Feature by Anoop Kamath
The Abraaj Capital Art Prize recently announced 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) and 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 recognised 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.
The Abraaj Capital Art Prize was founded in 2008 and is in its fifth edition. Applications for the sixth edition of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize will be accepted online for curators from October 1- December 31, 2012 and for artists from November 1, 2012-January 31, 2013. For more on the history and future of the prize visit www.abraajcapitalartprize.com