Congratulations are in order for Nasser Alzayani, the first Richard Mille Art Prize winner for 2021. The Louvre Abu Dhabi revealed the winner of the inaugural competition in a grand ceremony at the museum, announcing the Bahraini-American artist as the top winner for his winning piece – a research-driven installation ‘Watering the distant, deserting the near’. It is centred on the archival study of Ain Adhari, a spring in Bahrain that recently dried up. The artist studied the spring’s water levels over the years, reconstructing a landscape now lost, and for the final artwork, he incorporated data, audio narration and song.
“When I think back to when my project started, before it even made it to be part of this exhibition, it all really feels like it has come full circle,” explains Alzayani. “This experience has given me a lot more than art, it has given me the chance to build a community of peers I look up to and lifelong friends. I am very grateful for the support that this initiative has provided, and I am excited to see what the future holds for me and the other artists who will be given this opportunity.”
The Richard Mille Art Prize is a partnership between the watch brand and Louvre Abu Dhabi as a way to highlight contemporary artists within the region. Launched in 2021, the annual showcase featured emerging artists (out of 200, seven were shortlisted) and were judged by a four-member international jury for the grand prize, which carries a $50,000 cash award. Rather than keeping the money all to himself, Alzayani says he and the shortlisted artists had agreed to share the cash prize months ago.
“We are delighted to announce Nasser Alzayani as the winner of the first edition of The Richard Mille Art Prize. The collaboration between Louvre Abu Dhabi Art Here and The Richard Mille Art Prize represents a further extension of the role of the museum as a space of interaction and exchange for contemporary art through our ongoing interactions and links with regional contemporary artists”, said Dr. Souraya Noujaim, Louvre Abu Dhabi’s Scientific, Curatorial and Collections Management Director.
Artworks from all Richard Mille Art Prize shortlisted artists are currently on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi Art Here 2021 exhibition until 27 March 2022. For more information about Art Here 2021 exhibition and The Richard Mille Art Prize, please visit louvreabudhabi.ae.