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5 Oct 2016

The Abraaj Group announces winning artists and curator for the US$100,000 Abraaj Group Art Prize 2017

Dubai, UAE, 5 October 2016 - The Abraaj Group (“Abraaj” or the “Group”), a leading investor operating in global growth markets, announced today the curator, winning artist and shortlisted artists selected for the ninth Abraaj Group Art Prize, the most significant arts prize in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.
The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2017 Winning Artist:
• Rana Begum, Bangladesh

The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2017 Shortlisted Artists:
• Doa Aly, Egypt
• Sarah Abu Abdallah, Saudi Arabia
• Raha Raissnia, Iran

The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2017 Guest Curator:
• Omar Berrada (Director, Dar al-Ma’mûn; a library and artists residency in Marrakech)

2017 marks the 9th edition of the Prize, which has been recognised globally as an exceptional platform for artists working in the region. The jury received a record number of applications from 61 countries earlier this summer; more than double the number received in 2015.

Annually, the $100,000 award enables the winning artist to develop a new commission – a “dream project”, and recognises the shortlisted artists with cash prizes of $10,000, used to support the development of their artistic practice. The new commission will be unveiled at Art Dubai - the leading art fair in MENASA - to a global audience of museum directors, collectors, artists, gallerists, and thousands of members of the public. Omar Berrada will curate the exhibition, drawing together works from the shortlist, and presenting them in dialogue with Rana Begum’s new commission.

Winning artist Rana Begum, said: ‘"It is such an honour to win the Abraaj Group Art Prize. I have greatly admired the winning artists and works of previous years and consider it a privilege to follow in their footsteps."

On his plans for the exhibition, Omar Berrada said: ‘After working with the Global Art Forum in previous years, I am delighted to return to Art Dubai as guest curator of the Abraaj Group Art Prize. As someone who is concerned with art infrastructure in the South, I am grateful to Abraaj for generously and consistently supporting artists in and of the MENASA region over the last nine years, providing a crucial platform for new productions and international exposure. Rana Begum, Doa Aly, Raha Raissnia and Sarah Abu Abdallah are four exceptional artists who were selected from a very strong pool of several hundred applicants. They are artists with very diverse backgrounds and practices, though I see fascinating echoes between their respective approaches, which I look forward to exploring further and articulating into an exciting and thought-provoking exhibition.’

Commenting on the strength of the winners, Dana Farouki, Chair of the jury, said: ‘The strength of this year’s Prize proposals impressed the jury, and the selection was made all the harder by the number of applications, which continues to increase annually. Rana’s ambitious proposal will be a remarkable addition to the Art Dubai programme next year. We are also looking forward to Omar’s thoughtful curatorial contributions, not only in working with Rana to realize the commission but also in putting together an exhibition with work by the shortlisted artists.’
The Abraaj Group Art Prize Collection – comprised of works commissioned as part of the prize – has a highly active lending policy, with works having been exhibited across five continents, 11 biennales, 31 institutions and 25 countries., including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), Victoria and Albert Museum (London), Smithsonian Museum of Asian Art (Washington D.C), Sharjah Biennial, Kochi-Muziris Biennale and Biennale of Sydney.

The Abraaj Group Art Prize has taken place annually at Art Dubai since 2008. Art Dubai is widely considered to be the leading art fair in MENASA; recognised for establishing global greater appreciation for artists and galleries from the region. The Prize is a cornerstone of Art Dubai’s extensive not-for-profit programme, which has grown in ambition annually since the fair was founded in 2007. The fair’s programme encompasses numerous on and off-site exhibitions, multiple performance art and public art commissions, as well as two of the region’s most well respected talk programmes: the Global Art Forum and Terrace Talks.

Marking the announcement, Frederic Sicre, Managing Director at The Abraaj Group said, ‘The art scene in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia is thriving. The Abraaj Group Art Prize, now in its 9th year, has played a role in creating global awareness on the creative and innovative talent that exists in the region, empowering and transforming artists’ journeys. After tough deliberations for this year’s prize, the jury finally came to a conclusion entirely based on merit, and we’re extremely proud to award four women who have displayed thoughtful and innovative approaches to their art.”
The Abraaj Group Art Prize jury 2016-17 was formed of renowned international museum curators and directors. Chaired by Dubai-based curator and patron Dana Farouki, it comprises of Defne Ayas, Director and Curator of Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art; Antonia Carver, Director of Art Jameel; Nav Haq, 2016 Guest Curator of the Prize; Fayeeza Naqvi, Founding Trustee, Aman Foundation; Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects at Serpentine Galleries; Sandhini Poddar, Art historian and Adjunct Curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; and Frederic Sicre, Managing Director, The Abraaj Group.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a monograph, written and produced by Omar Berrada.

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13 Oct 2015

The Abraaj Group Announces The Winning Artists And Curator For The 2016 Abraaj Group Art Prize

The Abraaj Group (“Abraaj” or the “Group”), a leading investor operating in global growth markets, announced today the curator, winning and shortlisted artists selected for the eighth prestigious Abraaj Group Art Prize (“AGAP” or the “Prize”) – the most significant arts prize in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, recognised globally for its generous and innovative support of artists.

Artists from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia were invited to submit proposals for a major new commission – a “dream project”, to be produced through a $100,000 award and then revealed as part of a group exhibition at the tenth edition of Art Dubai, March 16-19, 2016. The exhibition, curated by the Guest Curator, also features works by three shortlisted artists, who each receive a cash prize of $10,000.

The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2016 Winning Artist:
• Artist duo Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme

The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2016 Shortlisted Artists:
• Dina Danish
• Basir Mahmood
• Mahmoud Khaled

The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2016 Guest Curator:
• Nav Haq

“The Abraaj Group Art Prize provides artists with the space and time to develop their practice in potentially new and unexpected ways,” said Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme in a joint statement. “At the same time, it provides resources for artists from the region to develop their careers on an international scale, while sustaining an engaged, long-term practice.”

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, who began their collaborative practice in 2007, work together across a range of sound, image, text, installation and performance practices – often touching upon the themes surrounding returns, amnesia, déjà vu, what is and what could be. The duo explain that their experiences in Palestine, where they are from originally, shape their practice, “not in isolation, but in the sense of how that experience speaks to other moments elsewhere and provides a critical vantage point from which to read the contemporary moment.”

The Abraaj Group Art Prize is chaired by curator-patron Dana Farouki, who led a formidable jury through the task of selecting the winning and shortlisted artists from the highest number of applications to the Prize to date.

The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2016 jury includes: Defne Ayas, Director and Curator, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art; Antonia Carver, Director, Art Dubai; Omar Kholeif, Curator, Whitechapel Gallery; Fayeeza Naqvi, Founding Trustee and Chair, Aman Foundation; Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects at Serpentine Galleries; Sandhini Poddar, Art Historian and Adjunct Curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; and Frederic Sicre, Managing Director, The Abraaj Group.

The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2016 Guest Curator Nav Haq, commenting on the winning duo, added, “Basel and Ruanne have demonstrated that they possess maturity in how they use sound, image and space in their practice, but also a real sense of experimentation in their artistic visions of a social and political imaginary. There is a rare complexity to their art that I feel makes them genuinely significant artists, and I’m looking forward very much to working with them to develop their project for the upcoming exhibition at Art Dubai.”

Three shortlisted artists – Dina Danish, Mahmoud Khaled and Basir Mahmood – are also recognised by the prize, with the jury noting their outstanding work and deep development of their practices over recent years. All three artists, described by Nav Haq as “excellent and highly thoughtful”, will contribute previous works to the curated group exhibition and be featured in an accompanying publication.

Jury Chair Dana Farouki commented, “The Abraaj Group Art Prize is part of an important global infrastructure of cultural patronage. The visionary leadership behind such initiatives allows artists to make important work that help shape society.”

The Abraaj Group, a leading private equity manager investing in global growth markets, launched The Abraaj Group Art Prize in 2008 to bolster the region’s arts ecosystem and reward artistic development. The Abraaj Group Art Prize is the only art prize of its kind that awards artists based on a proposal, rather than a completed work. The Abraaj Group Arts Prize Collection – comprised of works commissioned as part of the prize – has a highly active lending policy, with works having been exhibited across five continents, 11 biennales, 31 institutions and 25 countries.

Marking the announcement, Frederic Sicre, Managing Director at The Abraaj Group said, “The Abraaj Group Art Prize has recognized 30 outstanding and upcoming artists and 11 curators from the wider region of MENASA. This prize aims to empower cultural entrepreneurs, allowing them to overcome boundaries and create a masterpiece, propelling them to the next level. We are delighted that after eight years, this Prize is globally regarded as unique in both its approach and impact, and has proven to be a highlight in the cultural calendar of this diverse region.”

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23 Aug 2015

Leading art curators Hans Ulrich Obrist, Defne Ayas and Sandhini Poddar selected to join the 2016 Jury for the Abraaj Group Art Prize

The Abraaj Group Art Prize today announced its new jury: under the direction of the new Abraaj Group Art Prize Chairperson, Dana Farouki, the jury for the 2016 and 2017 editions of the prize includes leading international curators.

The Abraaj Group Art Prize jury 2016-17 is comprised of Defne Ayas, Director and Curator of Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art; Antonia Carver, Director, Art Dubai; Omar Kholeif, Curator, Whitechapel Gallery (who, as the Guest Curator of the 2015 prize, will sit on the jury for one year); Fayeeza Naqvi, Founding Trustee, Aman Foundation; Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-director of exhibitions and programmes and director of international projects at Serpentine Galleries; Sandhini Poddar, Art historian and Adjunct Curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; and Frederic Sicre, Managing Director, The Abraaj Group. Curator-patron Dana Farouki is the Chair of the jury.

The jury will meet, review and discuss all artist applications. During this process they will select the winning artist, who is awarded the $100,000 commission, and the three shortlisted artists, whose work will be included in a curated exhibition at Art Dubai 2016.

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7 Apr 2015

Before History: The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2015 exhibition

March 18–21, 2015
abraajprize@artdubai.ae

www.abraajgroupartprize.com
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The highly anticipated seventh Abraaj Group Art Prize exhibition, titled Before History, was inaugurated at Art Dubai March 18–21. The exhibition featured winning Moroccan artist Yto Barrada's newly commissioned work titled Faux Départ (False Start) which was developed in close collaboration with guest curator Omar Kholeif since June 2014.

Questioning how one fabricates a history, Before History explores the layering of time through historical artifice. As its starting point, the exhibition considers the notion of history as a constructed sphere, constantly in flux, simultaneously being buried and excavated. In a world where everything is hyper-mediated through screens, how is one able to construct a sense of an individual history? The artists in the exhibition both individually and collectively pose questions about the sedimentation of culture.

In Faux Départ, Barrada questions the authenticity of history and museology through the study of paleontology in Morocco. The exhibition also featured previous works by the three shortlisted artists of The Abraaj Group Art Prize: Sarnath Banerjee, Setareh Shahbazi and Mounira Al Solh.

Historical tradition is preserved in the satirical work of Sarnath Banerjee, whose series Temporary Autonomous Zones (2012) involves a dying ritual of ink and brush drawings on paper. Invoking a folkloric sensibility, Banerjee's work explores the evolution of nation estates as solitary islands of utopia.
Setareh Shahbazi further embodies the act of historical layering in the photographic series "Spectral Days" (2013–ongoing). Here, the artist collects found personal photo archives, and layers them through a series of effects, which involve numerous acts of printing, physical tampering, and subsequent reprinting.
In the single-channel video The Mute Tongue, 2010/2015, Mounira Al-Solh explores the performed possibilities of language, taking Arabic proverbs as her starting point. For this work, the artist invited a Croatian performer to enact a series of 19 proverbs that are used in daily life in Lebanon and in other Arabic-speaking countries.

Before History aspires to function as a meditation on how lived experience can act as an allegory of the geological processes that govern our world. It takes its inspiration from the accelerated nature by which history has been formed in the 21st century, and considers the decades that preceded it.

The Abraaj Group Art Prize is globally unique in awarding talented artists on the basis of proposals rather than completed works. Every year, The Abraaj Group Art Prize winners have gone on to achieve greater accolades. Past winners have been exhibited at Venice Biennale, Documenta, Sharjah Biennial, Kochi Muziris Biennial, Biennale of Sydney and La Biennale de Montreal, to name a few. In addition, the works have been loaned to a number of museums, including the Centre Pompidou, Paris; MAXXI, Rome; Museum of Art and Design, New York; Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon; Wien Kunsthalle, Vienna; Singapore Art Museum, Singapore and Tensta Konstall, Stockholm.

"Each year the winning artists have pushed the boundaries of their chosen medium, producing work that is universally accessible even whilst they highlight the particulars which inform and inspire their art making," said Savita Apte, Chair of The Abraaj Group Art Prize.

The selection committee for The Abraaj Group Art Prize comprises leading experts in the field of visual arts including: Savita Apte, Chair, the Abraaj Group Art Prize; Antonia Carver, Director, Art Dubai; Dana Farouki, Patron, Trustee, MoMA PS1 / Creative Time; Dubai/New York; Salwa Mikdadi, art historian, Co-Founder/Ex-Director, Cultural and Visual Arts Resource / ICWA; Co-Founder, Association of Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran and Turkey (AMCA); Abu Dhabi; Jessica Morgan, Director, Dia Art Foundation; Fayeeza Naqvi, patron, Founding Trustee, Aman Foundation / Aangan Trust; Founding Director, Saharay Welfare Organisation, Dubai; member, TATE MENAAC & SAAC committees; and Frederic Sicre, Managing Director, The Abraaj Group.

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17 Mar 2015

The Abraaj Group Art Prize’s Seventh Edition Presented At Art Dubai 2015

Dubai, UAE, 17 March 2015: The inauguration of the highly anticipated seventh Abraaj Group Art Prize exhibition features Moroccan Yto Barrada’s newly commissioned work entitled Faux Départ (False Start). The artwork has been developed in close collaboration with guest curator Omar Kholeif since June 2014.

In Faux Départ, Barrada questions the authenticity of history and museology through the study of paleontology in Morocco. The exhibition will also feature previous works by the three Abraaj Group Art Prize shortlisted artists: Temporary Autonomous Zones 2012 by Sarnath Banerjee, Spectral Days 2013 by Setareh Shahbazi and Mute Tongue 2010 by Mounira Al Solh.

Now in its seventh edition, The Abraaj Group Art Prize is globally unique in awarding talented artists on the basis of proposals rather than completed works. Every year, The Abraaj Group Art Prize winners have gone on to achieve greater accolades. Past winners have been exhibited at Venice Biennale, Dokumenta, Sharjah Biennial, Gwanju Biennial and Kochi Muziris Biennial to name a few. In addition, the works have been loaned to a number of museums including the Centre Pompidou, Paris, Maxxi, Rome, Museum of Art and Design, New York.

The Abraaj Group is a leading investor operating in global growth markets. Frederic Sicre, Managing Director at The Abraaj Group said: “Empowering potential across growth markets to build sustainable businesses and communities is at the core of what we do. The Abraaj Group Art Prize empowers emerging artists in the region with a platform to showcase their works to the international art community, shining a spotlight on exceptional artistic talent and fostering the growth of cultural entrepreneurs. As the Abraaj Group Art Prize turns seven, we are delighted to welcome Yto Barrada into our network of winners. She joins a community of 26 artists who are global ambassadors for art from the region and who continue to act as role models for a younger generation of artists”.

Savita Apte, Chair of The Abraaj Group Art Prize, added: “Each year the winning artists have pushed the boundaries of their chosen medium, producing work that is universally accessible even whilst they highlight the particulars which inform and inspire their art making”.

Guest Curator Omar Kholeif commented: “Each year, the works of the Abraaj Group Art Prize have been diverse, creatively reflecting the dynamic ecosystem of the region. I was privileged to curate The Abraaj Group Art Prize this year as working with one body of work focuses on a richness that is rarely explored. It has been fascinating working with Yto, as we explored a representation of the historical events forming the cultural-rich Morocco which we view today.”

The Selection Committee for The Abraaj Group Art Prize comprises leading experts in the field of visual arts including: Antonia Carver, Director, Art Dubai; Dana Farouki, Patron; Salwa Mikdadi, art historian and curator; Jessica Morgan, Director, Dia Art Foundation; Fayeeza Naqvi, Patron; Nada Raza, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern and Julia Peyton-Jones, Co-Director, The Serpentine Gallery.

ENDS
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For media enquiries, please contact:
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For photos, please visit the Press Gallery section on our website:
http://artdubai.ae/press-images?subjectId=94

Notes to the Editor:

About The Abraaj Group Art Prize:

The aim of the prize is to empower potential and give often under-represented, contemporary artists the resources to further develop their talent. Artists are invited to submit proposals for new artworks they would like to produce. Once chosen by the Selection Committee, the artists go on to produce the works. The artists collaborate with an internationally renowned curator. This allows them to tap the latest trends, while the prize gives them a global platform to showcase their works and their region. The prize reflects Abraaj’s own investment philosophy, which is to take viable businesses with great potential, and create regional and global champions. To date, the 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012 works were unveiled at Art Dubai and artworks have been exhibited at several venues in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Gulf and the US including: The National Museum of Carthage, Tunis, Tunisia (2012), the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India (2012-13), the Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2012); Future of a Promise, collateral event of the 54th Venice Biennale, Italy (2011); Museum of Photography, Braunschweig, Germany (2012), La Triennale, Palais De Tokyo, Paris, France (2012); Parasol Unit, London, UK (2012-13); Museum of Arts and Design, New York, US (2009 & 2010); Arthr M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian’s Museum of Asian Art, Washington D.C., US (2012-13); Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai (2009, 2010, ongoing), the Maraya Arts Centre, Sharjah (2010 & 2014), UAE and Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm (2013). www.abraajgroupartprize.com

About the 2015 exhibition:

‘Before History’ is an exhibition that explores the layering of time through historical artifice. As its starting point, it considers the notion of history as a constructed sphere, constantly in flux, simultaneously being buried and excavated.
In a world where everything is hyper-mediated through screens, how is one able to construct a sense of an individual history? The artists in the exhibition both individually and collectively pose questions about the sedimentation of our shared culture.
The starting point and inspiration for the exhibition is a new body of work by Yto Barrada entitled Faux Départ (False Start), (2015). Here, Barrada questions the veracity that artifacts play in the context of modern day museology. Through a study of paleontology in Morocco, the artist questions: how does one fabricate a history? How does the act of digging reveal the artifice behind heritage? How significant is authenticity to the production of an identity? Faux Départ (False Start) encourages us to look ‘before’ history and to consider the inevitable subjectivity by which the everyday world is framed.
Historical tradition is preserved in the satirical work of Sarnath Banerjee through his series Temporary Autonomous Zones, (2012). Setareh Shahbazi further embodies the act of historical layering in the photographic series Spectral Days, (2013-ongoing), while in the single-channel video The Mute Tongue, (2010/2015), Mounira Al-Solh explores the performed possibilities of language, taking Arabic proverbs as her starting point.
‘Before History’ serves as a meditation on how lived experience can act as an allegory of the geological processes that govern our world.

About the Guest Curator:

Omar Kholeif is currently Curator at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, Senior Curator at HOME, Manchester, as well as Senior Editor of Ibraaz Publishing. Previously he was Curator at FACT, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool. His books include Vision, Memory and Media (2010) and You Are Here: Art After the Internet (2014) and Jeddah Childhood circa 1994 (2014). In 2015, he curated the Cyprus Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale and Focus: MENAM at the Armory Show, New York.

Winner, The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2015:

Yto Barrada (Moroccan, b.1971, Paris) studied history and political science at the Sorbonne and photography in New York. Her work—including photography, film, sculpture, prints and installations—began by exploring the peculiar situation of her hometown Tangier. Her work has been exhibited at Tate Modern (London), MoMA (New York), Renaissance Society (Chicago), Witte de With (Rotterdam), Haus der Kunst (Munich), Guggenheim (Berlin), the Centre Pompidou (Paris), Whitechapel Gallery (London), and the 2007 and 2011 Venice Biennale.
She was the Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year for 2011, after which her exhibit RIFFS toured widely. Barrada is also the founding director of Cinémathèque de Tanger. She is a recipient of the 2013-2014 Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography (Peabody Museum at Harvard University). She has published several books, and her first comprehensive monograph was published by JRP Ringier in 2013. Barrada is represented by Sfeir-Semler Gallery (Beirut, Hamburg), Pace Gallery (London), and Galerie Polaris (Paris).

Shortlisted Artists, The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2015:

Sarnath Banerjee studied biochemistry from Delhi University and Image and Communication from Goldsmiths, University of London. He wrote graphic novels Corridor, Barn Owl’s Wondrous Capers and The Harappa Files, published by Penguin, Harper-Collins and Denoel. He has received several fellowships, such as the MacArthur, Charles Wallace, Egide Bursary, and IFA. Banerjee has been a fellow of Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart and Institute of Advanced Studies, Budapest. His drawings and videos have been exhibited at Paris-Delhi-Bombay, Centre Pompidou, Paris; Indian Highway 5, MAXXI-National Museum of XXI Century Art, Rome, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Julia Peyton-Jones,(Directors, Serpentine Gallery); Chalo India!, Mori Art Museum, 2008; Karton Gallery, Budapest, 2007, Kunstmuseum Bern, 2007; The Museum Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino, 2006; IFA Gallery, Berlin, 2005; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London June 2003. Banerjee has also participated in the Hong Kong Art Fair (2012), Fiac, Paris (2011), Frieze Art Fair (2011 and 2009) London, Arco, Madrid (2009) and the Sao Paolo Biennale in 2008. In 2012 Banerjee had a solo exhibition at the CCA in Glasgow, and was commissioned by Frieze Projects East for a public arts project during the London Olympics. He writes a weekly column of visual commentary called ‘Enchanted Geography’ for The Hindu. Sarnath is represented by Project 88 (Mumbai).

Setareh Shahbazi was born in Tehran in 1978 and moved to Germany in 1985. From 1997 to 2003 she studied Scenography and Media Arts at the State Academy for Art and Design in Karlsruhe. Her solo exhibitions were held at Gypsum Gallery, Cairo (2013); 98weeks Project Space, Beirut (2010); Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara (2008); Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg (2006) and Montgomery, Berlin (2006); and Karlsruher Kunstverein (2004). Her group shows include ‘When It Starts Dripping from the Ceiling’, Kadist, Paris, curated by Bassam El Baroni (2012); ‘Jostari dar Salighe va Ehsass’, Asar Gallery, Tehran (2010); ‘Whenever it starts, it is the right time!’, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, curated by Chus Martinez (2007); ‘Rainbow’ at Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut; ‘J’en Rêve’ at Fondation Cartier, Paris (2005) and ‘Iranian Pool, Rooseum’, Malmö, curated by Chus Martinez (2003). A one-year research residency by DAAD brought her to Beirut for the first time in 2003 to collaborate with the Arab Image Foundation. She has further been invited for residencies at Townhouse Gallery, Cairo (2005) and Villa Romana, Florence (guest artist 2011). Shahbazi received a publication grant from Stiftung Kunstfonds, Bonn for her artist book Spectral Days (2011) and her catalogue Oh, no, no, ... – The Crystal Series was awarded The Most Beautiful Swiss Books (2005). After spending some years in Lebanon, Setareh Shahbazi currently lives and works in Berlin and travels regularly to Iran. Setareh is represented by Gypsum Gallery, Cairo.

Mounira Al Solh started painting in 1996 with Hussein Madi and then completed a degree in painting from the Lebanese University. In 2001 she won the Kentertainment Painting Award in Beirut and went on to the Rietveld Akademy in Amsterdam where she found her voice in multidisciplinary practices. After that, she worked for two years in a studio at the Rijksakademie before being offered artist residencies in South Africa, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and the USA. Al Solh has participated in several group shows including: the first Lebanese Pavilion in Venice, Home Works IV and VI, the 11th Istanbul Biennial, Manifesta 8, Tate Modern, SALT Istanbul, the New Museum, the 5th Marrakech Biennial and Art Dubai Projects 2014. Her works have been presented in solo shows at Fennel, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut; SMBA and rongwrong, Amsterdam; CCA, Glasgow; and Kunsthalle Lissabon in Lisbon. In 2007, she was awarded the Jury Prize of Videobrasil IEA Festival, The Black Magic Woman Award, The Uriot Prize of the Rijksakademie, and was nominated for the Volkskrant Award in 2010 in the Netherlands. Mounira co-edits NOA (Not Only Arabic), an ongoing magazine she created in 2008, which has expanded into a collaborative project: noa language school. She also taught part-time at the Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem, the Rietveld Akademie in Amsterdam and ALBA (Académie Libanaise des Beaux Arts) in Lebanon. Mounira is represented by Sfeir-Semler Gallery (Beirut, Hamburg).

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15 Sep 2014

الإعلان عن الفنانين الفائزين والقيّم الضيف لـ«جائزة مجموعة أبراج للفنون» 2015

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15 Sep 2014

The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2015 Winning Artists and Guest Curator Announced

Announcing the Winning Artists and Guest Curator for The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2015
Dubai, UAE, September 15, 2014: The Abraaj Group Art Prize announced today the winning artist for its seventh edition, the guest curator and the three shortlisted artists participating in the accompanying exhibition at Art Dubai 2015 (March 18-21, 2015).

The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2015 Winner:
• Yto Barrada

The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2015 Shortlisted Artists:
• Sarnath Banerjee
• Setareh Shahbazi
• Mounira Al Solh

The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2015 Guest Curator:
• Omar Kholeif

Building further on the format of recent years, The Abraaj Group Art Prize now awards the $100,000 commission to one artist. Yto Barrada’s newly commissioned work, produced for The Abraaj Group Art Prize, will be part of an exhibition at Art Dubai, March 18-21, 2015. The exhibition will also feature previous works by the three shortlisted artists—Sarnath Banerjee, Setareh Shahbazi and Mounira Al Solh. The exhibition will be curated by Omar Kholeif, who has been selected as The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2015 Guest Curator.

The award affords the winner the opportunity of developing an ambitious project which wouldn’t otherwise be possible. The accompanying exhibition is a platform for recognising particularly notable artists in the region and for promoting their work on the international stage that is Art Dubai.

The Guest Curator, Omar Kholeif, will be working closely with the artists, and has the responsibility of curating and producing the exhibition and an accompanying catalogue. Accepting the role of Guest Curator, Omar Kholeif commented: “I am particularly excited by the new format of The Abraaj Group Art Prize. By being able to access existing bodies of work alongside the new commission, there will be potential for a rich storytelling experience and a rigorous curatorial framework.”

The Abraaj Group, a leading private equity manager investing in global growth markets, launched The Abraaj Group Art Prize in 2008 to foster and reward artistic development in the region. Marking the announcement, Frederic Sicre, Managing Director at The Abraaj Group said: “The Abraaj Group Art Prize is the flagship of our arts patronage programme and reflects our unwavering commitment to the promotion of the arts. The art scene in the region has been expanding at a remarkable pace, and as the prize turns seven, we are excited about the creative and innovative talent showcased. The Abraaj Group Art Prize has lent artworks to over 30 institutions worldwide, commissioned six publications and this year’s winners will bring the works of art in the Abraaj Group Art Prize Collection to 26.”

Savita Apte, Chair of The Abraaj Group Art Prize, added: “The new iteration of The Abraaj Group Art Prize reflects an international acknowledgement of the diverse and mature art ecosystem in the MENASA region. Each year it will focus on a singular winner but also anticipate future winners by showcasing a cast of shortlisted artists. The 2015 winner and shortlisted artists have already participated in various exhibitions to critical acclaim, and are seen as influential on their peers and the art world at large.”

The jury for The Abraaj Group Art Prize comprises acclaimed personalities in the field of the visual arts including: Antonia Carver, Director, Art Dubai; Dana Farouki, Patron; Salwa Mikdadi, art historian and curator; Jessica Morgan, Daskalopoulos Curator, International Art, Tate; and Nada Raza, The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2014 Guest Curator.

Previous winners of The Abraaj Group Art Prize have gone on to achieve further accolades, and are recognised as established artists in the international art world. Works from The Abraaj Group Art Prize Collection are increasingly requested for loan by leading institutions and biennials. Works by the 2014 Abraaj Group Art Prize winners—Abbas Akhavan, Kamrooz Aram, Bouchra Khalili, Basim Magdy and Anup Mathew Thomas—have gone on loan to, among others, the Gwangju Biennale 2014, 8th Seoul International Media Art Biennial, Lothringer 13, Munich and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon.

Biographies of the winner, shortlisted artists and guest curator are available at: www.abraajgroupartprize.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AbraajArtPrize | Twitter: twitter.com/AbraajArtPrize

-ends-

Notes to editors:

About The Abraaj Group Art Prize:
The Abraaj Group Art Prize was founded in 2008 and is now in its seventh edition. The aim of the prize is to empower potential and give often under-represented contemporary artists the resources to further develop their talent. Following the application and jury process, four artists are shortlisted for the prize and one (of the four) artists awarded the $100,000 commission. The three shortlisted artists receive a cash prize and are represented in a group exhibition at Art Dubai (March 18-21, 2015) through previous works, which will be carefully selected by the guest curator in liaison with the artist.

The prize reflects Abraaj’s own investment philosophy, which is to take viable businesses with great potential, and create regional and global champions. To date, the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 works were presented at Art Dubai and artworks then gone on loan to exhibitions at Biennale de Montreal, Montreal; Boshossian Foundation, Brussels; Villa Arson, Nice; Wien Kunsthalle, Vienna; Singapore Art Museum, Singapore; Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art, Hangzhou; Tensta Konstall, Stockholm; Kochi Muziris Biennial, Kochi; Parasol Unit, London; Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah; among other venues.

For more on the history and future of the prize, visit www.abraajgroupartprize.com

About Art Dubai:
Art Dubai’s ninth edition (March 18–21, 2015) is held in partnership with The Abraaj Group. Sponsored by Emaar, the fair takes place Madinat Jumeirah. The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority is a strategic partner of Art Dubai and supports the fair's year-round education programme.

Art Dubai includes more than 85 gallery exhibitions each year, featured across three programmes–Contemporary, Modern and Marker. The fair also has the largest not-for-profit programme of any such event, worldwide. Its programming includes residencies, commissioned artists' projects, a live radio station and cinema; the five-day Global Art Forum; an exhibition of works by winners of the annual The Abraaj Group Art Prize; and Campus Art Dubai, a year-round art school for UAE-based artists and curators. www.artdubai.ae

Winner, The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2015:

Yto Barrada (Moroccan, b.1971, Paris) studied history and political science at the Sorbonne and photography in New York. Her work—including photography, film, sculpture, prints and installations—began by exploring the peculiar situation of her hometown Tangier. Her work has been exhibited at Tate Modern (London), MoMA (New York), Renaissance Society (Chicago), Witte de With (Rotterdam), Haus der Kunst (Munich), Guggenheim (Berlin), the Centre Pompidou (Paris), Whitechapel Gallery (London), and the 2007 and 2011 Venice Biennale.

She was the Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year for 2011, after which her exhibit RIFFS toured widely. Barrada is also the founding director of Cinémathèque de Tanger. She is a recipient of the 2013-2014 Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography (Peabody Museum at Harvard University). She has published several books, and her first comprehensive monograph was published by JRP Ringier in 2013. Barrada is represented by Sfeir-Semler Gallery (Beirut, Hamburg), Pace Gallery (London), and Galerie Polaris (Paris).

Shortlisted artists, The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2015:

Sarnath Banerjee studied biochemistry from Delhi University and Image and communication from Goldsmiths University. He wrote graphic novels Corridor, Barn Owl’s Wondrous Capers and The Harappa Files, published by Penguin, Harper-Collins and Denoel. He has received several fellowships, such as the MacArthur, Charles Wallace, Egide Bursary, and IFA. Banerjee has been a fellow of Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart and Institute of Advanced Studies, Budapest. His drawings and videos have been exhibited at Paris-Delhi-Bombay, Centre Pompidou, Paris; Indian Highway 5, MAXXI-National Museum of XXI Century Art, Rome, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Julia Peyton-Jones,(Directors, Serpentine Gallery); Chalo India!, Mori Art Museum, 2008; Karton Gallery, Budapest, 2007, Kunstmuseum Bern, 2007; The Museum Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino, 2006; IFA Gallery, Berlin, 2005; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London June 2003. Banerjee has also participated in Hong Kong Art Fair (2012), Fiac, Paris (2011), Frieze Art Fair (2011 and 2009) London, Arco, Madrid (2009) and the Sao Paolo Biennale in 2008. In 2012 Banerjee had a solo exhibition at the CCA in Glasgow, and was commissioned by Frieze Projects East for a public arts project during the London Olympics. He writes a weekly column of visual commentary called ‘Enchanted Geography’ for The Hindu. Sarnath is represented by Project 88 (Mumbai).

Setareh Shahbazi was born in Tehran in 1978 and moved to Germany in 1985. From 1997 to 2003 she studied Scenography and Media Arts at the State Academy for Art and Design in Karlsruhe. Her solo exhibitions were held at Gypsum Gallery, Cairo (2013); 98weeks Project Space, Beirut (2010); Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara (2008); Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg (2006) and Montgomery, Berlin (2006); and Karlsruher Kunstverein (2004). Her group shows include ‘When It Starts Dripping from the Ceiling’, Kadist, Paris, curated by Bassam El Baroni (2012); ‘Jostari dar Salighe va Ehsass’, Asar Gallery, Tehran (2010); ‘Whenever it starts, it is the right time!’, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, curated by Chus Martinez (2007); ‘Rainbow’ at Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut; ‘J’en Rêve’ at Fondation Cartier, Paris (2005) and ‘Iranian Pool, Rooseum’, Malmö, curated by Chus Martinez (2003). A one-year research residency by DAAD brought her to Beirut for the first time in 2003 to collaborate with the Arab Image Foundation. She has further been invited for residencies at Townhouse Gallery, Cairo (2005) and Villa Romana, Florence (guest artist 2011). Shahbazi received a publication grant from Stiftung Kunstfonds, Bonn for her artist book Spectral Days (2011) and her catalogue Oh, no, no, ... – The Crystal Series was awarded The Most Beautiful Swiss Books (2005). After spending some years in Lebanon, Setareh Shahbazi currently lives and works in Berlin and travels regularly to Iran. Setareh is represented by Gypsum Gallery, Cairo.

Mounira Al Solh started painting in 1996 with Hussein Madi and then completed a degree in painting from the Lebanese University. In 2001 she won the Kentertainment Painting Award in Beirut and went on to the Rietveld Akademy in Amsterdam where she found her voice in multidisciplinary practices. After that, she worked for two years in a studio at the Rijksakademie before being offered artist residencies in South Africa, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and the USA. Al Solh has participated in several group shows including: the first Lebanese Pavillion in Venice, Home Works IV and VI, the 11th Istanbul Biennial, Manifesta 8, Tate Modern, SALT Istanbul, the New Museum, the 5th Marrakech Biennial and Art Dubai Projects 2014. Her works have been presented in solo shows at Fennel, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut; SMBA and rongwrong, Amsterdam; CCA, Glasgow; and Kunsthalle Lissabon in Lisbon. In 2007, she was awarded the Jury Prize of Videobrasil IEA Festival, The Black Magic Woman Award, The Uriot Prize of the Rijksakademie, and was nominated for the Volkskrant Award in 2010 in the Netherlands. Mounira co-edits NOA (Not Only Arabic), an ongoing magazine she created in 2008, which has expanded into a collaborative project: noa language school. She also taught part-time at the Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem, the Rietveld Akademie in Amsterdam and ALBA (Académie Libanaise des Beaux Arts) in Lebanon. Mounira is represented by Sfeir-Semler Gallery (Beirut, Hamburg).

Guest Curator, The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2015:

Omar Kholeif is a writer, curator and editor. He is currently Curator at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, Senior Visiting Curator at Cornerhouse and HOME, Manchester as well as Senior Editor of Ibraaz Publishing. Previously he headed up Art and Technology at SPACE, London (where he was director of The White Building, London's centre for art and technology) and was Curator at FACT, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool. Kholeif has also been Artistic Director at the Arab British Centre, London and founding director of the UK's Arab Film Festival. In 2012, he was a co-curator of the Liverpool Biennial. He was a founding editor of Portal 9, an Arabic-English journal of urbanism and architecture. His most recent publications include, You Are Here: Art After the Internet (2014), Virgin with a Memory (For Sophia Al-Maria) (2014) and Jeddah Childhood circa 1994 (2014).

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18 Mar 2014

The Abraaj Group Art Prize’s Sixth Edition Unveiled at Art Dubai 2014

Dubai, March 18, 2014 – Today sees the inauguration of the highly anticipated sixth Abraaj Group Art Prize exhibition, with all five artist winners and guest curator present for interviews.

The winners, Abbas Akhavan and Kamrooz Aram from Iran, Basim Magdy from Egypt, Bouchra Khalili from Morocco and Anup Mathew Thomas from India have been working closely with guest curator Nada Raza since June 2013 on their ambitious projects, which are drawn together in the exhibition Bagh O Bahar: Garden and Spring on show at Art Dubai from March 18 – 22, 2014.

Now in its sixth edition, The Abraaj Group Art Prize is globally unique in awarding talented artists on the basis of proposals rather than completed works. The number of artworks that have been created during the past six years form The Abraaj Group Art Collection which now boasts twenty-six works. Since its inception the prize has evolved considerably: past winners are increasingly in the spotlight and the artworks have been loaned to major international biennials, such as Sharjah Biennial, Kochi Muziris Biennial, The Biennale of Sydney; as well as global institutions such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the Smithsonian Museum of Asian Art, Washington D.C.

The Abraaj Group is a leading investor operating in global growth markets. Frederic Sicre, Managing Director at The Abraaj Group said: “Empowering potential and creating long-term value is a theme that resonates strongly with us and is the premise upon which our business is built. The Abraaj Group Art Prize is a demonstration of our commitment to empowering exceptional artistic talent and fostering the growth of cultural entrepreneurs. As the Abraaj Group Art Prize turns six, we are delighted to bring five more artists into our network of winners. They join a community of 26 artists who are global ambassadors for arts in the region and continue to act as role models for a younger generation of artists”.

Savita Apte, Chair of The Abraaj Group Art Prize, adds: “Guest Curator Nada Raza has worked closely with the winners Abbas Akhavan, Kamrooz Aram, Bouchra Khalili, Basim Magdy and Anup Mathew Thomas to produce the exhibition Bagh O Bahar: Garden and Spring which teases out the common theme running through this year’s works whilst highlighting the diversity of each creative process. In addition, this year’s publication is a digital media experience which will annotate and animate the exhibition and features the writings of invited authors Nadeem Aslam, Githa Hariharan, Pankaj Mishra, Ruth Padel and Wiam El-Tamami.”

Guest Curator Nada Raza comments on the curatorial concept behind the exhibition: “The five winning artists presented in the 2014 edition of The Abraaj Group Art Prize were chosen on the basis of written proposals. Five literary authors were each invited to respond to a project proposal, by taking inspiration from the ground prepared by the artist. Now realised after an intensive period of research, travel and production, the completed works of art continue to demonstrate a commitment to the narrative genre, in which the environment of the garden presents itself both visually and thematically, allowing for a loose affinity, a momentary accord. The project extends beyond the physical space of the exhibition into a digital publication.”

Abbas Akhavan’s Study for a Hanging Garden is a floor-based sculptural work that looks towards the flora native to Iraq to dwell on the effects of time on power. Kamrooz Aram’s Ancient Through Modern: A Collection of Uncertain Objects, Part 1 is a wall installation that investigates the arbitrary value of cultural artifacts. Bouchra Khalili’s video Garden Conversation imagines an apocryphal conversation between twentieth-century heroes. Basim Magdy’s moving-image work The Dent invents a place that
continues to build, even as it is destroyed. And Anup Mathew Thomas’ photographic series Nurses seeks out healers who have travelled away from Kerala toward new horizons.

More information about each of the works and the curatorial concept of the show is provided below. The digital publication is available on screens inside the exhibition, as well as online at gardenandspring.com

The Selection Committee for The Abraaj Group Art Prize comprises leading experts in the field of the visual arts including: Antonia Carver, Director, Art Dubai; Dana Farouki, Patron; Glenn Lowry, Director, the Museum of Modern Art; Salwa Mikdadi, art historian and curator; Jessica Morgan, Daskalopoulos Curator, International Art, Tate and Julia Peyton-Jones, Co-Director, The Serpentine Gallery, and Fayeeza Naqvi, Patron.

-Ends-

About The Abraaj Group Art Prize

The aim of the prize is to empower potential and give often under-represented, contemporary artists the resources to further develop their talent. Artists are invited to submit proposals for new artworks they would like to produce. Once chosen by the Selection Committee, the artists go on to produce the works. The artists collaborate with an internationally renowned curator. This allows them to tap the latest trends, while the prize gives them a global platform to showcase their works and their region. The prize reflects Abraaj’s own investment philosophy, which is to take viable businesses with great potential, and create regional and global champions. To date, the 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012 works were unveiled at Art Dubai and artworks have been exhibited at several venues in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Gulf and the US including: The National Museum of Carthage, Tunis, Tunisia (2012), the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India (2012-13), the Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2012); Future of a Promise, collateral event of the 54th Venice Biennale, Italy (2011); Museum of Photography, Braunschweig, Germany (2012), La Triennale, Palais De Tokyo, Paris, France (2012); Parasol Unit, London, UK (2012-13); Museum of Arts and Design, New York, US (2009 & 2010); Arthr M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian’s Museum of Asian Art, Washington D.C., US (2012-13); Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai (2009, 2010, ongoing), the Maraya Arts Centre, Sharjah (2010 & 2014), UAE and Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm (2013). www.abraajgroupartprize.com

About the 2014 exhibition:

The exhibition Garden and Spring takes as its title that of the canonical Urdu text Bagh O Bahar, the tale of a king without an heir. He encounters a group of itinerant dervishes who share cautionary tales, following the epistolary conventions of the epic form – adventure and heroism, greed and fallibility, miracle and redemption.

The five winning artists presented in the 2014 edition of The Abraaj Group Art Prize were chosen on the basis of written proposals. Their selection was determined, in part, by the persuasive powers of their textual descriptions. Now realised after an intensive period of research, travel and production, the completed works demonstrate a commitment to the narrative genre. They resist dominant histories and systems of knowledge, reflect on forms of displacement, conjure up ghosts and foretell the future.

The title Bagh O Bahar, which first appeared when the commissioned text was adapted by Mir Amman, was irrelevant to its content. It was a chronogram of its year of publication (1217 Hijri) at the Fort William College in Calcutta, where British officers were taught languages of the region. For the works that comprise this exhibition, the environment of the garden is not as arbitrary; it presents itself both visually and thematically, allowing for a loose affinity, a momentary accord. The liminal spaces of the Persian garden – from the legendary Golestan of Saa’di to the terrestrial geometry perfected by the Mughals – were designed for leisure and contemplation, for poetic encounters or philosophical conversations.

In this expansive spirit, five literary authors were each invited to respond to a project proposal, taking inspiration from the ground prepared by the artist. The gauntlet: to take as a point of departure the proposal itself, a space of flux and possibility. 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.

About the 2014 art works:

Abbas Akhavan
Study for a Hanging Garden 2014
Cast bronze, cotton fabric, dimensions variable

Study for a Hanging Garden is an act of commemoration, and also an attempt to archive plants belonging to regions around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the title hinting at the legendary gardens of Babylon. Plant taxonomy thrived as a scientific discipline in colonial times, when 19th century researchers gained access to new areas and organised expeditions around the world gathering species, and thereby becoming the gatekeepers of scientific knowledge. Akhavan has traced botanical species such as those held at London’s Kew Gardens, in particular endemic species that grow in present-day Iraq, such as Iris barnumae, Astragalus lobophorus and Campanula acutiloba. Damage to their habitat, firstly by the destruction of salt marshes and then by the effects of war, has made tracing them a difficult task.

Rooted in the funerary tradition of commemorating the dead, monuments often record public figures or landmark historical events. They demonstrate strength and attempt to stimulate forms of nationalist or collective memory despite the inevitability of shifts in power. Sculpted from photographic documentation and cast in bronze, these flowers, stems, leaves and roots are displayed in groupings which rest on the ground, resisting the verticality and singularity of traditional monuments. Enlarged to a human scale, they are displayed on simple white sheets, as if captured while being transported.

Kamrooz Aram
Ancient Through Modern: A Collection of Uncertain Objects, Part 1 2014
Mixed media, dimensions variable (approximately 244 x 434 x 56 cm)

Ancient Through Modern: A Collection of Uncertain Objects, Part 1 is a wall installation consisting of painting, ceramics and collage arranged to echo the displays in popular museums such as the Louvre in Paris, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, or the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Taking cultural nostalgia as its subject, this work investigates how museums, and the objects treasured within them, serve a longing for mythical pasts and support claims of origin. Simultaneously, the aesthetic regime of Modernism is privileged, considered the apex of the visual art of our time. Kamrooz Aram blurs the distance between ancient and modern, manufactured and made, revealing the persistence of archetypal forms and the irrationality of cultural value as it is ascribed to material objects.

Antiques and antiquities are placed in visual unity with replicas of such objects, commissioned from skilled makers such as the Iznik Foundation in Turkey, or bought from museum shops. A bowl from Kashan, for example, is displayed in a similar manner to a mid-century modern Danish piece designed by Marianne Starck, from her Persia Glaze series; a glaze with a crackling effect used in combination with a blue glaze that evokes the cobalt blues of Persian ceramics. In the backdrop, paintings and framed paper collage works reference stark Suprematist forms and the aesthetic conventions of high Modernism.

Bouchra Khalili
Garden Conversation 2014
Digital film, colour, sound, 16 min 22 sec

Garden Conversation restages a mythical encounter between two renegade heroes, seeking their wisdom for our time. In January 1959, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara met the exiled hero of the Rif War (1921–1926), Abdelkarim Al Khattabi, at the Moroccan Embassy in Cairo. An anti-colonialist, Khattabi resisted two
armies, the French and Spanish, and his movement pioneered modern guerilla techniques that inspired many leaders, including Guevara and Ho Chi Minh.

Bouchra Khalili's film blurs historic fact and poetic fiction to conjecture what the ghosts of Guevara and Khattabi might speak of were they to meet today. Their conversation is scripted from the writings of Khattabi and Guevara regarding struggle, its methodology and its purpose. A young man and woman who speak Moroccan Arabic and Iraqi Arabic – yet fully understand each other – embody their ghosts. They meet in one of the oldest surviving colonial possessions in the world – Melilla, in the Moroccan Rif – where Khattabi lived, was imprisoned, and became a revolutionary.

The film was shot on location in Los Pinos de Rostrogordo, a park that is part forest and part garden, surrounded by the sea. It overlooks the border fence that was built to prevent north and sub-Saharan immigrants from reaching Europe and that serves to isolate Melilla as a Spanish territory from its Moroccan context.

Basim Magdy
The Dent 2014
Super 16mm film transferred to full HD, colour, sound, 19 min

Starting with shiny rooftops and ending with the seemingly insignificant demise of the last circus elephant of its kind, The Dent weaves together loosely linked events and irrational occurrences to reflect upon collective failure and hopefulness. An anonymous little town dreams of international recognition, even as it becomes obvious that its efforts are misguided. The spectre of defeat may only be countered by maintaining a shared delusion, which keeps growing even as its residents continue to labour and make sacrifices.

Basim Magdy’s moving image work layers film footage and text to produce a surrealistic visual essay, balancing the bleakness of contemporary conditions with sensitive humour. Shot between Paris, New York, Brussels, Quebec, Basel, Madeira, Prague and Venice, among other locations, the scenes are lent an aura similar to that of early cinema by the familiar grain and saturated tones of 16mm film, a medium that the artist favours. Magdy’s film draws from life, capturing absurd details and everyday beauty, seeking the uncanny within man-made environments. Ambient sound and music combine with text authored by the artist, deliberately composed to create a hypnotic sensory experience, making implausible events seem briefly possible.

Anup Mathew Thomas
Nurses 2014
C-print, Diasec, 48 photographs, 60 x 80 cm each

Nurses is a group of portraits capturing women of Keralan origin employed in hospitals and care facilities around the world. Anup Mathew Thomas works primarily with the photograph and is interested in the slippages between documentary and artistic practice, frequently deploying carefully staged portraiture. Nurses are the single largest group of professional female migrants from Kerala, where the economy is largely dependent on foreign remittances. Through networks of friendship and filiation, Thomas located women from the nursing profession willing to be included in this typological project.

Each subject was asked to pose in her professional uniform in an outdoor setting close to her place of work. Marking the dislocation from Kerala, the isolated figure is placed centrally within the adoptive habitat, which ranges from forests in Europe and hills in North America to deserts in the Middle East. Displayed in a grid, the images merge to form a patchwork background from which the individuals emerge, often smiling, confidently looking directly at the camera. Transplanted onto new locations, they come together as a visual record of the possible variations within contemporary migratory patterns. The photographs are accompanied by an index, a publication which provides individual biographical details: names, professional background and current location.

Brief biographies of the 2014 winners:

Abbas Akhavan’s practice ranges from site-specific ephemeral installations to drawing, video, and performance. The domestic sphere, as a forked space between hospitality and hostility, has been an on-going area of research. More recent works have shifted focus, wandering onto spaces just outside the home – the balcony, the garden, the backyard, and other domesticated landscapes. Akhavan is the recipient of Kunstpreis Berlin (2012).

Kamrooz Aram’s diverse practice often engages the complicated relationship between traditional non-Western art and Western Modernism. Through a variety of forms including painting, collage, drawing, and installation, Aram finds the potential for image-making to function critically in its use as a tool for negotiating history. Born in 1978 in Shiraz, Iran, he lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Bouchra Khalili is a Berlin-based Moroccan artist. Her work has been internationally exhibited, at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013), La Triennale at Palais de Tokyo (2012), the 18th Biennale of Sydney (2012), and the 10th Sharjah Biennial (2011), among others. She was recently awarded the Sam Art Prize 2013 and DAAD-Artist in Berlin (2012).

Basim Magdy was born in Assiut, Egypt in 1977 and lives in Basel and Cairo. His work appeared recently at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Biennale Jogja XII, Yogyakarta; the 13th Istanbul Biennial; Sharjah Biennial 11; La Triennale 2012, Palais de Tokyo, Paris; and the Future Generation Art Prize, Pinchuk Art Center, Kiev. His films have been screened at Tate Modern and Film Festival Rotterdam, among other places.

Anup Mathew Thomas is a visual artist who lives and works in Bangalore. He has exhibited in group shows at Kochi Muziris Biennale, Kochi; the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; the Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; Centre de la Imatge, Barcelona; and the Arnolfini, Bristol, among other places. He has had solo exhibitions at Gasworks, London; the Contemporary Image Collective, Cairo; and Lothringer13, Munich.

Brief biography of the 2014 guest curator:

Nada Raza is from Karachi, and currently works in London where she is assistant curator at Tate Modern focusing on South Asia. She was assistant curator for the exhibition Meschac Gaba: Museum of Contemporary African Art at Tate Modern in 2013. Raza holds an MA in Critical Writing and Curatorial Practice from the Chelsea College of Art and has previously worked with Iniva and Green Cardamom in London, where she contributed to curatorial projects including Lines of Control (Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Cornell University 2012) and Social Fabric (Iniva, 2012). She writes regularly for regional and international publications. She once lived in Dubai.

Brief biographies of the 2014 commissioned writers:

Nadeem Aslam is the author of four novels. The first, Season of the Rainbirds, was written in 1993. Maps for Lost Lovers (2004) was longlisted for the Booker Prize, shortlisted for the IMPAC Prize, and awarded the Kiriyama Prize and the Encore Award. The Wasted Vigil (2008) was described by A. S. Byatt as “unforgettable ... tragic and beautifully written”. His most recent is The Blind Man’s Garden (2013). Born in Pakistan, he now lives in England.

Githa Hariharan is a Delhi-based author. She has written novels, short stories, essays, and newspaper columns. Hariharan’s first novel, The Thousand Faces of Night (1992), won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book. Her work since then includes the short story collection The Art of Dying, and the novels The Ghosts of Vasu Master, When Dreams Travel, In Times of Siege, and Fugitive Histories.

Pankaj Mishra is the author of several books, including From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia (2013). He is a columnist for Bloomberg View and the New York Times Book Review and contributes literary and political essays frequently to the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, the London Review of Books, and the Guardian

Ruth Padel is a prize-winning UK poet. Her collections include a meditation on human and animal migration, a biography in verse of her ancestor Charles Darwin, and Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth, poems in and around the Middle East. She is Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and teaches poetry at Kings College, London. Wiam El-Tamami's work has appeared in Granta, Jadaliyya, Banipal, Alif, and various anthologies. She has lived in Vietnam, England, and Kuwait, and is currently based in Cairo, where she writes, translates short stories and poetry, cooks, revolts, and rests her itchy feet.

For further information, please contact:

Curator, Abraaj Group Art Prize
Email: abraajprize@artdubai.ae
Tel: +971 4506 4400
Twitter twitter@abraajartprize
Facebook facebook.com/abraajartprize

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16 Jun 2013

الفائزين بجائزة مجموعة أبراج للفنون 2014

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11 Jun 2013

The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2014 Winners Announced

The Abraaj Group Art Prize, now in its sixth year, announced today the five winning artists for its 2014 edition. The Abraaj Group Art Prize is awarded annually to five artists on the basis of proposals for new artworks, which become permanent additions to The Abraaj Group Art Collection following their unveiling at Art Dubai (March 19 - 22, 2014). The Abraaj Group, a leading private equity manager investing in global growth markets, launched The Abraaj Group Art Prize in 2008 to foster and reward artistic development in the region.

The 2014 winners are an internationally-acclaimed and diverse group combining outstanding artistic ability with a desire to engage and champion the arts throughout the region. They have a strong exhibition history regionally and internationally, and have shown works in recent editions of Art Dubai, the Sharjah Biennial and Kochi-Muziris Biennale, among other prestigious, international art events. The prize affords winners the opportunity of developing ambitious projects which without the granted funds would not have been possible. The winning artists announced by The Abraaj Group Art Prize are:

• Abbas Akhavan (Iran)
• Anup Mathew Thomas (India)
• Basim Magdy (Egypt)
• Bouchra Khalili (Morocco)
• Kamrooz Aram (Iran)

The artists will now start working closely with the selected Guest Curator for 2014, Nada Raza (Pakistan). She has the responsibility of supervising the production of the artworks, their display at Art Dubai (from March 19 - 22, 2014), and the publishing of an annual catalogue. Raza’s appointment was announced in May 2013.
The Selection Committee for the prize comprises leading experts in the field of the visual arts including: Antonia Carver, Director, Art Dubai; Dana Farouki, Patron; Salwa Mikdadi, art historian and curator; Jessica Morgan, Daskalopoulos Curator, International Art, Tate; Glenn Lowry, Director, the Museum of Modern Art; and Murtaza Vali, The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2013 Guest Curator.

Marking the announcement, Frederic Sicre, Managing Director at The Abraaj Group said:
“Now in its sixth year, The Abraaj Group Art Prize has grown to be a benchmark for creative excellence in contemporary art practice, and embodies The Abraaj Group’s unwavering commitment to nurturing exceptional talent and empowering potential across global growth markets.”

Savita Apte, Chair of The Abraaj Group Art Prize, added:
“The Abraaj Group Art Prize has consistently shone a spotlight on diverse creative talent from the MENASA region and propelled its winners to even greater achievements. It will be exciting to see how these five artists work with our guest curator towards the exhibition that will be unveiled at Art Dubai in March 2014.”

Previous winners of The Abraaj Group Art Prize have gone on to achieve further accolades, and are recognised as established artists in the international arts world. New works by winning artists are being acquired by important collections such as MOMA and Tate, and works from The Abraaj Group Art Collection are increasingly requested for loan by leading institutions and biennials. In June this year, a work by 2013 Abraaj Group Art Prize winner Rayyane Tabet is displayed at the 55th Venice Biennale as part of The Future Generation Art Prize. 2010 prize winner Kader Attia recently opened his first institutional solo exhibition in Germany; 2012 winner Wael Shawky participated in Sharjah Biennial 11; and both Attia and Shawky have displayed works at dOCUMENTA (13). 2013 prize winner Iman Issa is participating in group shows including ‘Tea with Nefertiti’ at the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; and the recent Homeworks 6 in Beirut.
-Ends-

About The Abraaj Group Art Prize:
The Abraaj Group Art Prize was founded in 2008 and is now in its sixth edition. The aim of the prize is to reflect Abraaj Group’s dedication to empowering potential in the region, giving talented artists the opportunity to break new ground and showcase the rich artistic and cultural heritage of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region. It rewards chosen artists from The Middle East and North Africa on the basis of a proposal rather than completed works-of-art. The winning artists then go on to create the works. The Prize is aimed at curators and artists working together as opposed to a single artist. To date, the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 works were unveiled at Art Dubai and artworks have been exhibited at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York; City Hall, London; MAXXI, Rome; Galleria Civica, Modena; Future of a Promise, collateral event of the 54th Venice Biennale; Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai and the Maraya Arts Centre, Sharjah.

For more on the history and future of the prize, visit http://www.abraajgroupartprize.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AbraajArtPrize
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AbraajArtPrize


For more information about The Abraaj Group Art Prize:
Email: abraajprize@artdubai.ae
Telephone: +9714394 2007
Abraaj Switchboard: +971 45064400

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8 May 2013

The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2014 Guest Curator Announced

Nada Raza, an experienced curator, was announced today as the guest curator for the sixth edition (2014) of The Abraaj Group Art Prize by its Selection Committee. Raza joins the internationally recognized committee which will finalize the five winning artists. Once they are selected, she will collaborate with the artists as their ambitious projects evolve. Raza will then present the finished works in a specially curated exhibition at Art Dubai in March 2014.

The Abraaj Group Art Prize is globally unique in awarding talented artists on the basis of proposals rather than completed works, with hundreds of artists each year submitting proposals.
Previous winners have gone on to achieve further global recognition as their works have been exhibited in major international biennials, such as The Venice Biennale and Sharjah Biennial 11 and international museums such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the Smithsonian Museum of Asian Art, Washington D.C. Artworks from the collection are currently on loan to key institutions in Europe, the US and Asia.

Nada Raza is from Karachi, currently based at Tate Modern in London where she is Assistant Curator focusing on South Asia. Raza holds an MA in Critical Writing and Curatorial Practice from the Chelsea College of Art and has previously worked with Iniva and Green Cardamom in London where she contributed to curatorial projects including ‘Lines of Control’ (Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Cornell University 2012) and ‘Social Fabric’ (Iniva, 2012). She has lived and worked independently in the UAE, where she maintains strong links. She writes regularly for regional and international publications.

Speaking of her appointment, Raza commented: “The Abraaj Group Art Prize is a unique platform for emerging artists from the region, allowing complex and ambitious projects to be realized with critical support from a curator. I look forward to engaging with each selected artist in the process of articulating conceptual ideas through to the production of compelling works of art, bringing them to regional and international audiences.”

Frederic Sicre, Managing Director at The Abraaj Group added: “Not only is the regional art scene expanding rapidly but the Abraaj Group Art Prize has also grown to become one of, if not the, largest art prize in the world. Nada Raza brings a wealth of broad expertise to her role as the tenth guest curator for our prize and her experience of working directly with artists, galleries and institutions from the region will help evolve the prize and develop new perspectives. In the six years since the prize was launched, we have lent artworks to over 25 institutions worldwide, commissioned 5 publications, and this year’s winners will bring the number of works in the Abraaj Corporate collection to 26.”

The Selection Committee includes leading experts in the field of the visual arts including: Antonia Carver, Director, Art Dubai; Dana Farouki, Patron; Salwa Mikdadi, art historian and curator; Jessica Morgan, Daskalopoulos Curator, International Art, Tate, London and Glenn Lowry, Director, the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Savita Apte, Chair of the committee, said the following: “Nada brings an institutional curatorial perspective as well as a wealth of experience working in the region to the Abraaj Group Art Prize. She will be working closely with the artists to develop their projects, while evolving new forms of documentation that draw on her experience with new media platforms. Nada’s unique approach will be unveiled at Art Dubai in March.”

The winning artists for The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2014 will be announced later this year.
-Ends-

Notes to Editors:
About The Abraaj Group Art Prize
The aim of the prize is to empower potential and give often under-represented, contemporary artists the resources to further develop their talent. Artists are invited to submit proposals for new artworks they would like to produce. Once chosen by the Selection Committee, the artists go on to produce the works. It is also aimed at artists collaborating with an internationally renowned curator. Previous winning guest curators include Sharmini Pereira (2011), Nat Muller (2012) and Murtaza Vali (2013). The prize reflects Abraaj’s own investment philosophy, which is to take viable businesses with great potential, and create regional and global champions. To date, the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013 works were unveiled at Art Dubai and artworks have been exhibited at several venues in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Gulf and the US.

For more information about the Abraaj Group Art Prize:
Email: abraajprize@artdubai.ae
Visit our website: www.abraajgroupartprize.com
https://twitter.com/AbraajArtPrize
http://www.facebook.com/AbraajArtPrize

Telephone: +9714394 2007
Abraaj Switchboard: +971 45064400

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19 Mar 2013

The Abraaj Group Art Prize’s Fifth Edition Unveiled at Art Dubai 2013

Dubai, March 19 – Today sees the unveiling of the highly anticipated fifth Abraaj Group Art Prize exhibition, with all five artist winners and guest curator present for interviews.

The winners, Vartan Avakian and Rayyane Tabet from Lebanon, Iman Issa from Egypt, Huma Mulji from Pakistan and Hrair Sarkissian from Syria have been working closely with guest curator Murtaza Vali for the past six months on their ambitious projects, which come together in the exhibition ‘extra | ordinary’, on show at Art Dubai from March 19 – 23, 2013.

Now in its fifth edition, The Abraaj Group Art Prize is globally unique in awarding talented artists on the basis of proposals rather than completed works. The number of artworks that have been created during the first five years and go on to form The Abraaj Group Art Collection has now grown to twenty-one. Since its inception the prize has evolved considerably and the artworks are increasingly exhibited in major international biennials, such as Sharjah Biennial 11 and The Biennale of Sydney; and world-class museums such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the Smithsonian Museum of Asian Art, Washington D.C.

The Abraaj Group are the leading investor operating in the global growth markets of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Frederic Sicre, Managing Director at The Abraaj Group said: “To nurture and cultivate the cultural climate across the regions we operate by empowering exceptional artistic talent is important to us. The Abraaj Group Art Prize is the flagship of our arts patronage program and is at the heart of our stakeholder engagement strategies. As the prize turns five, we are delighted to be able to engage with five more innovative art installations in the exhibition this year and bring five more artists into our network of winners, who become ambassadors and act as role models for younger artists.”
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Savita Apte, Chair of The Abraaj Group Art Prize, adds: “Guest Curator Murtaza Vali has worked closely with the winners Vartan Avakian, Rayyane Tabet, Iman Issa, Huma Mulji and Hrair Sarkissian to produce the exhibition ‘extra | ordinary’, which showcases the common themes running through this year’s works and yet highlights the diversity of each creative process. As we have especially extended the deadline for artists to apply for the sixth edition, The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2014, we hope that the exhibition will inspire even more artists from the region to apply”.

Guest Curator Murtaza Vali comments on the curatorial concept behind the exhibition: “The forms and structures of these structures ask us to recalibrate our vision and attention, to lean in and get a better look, scour backgrounds, pay close attention to details, read all the fine print, allow the dense web of information and association embedded within to leisurely unfold. They do not strive to transform or transcend the ordinary. Instead, they humbly remind us of all that is extra in the ordinary itself.”

Vartan Avakian presents A Very Short History of Tall Men, commemorating the forgotten leaders of failed coups d’état through miniature gold statues entombed in clear acrylic spheres. Iman Issa’s Common Elements draws on her interest in autobiographies and museums, using fragments of this research, presented as text panels, photographs and sculptures, to create a collective narrative of a life dedicated to the pursuit of thought, culture and justice. Huma Mulji has created The Miraculous Lives of This and That, a twenty-first century Wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosities, slightly larger than life, full of objects such as taxidermy animals and porcelain imitations of cheap plastic dolls, meditating on the mortality of all things. Hrair Sarkissian visited and shot hundreds of photography studios in six major Middle Eastern cities—Alexandria, Amman, Beirut, Byblos, Cairo and Istanbul—before selecting the images that form Background, which marks the eclipse of a tradition of studio portraiture integral to the twentieth century history of photography in the Middle East. Rayyane Tabet’s FIRE/CAST/DRAW is a sprawling floor piece comprised of thousands of unique lead pieces, inspired by art history, numismatics, folklore and superstition and the Middle East’s conflict-ridden recent past.

A panel discussion and book launch of the catalogue extra | ordinary with all the winners present will take place on Thursday March 21 at 18.30, Fort Island, Madinat Jumeirah, Art Dubai. Curated guided tours of the exhibition will take place on Wednesday March 20 and Friday 22 at 18.00. Places can be booked at the information desks at Art Dubai.

The Selection Committee for The Abraaj Group Art Prize includes leading experts in the field of the visual arts including: Antonia Carver, Director, Art Dubai; Dana Farouki, Patron; Glenn Lowry, Director, the Museum of Modern Art; Salwa Mikdadi, art historian and curator; Jessica Morgan, Daskalopoulos Curator, International Art, Tate and Julia Peyton-Jones, Co-Director, The Serpentine Gallery.

-Ends-
About The Abraaj Group Art Prize
The aim of the prize is to empower potential and give often under-represented, contemporary artists the resources to further develop their talent. Artists are invited to submit proposals for new artworks they would like to produce. Once chosen by the Selection Committee, the artists go on to produce the works. The artists collaborate with an internationally renowned curator. This allows them to tap the latest trends, while the prize gives them a global platform to showcase their works and their region. The prize reflects Abraaj’s own investment philosophy, which is to take viable businesses with great potential, and create regional and global champions. To date, the 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012 works were unveiled at Art Dubai and artworks have been exhibited at several venues in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Gulf and the US including: The National Museum of Carthage, Tunis, Tunisia (2012), the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India (2012-13), the Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2012); Future of a Promise, collateral event of the 54th Venice Biennale, Italy (2011); Museum of Photography, Braunschweig, Germany (2012), La Triennale, Palais De Tokyo, Paris, France (2012); Parasol Unit, London, UK (2012-13); Museum of Arts and Design, New York, US (2009 & 2010); Arthr M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian’s Museum of Asian Art, Washington D.C., US (2012-13); Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai (2009, 2010, ongoing) and the Maraya Arts Centre, Sharjah (2010), UAE. Applications are open until March 31, 2013 for artists to apply for the 2014 edition. www.abraajgroupartprize.com
Brief Biographies of the 2013 winners:

Vartan Avakian (b. 1977, Byblos) is a multidisciplinary artist, working with installation, video and photography. He has exhibited throughout the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the US. Avakian is a founding member of the art collective Atfal Ahdath and a member of the Arab Image Foundation. He lives and works in Beirut and is represented by Kalfayan Galleries, Athens/Thessaloniki. @vartanavakian vartanavakian.com

Iman Issa (b.1979, Cairo) lives and works between Cairo and New York. She employs a variety of mediums including text, sound, sculpture, photography and video in her work, to raise questions about the relationship between language, history, and personal cognition and articulation. She was recently awarded the inaugural FHN MACBA Award, and is represented by Rodeo, Istanbul. imanissa.com

Huma Mulji (b.1970, Karachi) currently lives in Lahore, and teaches at the School of Visual Art and Design at Beaconhouse National University. Recent exhibitions include Project 88 stand at Frieze Art Fair, UK and ‘Salaam Bombay: Beauty and chaos in the urban environment’, Art Basel Miami, and the Twelve Gates Gallery, Philadelphia. She is represented by Project 88, Mumbai. humamulji.com

Hrair Sarkissian (b.1973, Damascus) is a photographer, living and working in London. He has recently been exhibited as part of the 7th Asian Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Brisbane, ‘Ici, Ailleurs’, Marseille-Provence 2013 and ‘Encounter. The Royal Academy in the Middle East’, Cultural Village Foundation, Katara, Doha. He is represented by Kalfayan Galleries, Athens/Thessaloniki. hrairsarkissian.com

Rayyane Tabet’s (b.1983, Ashqout) work is concerned with researching hidden histories that are transformed and retold through objects and installations. Recipient of the special jury prize, Pinchuk Arts Centre, Kiev, he will exhibit with the Future Generation Art Prize at Venice Biennale, 2013. Tabet lives and works in Beirut and is represented by Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg/Beirut.

Murtaza Vali (b. 1974, Sharjah) is an independent art historian, critic and curator, living and working between Sharjah and Brooklyn. A Visiting Instructor at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, he regularly publishes on contemporary art for various publications and has curated exhibitions for commercial and non-profit venues in both the US and the UAE.

For further information, please contact:
Laura Egerton
Curator, Abraaj Group Art Prize
Email: abraajprize@artdubai.ae
Mobile: +97150 956 4021
Tel: +971 4506 4400
Twitter twitter@abraajartprize
Facebook facebook.com/abraajartprize

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28 Jan 2013

Winners of the 5th Abraaj Group Art Prize prepare for the Unveiling at Art Dubai 2013

The five winning artists of the fifth Abraaj Group Art Prize are in the final stages of producing their new artworks which will be unveiled at Art Dubai on March 19.

The winners, announced last year, are: Vartan Avakian and Rayyane Tabet from Lebanon, Iman Issa from Egypt, Huma Mulji from Pakistan and Hrair Sarkissian from Syria. They have been working closely with guest curator Murtaza Vali for the past six months on their ambitious projects, which have required them to experiment with new techniques, travel internationally and undertake new research.

Accompanying the exhibition will be a publication designed by Brooklyn based design agency Project Projects, with commissioned essays from writers such as Haig Aivazian, Adnan Madani Vali Mahlouji, Walid Sadek and Kaelen Wilson-Goldie.

Frederic Sicre, Partner at Abraaj and Head of the Abraaj Strategic Stakeholder Engagement Track (ASSET) said: “Now in its fifth year, we have seen the Abraaj Group Art Prize go from strength to strength, and become a key benchmark for creative excellence in contemporary art practice. The structure and spirit of the prize embodies Abraaj’s commitment to nurturing exceptional talent and empowering potential across global growth markets”.

Savita Apte, Chair of the Abraaj Group Art Prize, adds: “The Selection Committee have consistently showcased creative excellence from the MENASA region highlighting artists who traverse national and regional boundaries with their work. This year's winners Vartan Avakian, Rayyane Tabet, Iman Issa, Huma Mulji and Hrair Sarkissian join an alumni who are already inspirational figures in the global art scene and whose works are shown increasingly in international institutions."

These five new works will bring the total number of artworks created by artists awarded the prize to 21, and will be part of the Abraaj Art Collection following their unveiling at Art Dubai. Works from the collection are frequently exhibited internationally. Currently artworks are on loan to the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi; Parasol Unit, London; The Photography Museum, Braunschweig; The Smithsonian Museum of Asian Art, Washington D.C. and the Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver.

The Selection Committee for the prize includes leading experts in the field of the visual arts including: Antonia Carver, Director, Art Dubai; Dana Farouki, Patron; Salwa Mikdadi, art historian and curator; Jessica Morgan, Daskalopoulos Curator, International Art, Tate and Glenn Lowry, Director, the Museum of Modern Art.

The Abraaj Group, a leading private equity investor operating in global growth markets, launched the art prize in 2008 to foster and reward artistic development.
-Ends-
About the Abraaj Group Art Prize
The aim of the prize is to empower potential and give often under-represented, contemporary artists the resources to further develop their talent. Artists are invited to submit proposals for new artworks they would like to produce. Once chosen by the Selection Committee, the artists go on to produce the works. The artists collaborate with an internationally renowned curator. This allows them to tap the latest trends, while the prize gives them a global platform to showcase their works and their region. The prize reflects Abraaj’s own investment philosophy, which is to take viable businesses with great potential, and create regional and global champions. To date, the 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012 works were unveiled at Art Dubai and artworks have been exhibited at several venues in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Gulf and the US including: The National Museum of Carthage, Tunis, Tunisia (2012), the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India (2012-13), the Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2012); Future of a Promise, collateral event of the 54th Venice Biennale, Italy (2011); Museum of Photography, Braunschweig, Germany (2012), La Triennale, Palais De Tokyo, Paris, France (2012); Parasol Unit, London, UK (2012-13); Museum of Arts and Design, New York, US (2009 & 2010); Arthr M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian’s Museum of Asian Art, Washington D.C., US (2012-13); Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai (2009, 2010, ongoing) and the Maraya Arts Centre, Sharjah (2010), UAE. www.abraajgroupartprize.com

About the Abraaj Group
The Abraaj Group is a leading private equity investor operating in the global growth markets of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Employing over 300 people, the group has 33 country offices spread across 7 regional hubs in Bogota, Dubai, Istanbul, London, Mumbai, Nairobi and Singapore. It currently manages US$ 7.5 billion across 25 sector and country-specific funds encompassing private equity (majority and significant minority investments with ticket sizes of between US$ 10 million to US$ 100 million invested across a global mandate) and real estate (primarily yield-generating) investments. To learn more about The Abraaj Group, please visit www.abraaj.com.

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27 Aug 2012

The Abraaj Capital Art Prize turns Five - ACAP 2013 Winners Announced

The Abraaj Capital Art Prize is delighted to announced today the winning artists for its fifth edition, bringing the total number of winners awarded the prize to 21. The Abraaj Capital Art Prize is awarded annually to five artists on the basis of proposals for new artworks, which become permanent additions to the Abraaj Capital Art Collection following their unveiling at Art Dubai. Abraaj Capital, a leading private equity manager investing in global growth markets, launched the Abraaj Capital Art Prize in 2008 to foster and reward artistic development in the region.

The winners have a strong exhibition history regionally and internationally, and have shown works in recent editions of Art Dubai and the Sharjah Biennial. The prize affords winners the opportunity of developing ambitious projects which without the granted funds would not have been possible. The winning artists announced by the Abraaj Capital Art Prize are:
• Vartan Avakian (Lebanon)
• Iman Issa (Egypt)
• Huma Mulji (Pakistan)
• Hrair Sarkissian (Syria)
• Rayyane Tabet (Lebanon)

The artists have already started working closely with the selected Guest Curator for 2013, Murtaza Vali. He has the responsibility of supervising the production of the artworks, their display at Art Dubai (from March 20 – 23 2013), and the publishing of an annual catalogue. Vali’s appointment was announced in May 2012.

The Selection Committee for the prize includes leading experts in the field of the visual arts including: Antonia Carver, Director, Art Dubai; Dana Farouki, Patron; Ali Khadra, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Canvas; Salwa Mikdadi, art historian and curator; Jessica Morgan, Daskalopoulos Curator, International Art, Tate; Elaine Ng, Editor, Art Asia Pacific; Glenn Lowry, Director, the Museum of Modern Art and Nat Muller, ACAP 2012 Guest Curator.

Marking the announcement, Frederic Sicre, Partner at Abraaj Capital and Head of the Abraaj Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement Track (ASSET) said: “Now in its fifth year, the Abraaj Capital Art Prize has truly come of age. This prize has grown to be a key benchmark for creative excellence in contemporary art practice, and embodies Abraaj Capital’s unwavering commitment to nurturing exceptional talent and empowering potential across global growth markets”.

Savita Apte, Chair of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize, added: “In the five years since we started the Abraaj Capital Art Prize, it has consistently shone a spotlight on diverse creative talent from the MENASA region, and propelled its winners to even greater achievements. The five artists we are announcing today are all actively engaged in pushing boundaries and developing dynamic visual experiences within the arts sector in their respective home countries and abroad; I encourage you all to visit Art Dubai in March 2013 to experience the works when they are unveiled”.

Former winners of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize have subsequently gone on to achieve further accolades, and are recognized as established artists in the international arts world. New artworks by winning artists are being acquired by important collections such as MOMA and Tate, and works from the Abraaj Capital Art Collection are increasingly requested for loan by leading institutions and biennials. Two Abraaj Capital Art Prize artworks, by Shezad Dawood and Kader Attia, are currently on exhibition in the UK for the London 2012 Festival, and Jananne Al-Ani’s artwork is part of the 18th Biennale of Sydney. In May this year, artworks by Kader Attia and Hala Elkoussy were on exhibition at the National Museum of Carthage, Tunis.
About the Abraaj Capital Art Prize:

The Abraaj Capital Art Prize was founded in 2008 and is in its fifth edition. The aim of the prize is to reflect Abraaj Capital’s dedication to empowering potential in the region, giving talented artists the opportunity to break new ground and showcase the rich artistic and cultural heritage of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asian region. It rewards chosen artists on the basis of a proposal rather than completed works-of-art. The winning artists then go on to create the works. The Prize is aimed at curators and artists working together as opposed to a single artist. To date, the 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012 works were unveiled at Art Dubai and artworks have been exhibited at several venues in the US, Europe, Australia, North Africa and the Gulf including: the Biennale of Sydney, Sydney (2012); Museum of Arts and Design, New York (2009 & 2010); La Triennale, Palais De Tokyo, Paris (2012); City Hall, London (2011); Future of a Promise, collateral event of the 54th Venice Biennale, Venice (2011); The National Museum of Carthage, Tunis (2012), Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai (2009, 2010, ongoing) and the Maraya Arts Centre, Sharjah (2010).
Applications for the sixth edition of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize will be accepted online for curators from 1 October – 31 December 2012 and for artists from 1 November 2012 – 31 January 2013.
For more on the history and future of the prize visit www.abraajcapitalartprize.com
Facebook facebook.com/abraajcapitalartprize
Twitter twitter@abraajartprize

For further information, please contact:
Laura Egerton
Curator, Abraaj Capital Art Prize
Email: abraajprize@artdubai.ae
Mobile: +97150 956 4021
Tel: +971 4506 4400

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29 May 2012

Abraaj Capital Art Prize 2013 Guest Curator Announced

The Selection Committee of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize today announced Murtaza Vali as the guest curator for the fifth edition (2013) of the prestigious prize. Vali joins the committee which selects the five winning artists, to be announced later this year. Vali will work with the artists to realize their new projects, to be unveiled at Art Dubai in March 2013 and edit a publication which will be available at the fair.

Of Indian extraction, Vali is a freelance critic and curator who lives and works between Sharjah, UAE and Brooklyn, USA. He is well known in the Emirates where he has undertaken many successful projects over recent years, including speaking at the Global Art Forum, Art Dubai; serving on the Selection Jury for the 2010 Sharjah Art Foundation Production Programme Grants; editing Manual for Treason, a multilingual publication commissioned by Sharjah Biennial X (2011) and most recently curating ‘Brute Ornament’ at Green Art Gallery, Dubai (2012). He is a visiting instructor at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn and contributing editor for Ibraaz and ArtAsiaPacific. He also contributes to Artforum.com, Art Review, Art India, Bidoun, Harper’s Bazaar Art Arabia, Modern Painters and Nukta Art and has written several monographic essays on contemporary artists from the Middle East and South Asia.

Speaking of his appointment, Vali commented: “The works selected for the Abraaj Capital Art Prize each year use sophisticated conceptual strategies and diverse media to grapple with region specific subject matter. As curator, I hope to provide a discursive framework that allows these elements to surface, while engaging with the process of cultural production by playing the role of interlocutor and collaborator for the selected artists, as they realize their ambitious proposals”.

Frederic Sicre, Partner at Abraaj Capital and Head of the Abraaj Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement Track (ASSET) added: “We are delighted to have Murtaza Vali as guest curator for the fifth edition of our prize which goes from strength to strength. Being born and raised in Sharjah with Indian roots and a base in the US he is very much aware of how our region sits in the global arts community and we look forward to seeing the results of his collaboration with us and our next group of winning artists.”

The Selection Committee includes leading experts in the field of the visual arts including: Antonia Carver, Director, Art Dubai; Dana Farouki, Patron; Ali Khadra, Publisher and Editor in Chief, Canvas Magazine; Salwa Mikdadi, art historian and curator; Jessica Morgan, Daskalopoulos Curator, International Art, Tate; Elaine Ng, Editor, Art Asia Pacific and Glenn Lowry, Director, the Museum of Modern Art. Savita Apte, Chair of the committee, said the following: “Each year we embark on a journey of discovery through a fresh curatorial perspective. Murtaza Vali brings a mature regional sensitivity coupled with international experience working with artists on new commissions, as well as with publications. We look forward to another excellent edition next March.”

The Abraaj Capital Art Prize 2013 winners will be announced later this year, alongside a publication documenting ‘Spectral Imprints’, the 2012 Abraaj Capital Art Prize.

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20 Mar 2012

Abraaj Capital Art Prize 2012 Unveiled at Art Dubai

Five winning artworks form the fourth edition of the prestigious Abraaj Capital Art Prize

Dubai, March 20 – Today sees the unveiling of the highly anticipated, ambitious artworks of the 2012 Abraaj Capital Art Prize, the world’s only art prize to focus on the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region. The winning artists Taysir Batniji from Palestine, Wael Shawky from Egypt, Risham Syed from Pakistan, Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige and Raed Yassin from Lebanon were announced in October 2011. In a departure from earlier formats used in Art Dubai, the winning artworks will be displayed together in a unified exhibition curated by Nat Muller from The Netherlands, the selected Guest Curator for 2012.

The Abraaj Capital Art Prize, which is globally unique in that its awards are given on the basis of proposals rather than completed works, is now in its fourth edition. Since its inception at Art Dubai 2009, the prize has evolved considerably and this year the prize reaches a new level of maturity. The artworks become part of the Abraaj Capital Art Collection, and are often loaned to prestigious international institutions, for example the Venice Biennale (Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Jananne Al-Ani), Sydney Biennial (Jananne Al-Ani), La Triennale, Paris (Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige) and Modern Art Oxford (Shezad Dawood).

Frederic Sicre, Partner, Abraaj Capital comments: “The Abraaj Capital Art Prize is a key initiative in the Abraaj Strategic Stakeholder Engagement Track (ASSET). To empower talented artists with the resources to realise ambitious projects which take their practice to a new level of recognition is our core mission. As the Abraaj Capital Art Collection grows year upon year, we are proud to watch it diversify and see our previous winners attain further success on a global platform. Today, as we unveil the fourth edition of the prize, I am delighted to share with you the truly innovative methods the artists have employed to develop their ideas and utilised the resources we offer them to produce groundbreaking work.”

Savita Apte, Chair of the Selection Committee adds: “With the five artworks displayed in the same location at the fair, visitors to Art Dubai will have the chance to appreciate the works individually as well as experience them collectively. Guided tours will allow for greater insight into the creative responses of the artists, and the Live Review will encourage critical discourse. We want this exhibition to inspire even more artists from the region to apply for 2013, which they can do until the end of March.”

Guest Curator Nat Muller has titled the exhibition ‘Spectral Imprints’, focusing on the preoccupations the five projects share with narrating the past and the difficulties of representing something tangible of a moment in time. The artist and performer Raed Yassin, his work always playful, has created a series of vases entitled China, a response to the Lebanese civil war and its aftermath. In her practice, Risham Syed focuses on the traces of cultural inheritance in her native Pakistan; with The Seven Seas she has branched out to the broader MENASA region, charting Victorian trade routes – still relevant today - on quilts. Wael Shawky has built up a body of work focusing on the launch of the Crusades, and A Glimpse of Clean History is a powerful new development in this. Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige have formulated their project A Letter Can Always Reach its Destination after many years of research and documentation, commenting on the spam emails we receive daily. Personal history and memory are most eloquently demonstrated by Palestinian artist Taysir Batniji in his work To My Brother, a series of hand carvings from photographs on paper.

The public can see the works on display at the Madinat Jumeirah, until March 24 as part of Art Dubai. Images are accessible online via the website www.abraajcapitalartprize.com. Public tours of the exhibition will take place at 18.00 on the March 21, 22 and 23 and a live review on March 24 at 12.30 will bring together winners with critics Alexander Provan and Murtaza Vali in the Global Art Forum tent at Art Dubai. (RSVP to abraajprize@artdubai.ae). A comprehensive catalogue designed by Huda Smitshuijzen–AbiFarès, of the Khatt Foundation will be published later this year.

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8 Jan 2012

Open Call — MASS Alexandria | Independent Art Studio & Study Program 2012

Deadline for application: January 12th, 2012

MASS Alexandria
MASS Alexandria is a space founded in 2010 to provide an opportunity for independent study and learning for artists in Egypt. MASS Alexandria is located in the east-Alexandrian neighborhood of Miami. The 440-sqm space is housed in the basement of a residential building. The basement is a shared studio, meeting, screening and performance space. Through its program, MASS Alexandria aims to supplement existing art education programs, with a focus on the conceptual aspects of artistic production. Monthly workshops, seminars and lectures are led by artists, art educators and curators. Focusing on contemporary artistic practices, the program also encourages students to work closely with cultural, artistic and scientific ideas in the fields of art history and theory and inter-disciplinary studies.
In its first year, MASS Alexandria hosted lectures, talks, conversations, workshops, seminars and studio visits from October 2010 to May 2011. Previous lecturers and tutors to the program included Adriano Pedrosa, Alex Freedman, Amal khalaf, Angela Harutunyan, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Janna Graham, Judith Wielander, Klaus vom Bruch, Luigi Coppola, Susanne Pfefferand William Wells, amongst others.

The MASS Alexandria Pilot Program 2010/2011 was directed by Wael Shawky, co-programmed with Sarah Rifky.
For the Independent Art Studio & Study Program 2012, 15 artists will be selected; they will have access to monthly workshops, lectures, seminars, tutorials and critique sessions, led by visiting artists, art historians, art educators and curators. Students also will have the access to use the open studios, computers with internet access and also a library (under development).

The program will run from 20 January to 31 July, 2012.

For more information, download attachment.

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15 Dec 2011

Abraaj Capital Art Prize works to travel to Jeddah with Edge of Arabia exhibition

Following its recent success with the first Pan-Arab exhibition of contemporary art 'The Future of a Promise' at the 54th Venice Biennale, the internationally renowned arts initiative Edge of Arabia, with support from Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives and Abraaj Capital, will be launching the most significant show of Saudi contemporary art ever held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Edge of Arabia Jeddah: We Need to Talk, curated by Mohammed Hafiz and co-curated by Stephen Stapleton, will open on 19th January 2012 in a stunning 1000 square meter space in the Al Fursia Marina, a magnificent new development on the Jeddah Corniche overlooking the Red Sea.

Alongside the main exhibition three key works from the Abraaj Capital Collection will be on display: Rhyme & Reason by Nazgol Ansarini (2009(, New Dream Machine by Shezad Dawood (2011 and Gon by Timo Nasseri (2011).

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4 Oct 2011

Abraaj Capital Art Prize 2012 Winners Announced

Press Release


Abraaj Capital Art Prize 2012 Winners Announced

Dubai, UAE, 4 October 2011: The Abraaj Capital Art Prize, now in its fourth year, announced today the five winning artists for 2012. The artists, who were selected from a record number of submissions, have begun working on realizing the artworks they proposed which will be unveiled during Art Dubai in March 2012. The artworks become permanent additions to the Abraaj Capital Collection.

The 2012 winners are an internationally acclaimed and diverse group who combine outstanding artistic ability with a desire to engage and champion the arts throughout the region. All the winners have a strong exhibition history regionally and internationally, and are actively involved in inspiring the next generation of artists from the region to achieve success. The winning artists are:
• Taysir Batniji (Palestine)
• Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige (Lebanon)
• Wael Shawky (Egypt)
• Risham Syed (Pakistan)
• Raed Yassin (Lebanon)

Following a successful precedent established in 2010, the five artists will work with one guest curator, who for the first time was selected through an open submission process. Nat Muller (The Netherlands) was chosen by the Selection Committee as guest curator for 2012 and is working closely with the artists in supervising the production of the artworks, their display at Art Dubai, and the publishing of an annual catalogue which will be designed by renowned designer Huda Abi Smitshuijzen Fares, Director of the Khatt Foundation, The Netherlands.

The Abraaj Capital Art Prize is awarded on the basis of a proposal for art projects submitted earlier in 2011. The Selection Committee includes leading experts in the field of the visual arts including: Antonia Carver, Director, Art Dubai; Dana Farouki, Patron; Ali Khadra, Publisher and Editor in Chief, Canvas Magazine; Salwa Mikdadi, Executive Director, Arts & Culture Program, Emirates Foundation; Jessica Morgan, Daskalopoulos Curator, International Art, Tate; Elaine Ng, Editor, Art Asia Pacific; Glenn Lowry, Director, the Museum of Modern Art; and Sharmini Pereira, ACAP 2011 Guest Curator.

Marking the announcement, Frederic Sicre, Partner at Abraaj Capital and Head of the Abraaj Strategic Stakeholder Engagement Track (ASSET) said: “The Abraaj Capital Art Prize presents a unique platform for aspiring artists in the region to showcase their work to the global arts community. Heading into its fourth year, this prize embodies Abraaj Capital’s unwavering commitment to the promotion of the arts throughout the region and has become a powerful tool to empower individual potential and nurture exceptional artistic talent.”

Savita Apte, Chair of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize, added: “We have an outstanding group of winners this year who come from incredibly diverse backgrounds and are actively engaged in developing dynamic cultural experiences within the arts sector in their respective home countries. It will be exciting to see how these five artists will work with our guest curator for the collaboration that will be unveiled at Art Dubai in March 2012”.

Former winners of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize have subsequently gone on to achieve further accolades. Nazgol Ansarinia, prize winner 2009 has a solo project at the Istanbul Biennial (along with 2012 winners Taysir Bayniji and Wael Shawky) and Nadia Kaabi-Linke, prize winner 2011 is currently a resident at the Delfina Foundation. The artworks are regularly exhibited internationally, for example Nadia Kaabi-Linke and Jananne Al-Ani in The Future of a Promise in Venice which is open until November 2011 and Hala Elkoussy at City Hall as part of the Shubbak Festival in London.

Abraaj Capital, a leading alternative asset manager, investing in the rapidly growing economies of the Middle East, Turkey, Asia and Africa, launched the Abraaj Capital Art Prize in 2008 to foster and reward artistic development in the region.
-Ends-
About the Abraaj Capital Art Prize:

The Abraaj Capital Art Prize was founded in 2008 and is in its fourth edition. The aim of the prize is to reflect Abraaj Capital’s dedication to empowering potential in the region, giving talented artists the opportunity to break new ground and showcase the rich artistic and cultural heritage of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region. It rewards chosen artists from this region on the basis of a proposal rather than completed works-of-art. The winning artists then go on to create the works. The Prize is aimed at curators and artists working together as opposed to a single artist. To date, the 2009, 2010 and 2011 works were unveiled at Art Dubai and artworks have been exhibited at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York; City Hall, London; MAXXI, Rome; Galleria Civica, Modena; Future of a Promise, collateral event of the 54th Venice Biennale; Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai and the Maraya Arts Centre, Sharjah.
For more on the history and future of the prize visit www.abraajcapitalartprize.com
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/AbraajCapitalArtPrize
Twitter http://twitter.com/AbraajArtPrize
For further information, please contact:
Nicholas Nesson
ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller
Dubai, UAE
Tel: 971-4-3355969
Fax: 971-4-3356080
E-mail: n.nesson@asdaa.com

General enquires about the Abraaj Capital Art Prize:
Laura Egerton, Curator, The Abraaj Capital Art Prize
Email: laura@artdubai.ae; Mobile: +97150 956 4021

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4 Jul 2011

Abraaj Capital Art Prize comes to London this summer

• In Partnership with Shubbak: A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture
• Myths & Legends Room: The Mural by Egyptian artist Hala Elkoussy on display at City Hall, July 4-24
• Global Launch of ‘Footnote to a Project’ and panel discussion with ACAP curators at the Mosaic Rooms, July 7

Dubai, UAE, July 4, 2011: Continuing its international exhibition program, the Abraaj Capital Art Prize (ACAP) will participate in Shubbak, the first ever celebration of contemporary culture from across the Arab world, to be held in London. The event is organized by the Mayor of London and will run from 4 - 24 July 2011.

The Abraaj Capital Art Prize is globally unique in that it rewards artistic proposals rather than finished works of art. So far, winners of the first three Art Prizes have come from Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Tunisia and Turkey. Curators have hailed from Sri Lanka, Iran, the US, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. Winners of the 4th edition will be announced in the autumn and will unveil their new artworks in March 2012.

“During the past year we have seen the Abraaj Capital Art Prize come of age,” said Frederic Sicre, Partner, Abraaj Capital. “Exhibiting our prize-winning artworks in Venice for the 54th Biennale and in London for the first celebration of Arab culture, fits into our strategy of providing viable global platforms to showcase the talented artists we support.

“At this time of heightened attention in our part of the world, it is essential to give artists from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region, the opportunity to display their work and provide an arena to debate the impact that culture can have on all areas of society,” Sicre added.

Hala Elkoussy, an artist based in Cairo, was one of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize winners in 2010. Her artwork, Myths and Legends Room – The Mural, commissioned by the prize and now part of the Abraaj Capital Art Collection, will be on display in the central exhibitions area at City Hall, seat of the Greater London Authority, for the duration of the celebration. Guided tours of the work can be arranged, which through its mesmerizing trail of individual narratives inspired by traditional and contemporary myths and legends, anticipates events that were to happen one year after the work was produced.

Munira Mirza, Advisor for Arts and Culture for the Mayor of London, added, ““Shubbak will be a window on contemporary culture from across the Arab world. There is a real sense of excitement at the prospect of so many Arab artists coming to London, meeting, collaborating and debating ideas with artists based here in London, reflecting the city’s role as a global centre for cultural exchange. I have no doubt the Festival will provide a huge opportunity for London to share in a truly diverse and exciting program of contemporary cultural events from the Arab world”.

Patrons are advised to reserve their places at the special event celebrating the Abraaj Capital Art Prize on Thursday July 7th at 7pm at the Mosaic Rooms. The event will begin with a panel discussion introduced by Omar Al-Qattan with ACAP curators Laura Egerton, Leyla Fakhr and Sharmini Pereira with Jessica Morgan (The Daskalopoulos Curator, International Art, Tate) discussing the prize within the wider context of the region. This will be followed by the global launch of the publication ‘Footnote to a Project’, a specially commissioned book project conceived by the 2011 guest curator Sharmini Pereira and London-based design studio OK-RM. Created in collaboration with the 2011 winning artists, Hamra Abbas, Jananne Al-Ani, Shezad Dawood, Nadia Kaabi-Linke and Timo Nasseri, the 536-page book is a collection of images, citations and references that support and inform the creation of the five artworks.

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28 May 2011

Abraaj Capital Art Prize to showcase in Venice

Three Abraaj Capital Art Prize winners are showcased in The Future of a Promise:
• Jananne Al-Ani (ACAP 2011, Iraq)
• Kader Attia (ACAP 2010, Algeria)
• Nadia-Kaabi-Linke (ACAP 2011, Tunisia)
Awarded annually to artists from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA), who are given the
opportunity of working with an internationally renowned curator to realise their dream projects. Artists are
encouraged to tap the latest trends, while taking full advantage of a global platform on which to showcase their
works and their region. The prize reflects Abraaj Capital’s own investment philosophy, which is to take viable
businesses with great potential, and create regional and global champions.

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26 May 2011

The Future of a Promise

The Future of a Promise will be the Venice Biennale’s largest Pan-Arab exhibition of contemporary art. From
Tunisia all the way to Saudi Arabia, this landmark exhibition brings together more than twenty-five recent
works and commissions by some of the foremost artists from the Arab world. The exhibition is being curated by Lina Lazaar, produced by Edge of Arabia and supported by Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives and Abraaj Capital, three newly partnered organisations whose commitment to contemporary art practice in the Middle East is at the heart of a current artistic renaissance in the region.

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28 Apr 2011

ACAP 2012 Applications close April 30th

Final call for ACAP 2012, the fourth edition of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize. Applications must be submitted by April 30, 2011 online at www.abraajcapitalartprize.com.

Following the highly acclaimed unveiling of the 2011 Abraaj Capital Art Prize artworks at Art Dubai last month, ACAP encourages artists working from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region to apply for the next edition of the prize. 2011 was the first year five artists were awarded, working with one guest curator. Due to this development, the scope and breath of the prize have naturally increased, and the critical reception of the prize was greater enhanced by the launch of a publication, Footnote to a Project*, which documents the six months of artistic production.

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15 Mar 2011

Prestigious Abraaj Capital Art Prize enters its third edition

Prestigious Abraaj Capital Art Prize enters its third edition
Five winning artists, one guest curator and a book project all unveiled at Art Dubai 2011
Today sees the unveiling of the highly anticipated and ambitious artworks of the 2011 Abraaj Capital Art Prize, the world’s only art prize to focus on the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region. Since being granted the prize last October on the basis of their proposals, the artist recipients – Hamra Abbas, Jananne Al-Ani, Shezad Dawood, Nadia Kaabi-Linke and Timo Nasseri – and their guest curator Sharmini Pereira have worked tirelessly to turn their ambitious proposals into reality.

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1 Jan 2011

Abraaj Capital Art Prize 2012 - Call for Applications

The Abraaj Capital Art Prize (ACAP), established by the Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj Capital, is opening up applications for independent curators and artists to apply for its 4th edition. One of the most generous art prizes in the world, the prize is extending its reach to provide the most dynamic creative collaborations between international curators and artists from the region.

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4 Oct 2010

Abraaj Capital Art Prize 2011 Winners Announced

From a record number of submissions, five artists have been chosen as winners of the third edition of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize. They will work for the next six months to create their new artworks which will be unveiled during Art Dubai in March 2011, before becoming a permanent part of the Abraaj Capital Art Collection.

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28 Jul 2010

Lebanon's Marwan Sahmarani Wins Popular Vote in 2010 Abraaj Capital Art Prize

Famed Lebanese artist Marwan Sahmarani won the popular vote from among the three winners of the 2010 Abraaj Capital Art Prize, the world's only art prize that rewards artists from the culturally rich and diverse Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region as a single block.

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9 May 2010

Abraaj Capital Art Prize Applications Soar for 2011

Famed Lebanese artist Marwan Sahmarani won the popular vote from among the three winners of the 2010 Abraaj Capital Art Prize, the world's only art prize
that rewards artists from the culturally rich and diverse Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region as a single block.

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16 Mar 2010

2010 Abraaj Capital Art Prize Works Revealed in Dubai

The 2010 works of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize were revealed to the public in Dubai today at Art Dubai, six months after the winners from the MENASA region were announced, and started working on their projects in secret.

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27 Sep 2009

Abraaj Capital Art Prize Winners honoured at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City

Abraaj Capital Art Prize is showcasing the winning artwork from its inaugural year in New York City at The Museum of Arts and Design. Holding true to its main objective to bring international visibility to artists from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA), this is a significant achievement in successfully placing the prize in the global spotlight.

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7 Sep 2009

Abraaj Capital Art Prize 2010 Winners Announced

Established to raise awareness of the under-represented work being created by artists from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region, the coveted Abraaj Capital Art Prize, in its second year, has announced three winning teams of artists and curators for the 2010 prize.

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