Egyptian artist Moataz Nasr shortlisted for prestigious Louvre Abu Dhabi's Richard Mille Art Prize

Ati Metwaly , Monday 8 Jul 2024

Egyptian painter and sculptor Moataz Nasr is among five artists shortlisted for the Richard Mille Art Prize, worth $60,000, organised in cooperation with the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Moataz Nasr
(Photo: Moataz Nasr s Facebook page)


The award, a partnership between the Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille and Louvre Abu Dhabi, has become one of the most important artistic recognitions offered to contemporary artists from the Gulf countries and North Africa (nationals and residents).

Other finalists include Férielle Doulain-Zouari (France-Tunisia), Lamya Gargash (UAE), Sarah Almehairi (UAE), and Nicène Kossentini (Tunisia). They have been selected from 230 submissions to the award. 

While awaiting the final results, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is already preparing for the Art Here 2024 exhibition featuring the five artists' works sculptures or audio-visual installations  from 20 September to 15 December.

Their works reflect the "Awakenings" theme set by the exhibition's guest curator, writer, and independent curator Simon Njami.

The exhibition "aims to support art practitioners in the region by giving them a central platform for expression in Louvre Abu Dhabi," reads the museum's website.

The self-taught Nasr garnered numerous awards in Egypt (including the Grand Prix at the 8th International Cairo Biennale) before breaking into the international art scene in 2001. Ever since, he has shown his works at large exhibitions across the globe, within biennales, in group and solo shows. 

Nasr started his artistic practice related to Abu Dhabi in the late 2010s. In 2018, he participated in Abu Dhabi Art 2018 Beyond, creating a site-specific work on the historic sites in Al Ain. 

He also exhibited his works extensively across other cities of the UAE, including the 7th Sharjah Biennial (2005), the exhibition held during the 14th Islamic Art Festival (Sharjah, 2011), the Sharjah Art Foundation (2012), Lawrie Shabibi Art Gallery (2012), and Galleria Continua (Dubai, 2022, 2023, and 2024).

His work is considered one of the most important representatives of pan-Arab contemporary art.

"It surpasses idiosyncrasies and geographical limits and voices the worries and torments of the African continent. The feeling of belonging to a specific geopolitical and cultural context and the need to maintain a link with his homeland are key elements of the artist's life and work," reveals the artist's biography.

In 2017, Nasr was selected to represent Egypt during the 57th Venice Biennale, where he created an installation showing the original film titled The Mountain. Later in 2021, the film brought him the AVIFF Art Film Festival Award held on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival. 

Nasr is best known for founding and managing Egypt's independent art space Darb 1718 Egyptian Contemporary Art and Culture Centre in the early 2000s.

The space is a dynamic hub for many artists. It organizes international exhibitions, alternative biennales, creative arts workshops, and music events.

It also serves as an incubator for the works of many contemporary visual artists, including those creating contemporary pottery.

Something Else, an event that functioned as a parallel biennale to the state-run Art Biennale, was part of its active connection with the international art scene between 2015 and 2018. 

In 2018, Something Else - Off Biennale was curated by Simon Njami working with several international supporting curators as well as Nasr (the Biennale's artistic director), filling the halls of Darb and other venues located in Downtown Cairo with the work of 90 artists (including 23 Egyptians) from all over the world.

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