Morocco-based artist wins Abraaj Group Art Prize 2015

Ahram Online, Sunday 21 Sep 2014

France-born, Tangier-based Yto Barrada has been announced winner of the seventh Abraaj Group Art Prize. The organisers also revealed three shortlisted artists and a guest curator

Yto Barrada
Yto Barrada (Photo: Benoît Peverelli, courtesy of The Abraaj Group / Art Dubai)

Funded by leading private equity investor the Abraaj Group, the Art Prize supports and showcases exceptional talent emerging in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. The annual award supports artists from the region by giving them the opportunity to work with international curators to actualise their artistic visions.

Paris-born Moroccan artist Yto Barrada has been announced winner of the seventh edition of Abraaj Group Art Prize. The prize comes with a US$100,000 commission for an artistic work.

Yto Barrada’s work, produced for The Abraaj Group Art Prize, will become part of an exhibition at Art Dubai, scheduled to be held between 18 and 21 March 2015.

Born in 1971 in Paris and residing in Morocco, Yto Barrada studied history and political science at the Sorbonne and photography in New York. Her work explores her hometown Tangiers through different media such as photography, film, sculpture, prints and installations.

Barrada has displayed her works across the globe, including exhibitions in renowned halls and museums such as Tate Modern (London), MoMA (New York), Renaissance Society (Chicago), Witte de With (Rotterdam), Haus der Kunst (Munich), Guggenheim (Berlin), the Centre Pompidou (Paris), Whitechapel Gallery (London), etc. She also participated in the 2007 and 2011 Venice Biennales.

In parallel to work by Barrada, the Art Dubai 2015 Abraaj Group exhibition will also feature previous works by the three shortlisted artists: Sarnath Banarjee, Indian graphic novelist and filmmaker; Setareh Shahbazi, Berlin-based Iranian painter and photographer, and Lebanese Mounira Al Solh who works with painting, video and photography.

The three shortlisted artists also receive a cash prize and are represented in a group exhibition at Art Dubai

The Abraaj Group also announced 2015 Guest Curator: Egypt-born Briton Omar Kholeif. According to the Abraaj Group press release, the Guest Curator will be working closely with the artists, and has the responsibility of curating and producing the exhibition and an accompanying catalogue.

The Abraaj Group Art Prize is seeking mid-career artists that have already participated in exhibitions and received critical acclaim. Selected artists are expected to have significant bodies of work from over the past few years and to have demonstrated development and progression. The prize is selected based on written proposals for works of art, and awarded commissions which they use to produce the projects in time for an exhibition at the annual art fair, Art Dubai.

Four Egyptian artists have previously been granted the Abraaj Group Art Prize; Bassem Magdy (2014), Iman Issa (2013), Wael Shawky (2012) and Hala El-Koussy (2011).

"Previous winners of The Abraaj Group Art Prize have gone on to achieve further accolades, and are recognised as established artists in the international art world. Works from The Abraaj Group Art Prize Collection are increasingly requested for loan by leading institutions and biennials," we read in the Abraaj Group press release.

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