were available on screens inside the exhibition, and can now be found online at http://gardenandspring.org/


extra | ordinary - the publication was launched at Art Dubai 2013, accompanying the exhibition of the 2013 Abraaj Group Art Prize. Please contact us for more details. Edited by Murtaza Vali, designed by the New-York based design firm Project Projects, with commissioned essays from celebrated writers Haig Aivazian, Adnan Madani, Vali Mahlouji, Nat Muller, Walid Sadek and Kaelen Wilson-Goldie. Made up of five independent volumes, each includes an in-depth essay about the artists’ broader practice, an interview with Murtaza Vali and series of artist pages about each project. 


Spectral Imprints: the book is now available through Idea Books. Please contact us for more details. Edited by Nat Muller with contributors including Laura Marks, Hanan Toukan and Fadi Tufayli, designed by Huda Smitshuijzen Abifares of the Khatt Foundation.

“Though situated within the realities and specificities of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region, Spectral Imprints transcends geopolitical confines by drawing on the politics and poetics of that precise moment when the appearance and erasure of meaning collapse together and the imaginary leaves a faint trace in the sand.”

- Nat Muller, curator and editor of Spectral Imprints, excerpt from the introduction.

Please Click Here to download the handout which accompanied the Spectral Imprints: 2012 Abraaj Group Art Prize exhibition at Art Dubai in March 2012.

Please Click Here to read a review of Spectral Imprints by Jim Quilty in the Daily Star, Beirut.


Conceived in collaboration with curator Sharmini Pereira design studio OK-RM and published on the occasion of the 2011 Abraaj Group Art prize, Footnotes to a Project* is a collection of images, citations and references that support and inform the creation of the five selected artworks. Informed by the book’s title, the headline concept was to express the historical traditions of footnoting and its relationship with reading and writing. The designers adopted the use of a variety of typographic symbols traditionally used by type setters to indicate footnotes. The book takes the form of an enlarged paper back and is split into 5 equal parts—one for each artist—providing an in-depth documentation of the works through images and extended captions. The book is accompanied by two book marks intended to facilitate navigation between image and text.

The Catalogues are available to purchase online. 
For US orders click here.
For Europe & Asia orders click here


Each year the aspirations and successes of artists from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) increase, and the international art world has started to sit up and take notice. Click here to download the 2010 catalogue.


The Abraaj Group Art Prize was established in 2008 as an initiative aimed at empowering artistic potential through the conduit of corporate patronage. Click here to download the 2009 catalogue.