The Abraaj Group Art Prize
The winning artworks from the recipients of the 2013 prize were unveiled in an exhibition ‘extra | ordinary’ at Art Dubai 2013, curated by Murtaza Vali. Read the Press Release here, and visit abraajgroupartprize.com or email email@example.com for more info.
Vartan Avakian (b. 1977, Byblos) is a multidisciplinary artist, working with installation, video and photography. A Very Short History of Tall Men, commemorates the forgotten leaders of failed coups d’état through miniature gold statues entombed in clear acrylic spheres. 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. 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. 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. The Miraculous Lives of This and That is 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. 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 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. Sarkissian 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. 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. 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 a freelance critic and curator, living and working between Sharjah and Brooklyn.
About The Abraaj Group Art Prize
The Abraaj Group Art Prize is in its sixth edition. 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, & 2013 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.
Previous winners of The Abraaj Group Art Prize include:
2012 - Taysir Batniji, Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Wael Shawky, Risham Syed, and Raed Yassin with Guest Curator Nat Muller.
2011 - Hamra Abbas, Jananne Al-Ani, Shezad Dawood, Nadia Kaabi-Linke and Timo Nasseri, with Guest Curator Sharmini Pereira.
2010 - Kader Attia with Curator Laurie Ann Farrell, Hala Elkoussy with Curator Jelle Bouwhuis, and Marwan Sahmarani with Curator Mahita El Bacha Urieta.
2009 - Kutluğ Ataman with Curator Cristiana Perrella, Nazgol Ansarinia with Curator Leyla Fakhr, and Zoulikha Bouabdellah with Curator Carol Solomon.