Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Women Establishment, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, today inaugurated the exhibition of shortlisted entries for Her Highness Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award 2009.The exhibition, which is being held in The Art Centre at Dubai Ladies Club, features 50 artworks by young Emirati and UAE resident artists and is open to male and female visitors from Sunday, 15th November 2009 to Thursday, 19th November 2009 from 10 am to 9 pm. Moreover, the competition is exclusively sponsored by Etisalat, who are long time supporters of the arts within the UAE.During her visit, Her Highness Sheikha Manal met with some of the participating artists and congratulated them on their work and commented on the profound ideas expressed in their individual works. Speaking at the ceremony, Her Highness Sheikha Manal emphasised the importance and purpose of the project, "This award has gained particular importance for its role in highlighting young emerging artists from the UAE. It provides a recognizable platform, engaging the youth of the UAE and provides opportunities for them to express themselves through contemporary art and its different mediums, techniques and ideas.”She added, “The motivation behind the Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award is to promote excellence in the field of art, which is considered the basis of a nation’s advancement, and the character that gives each nation its own identity & culture. The award has already been a significant achievement, not only in terms of encouraging young artists, but also in advancing the art scene in the UAE and to ensure the development of young artistic talents and leading them towards greater excellence and innovation.”The opening was attended by VIP guests comprising of representatives from the Judges Panel, Board Members from Dubai Women Establishment and other distinguished members of the local and international art community. In line with the vision of Her Highness Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, this initiative was organised by The Art Centre at Dubai Ladies Club, as a competition aimed to encourage, recognize and promote young emerging artists nationals and residents from the UAE. Now in its third year, this year’s competition has seen the highest number of submissions with more than 250 entries from 14 different nationalities, reflecting the presence of a vibrant art community. The role of the Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award has acquired significance as an important award for young emerging artists in the UAE. The short-listed entries will be reviewed by a distinguished panel comprised of prominent figures from organizations and institutions within UAE who are playing a critical role in the encouragement and promotion of art. These include prominent academics, art patrons and artists such as Sheikha Latifa Bint Maktoum, Founder of Tashkeel; Salwa Mikdadi, Head of Arts and Culture Program at the Emirates Foundation; Judith Greer, Associate Director of International Programmes for the Sharjah Art Foundation; Jassim Al Awadhi, Emirati photographer and Chairman of UAE Photography Club. The competition is divided into three categories – ‘Fine Art Award’; ‘Photography Award’ and ‘Multimedia Award’. Each category winner, runner up and second runner up will receive a cash prize worth AED30,000, AED20,000 and AED10,000 respectively. The winning artists will be announced during the Gala Award Ceremony to be held on Tuesday, 24th November 2009.Furthermore, following the opening of the exhibition on Sunday, 15th November 2009, the public will have a chance to vote for their favourite art work for ‘The People’s Choice Award’ through the website’s online voting feature. The People's Choice Award is distinctive in that it is the only award that is not conferred by the jury. Rather, it is bestowed on the finalist artist whose work receives the most public votes.