Abraaj Capital Art Prize Applications Soar for 2011
The Abraaj Capital Art Prize, now in its third year, has gone from strength to strength.
Submissions for the 2011 edition have closed with the number of applicants more than tripling to almost 230 after the organisers of the prize made it easier for artists from the culturally rich and diverse Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region to apply, and raised the number of winners from three to five.
Increasing the number of winners gives more aspiring artists from the region the opportunity to win this coveted award that has done so much to put MENASA art on the global map, ever since works by the first winners were unveiled in Dubai in 2009.
The greatest number of applicants for the 2011 edition come from Iran, India and Lebanon, three countries with long histories of artistic production.
The number of applicants from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Morocco jumped into the mid- and high-teens from single digits. For the 2010 edition, only two people from the UAE applied. The prize is excited to see that the number for 2011 soared to 17.
From Egypt, 15 applied, almost certainly inspired by Egyptian national Hala Elkoussy, one of the winners of the 2010 edition. Eleven artists applied from each of Iraq and Palestine, compared with just a handful for 2010.
From Syria and Yemen, countries with a deeply rich artistic and cultural heritage, a total of 13 artists submitted proposals compared with nil for 2010. In all, 229 artists applied for the 2011 edition of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize, compared with 73 for the previous year.
“The numbers show that, after two editions, the Abraaj Capital Art Prize is gaining real traction across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, the region to which it is dedicated,” said Fred Sicre, Executive Director at Abraaj Capital and member of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize selection committee.
“The prize is filling a gap in the panoply of global awards by giving aspiring artists from this incredibly fascinating region something to aim for, and a platform from which to showcase truly novel work and their country’s artistic inheritance,” Mr. Sicre said.
The Abraaj Capital Art Prize is globally unique in that it rewards artistic proposals rather than finished works-of-art. The winners go on to realise their proposals, using some of the winnings to finance works they may otherwise not have been able to support. After working in secret, their exhibits are then unveiled at Art Dubai every March. Winners of the 2011 edition will be announced shortly.
So far, winners of the 2009 and 2010 editions have come from Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and Algeria. For 2011, the winners will be appointed an internationally renowned curator with whom to work. In previous years, artists were obliged to find curators who would then apply on their behalf.