October 15, 2011



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) and 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.  

(Left to Right) Savita Apte, Raed Yassin, Khalil J