Monday, 9 November 2009

Calling all Contemporary MENASA Artists

The Abraaj Capital Art Prize Increases Number of Winners in New Application Process for 2011

Deadline for applications is January 31st 2010

Dubai, United Arab Emirates; 9 November, 2009 - The Abraaj Capital Art Prize has announced its new application process for its third year, 2011. It will now allow artists to apply for the prize themselves. In addition, the number of winners has been increased from three to five. These modifications have been put in place to offer more contemporary artists from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) the opportunity to benefit from the support and global recognition of the prize.

“We have concluded that widening the number of winners from three to five will give more artists from this culturally rich region of 1.6 billion people the opportunity to create a work of art that pushes the boundaries of their practice and offers them an international platform to showcase their work,” commented Savita Apte, Chair of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize.

The US $1 million art prize has been awarded twice since its development in 2008 by Dubai-based Abraaj Capital, each time to three sets of winners comprising an artist and an internationally renowned curator. The award is the world’s most generous art prize and has quickly achieved international recognition, boosting the overall profile of art from the region as well as each of the winners to date. Unveiled each year at Art Dubai, the works of the 2009 winners have been displayed this summer in the Museum of Arts & Design in New York City.

“Having followed the progression of the 2009 Abraaj Capital Art Prize recipients, we’ve seen that winning the Abraaj Capital Art Prize has not only increased their status and acclaim in the international art world, but more importantly given them the opportunity of creating new, more monumental and ambitious artworks. Identifying and empowering potential is a key mission for Abraaj Capital, and by extending the Prize to a larger field of artists, we further strengthen that objective in the MENASA art community,” added Fred Sicre, Executive Director of Abraaj Capital.

Abraaj Capital, which was founded in 2002, invests in the growing MENASA region, taking well-run, promising companies and turning them into regional and even global champions. Artworks resulting from the prize form part of Abraaj Capital’s corporate collection.

To apply as an artist for the Abraaj Capital Art Prize 2011 or for more information, please visit or contact the Abraaj Capital Art Prize Manager Laura Trelford on or +971 4323 3434.

About the Abraaj Capital Art Prize: The Abraaj Capital Art Prize is the world’s most generous art prize worth US $1 million. It provides an opportunity for creative collaboration between international curators and artists from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA). The prize was established in April 2008 and is designed to create a viable platform for individual artists who are revered in their local communities but lack international critical and commercial exposure. The Abraaj Capital Art Prize provides artists with the opportunity to hone their talents working alongside international curators and to reach a global audience through the display of their work at Art Dubai and the Museum of Arts and Design. Displaying their work at the Middle East’s largest contemporary art fair raises the curtain on their talent, affording finalists global recognition.

Criteria for applications: Only artists from the MENASA region can apply. There is no age limit, and any type or variety of media can be used. The works need to be rooted in local culture and appeal to an international audience. Artists are required to submit specific budgetary projections and requirements. Most importantly, artists have to produce a personal statement that explains how they see themselves as representative of the country in which they were born, and why their artwork and artistic message is important and deserves to be recognised by a wider arts community. Applications open in October, and the winning artists are announced in the middle of the following year. Once chosen, the winners have six months to create their works, which are then unveiled in March at Art Dubai, the Middle East’s biggest art fair.

Previous winners: The 2009 winners were: Kutlu─č Ataman (Turkey), with Curator Cristiana Perrella (Italy); Zoulikha Bouabdellah (Algeria), with Curator Carol Solomon (United States); Nazgol Ansarinia (Iran), with Curator Leyla Fakhr (Iran). The 2010 winners are: Kader Attia (Algeria), with Curator Laurie Ann Farrell (United States); Hala Elkoussy (Egypt), with Curator Jelle Bouwhuis (Netherlands); Marwan Sahmarani (Lebanon), with Curator Mahita El Bacha Urieta (UK).

About Abraaj Capital: Abraaj Capital is the largest private equity group in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA). Since its inception in 2002, it has raised about US$ 7 billion for its funds, and made more than 35 investments across eleven countries. Based in Dubai, Abraaj operates offices in five countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey. More than 150 world-class professionals work at Abraaj from 27 different nationalities. Abraaj’s holdings include some of the region’s most prominent companies, such as Air Arabia, the region’s largest low-cost carrier; Acibadem Healthcare Group, Turkey’s biggest privately owned operator of premium hospitals; and Al Borg Laboratory, the Middle East’s biggest medical laboratory-testing company. Abraaj has won several international awards, and is a four-time winner of PEI’s ‘Middle Eastern Private Equity Firm of the Year’. Abraaj operates five funds, and has distributed about US$ 3 billion to investors from 20 exits, where it generated superior returns from the value it added. Abraaj Capital Ltd. is licensed by the Dubai Financial Services Authority, which operates according to international regulatory standards.

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