In Focus: The Abraaj Group Art Prize Winners 2014
Providing a global platform for promising artists
The Abraaj Group Art Prize, now in its sixth edition, aims to give up-and-coming artists the resources to nurture and develop their talent. It is the only prize in the Middle East and South Asia that recognises artists based on their submitted project proposals. The winners for this year's prize include Abbas Akhavan, Kamrooz Aram, Bouchra Khalili, Basim Magdy and Anup Mathew Thomas, who worked alongside guest curator Nada Raza. During a special exhibition at Art Dubai, the winners unveiled their latest work.
Abbas Akhavan's work ranges from site-specific ephemeral installations to drawing, video and performance. Akhavan is often focused on the domestic sphere, yet more recent projects have shifted focus to places outside of the home including the garden and other domesticated landscapes. The artist lives in Toronto and is represented by the Third Line Gallery in Dubai.
Kamrooz Aram, born in Iran, has been featured extensively in publications such as The New York Times, Art in America, and Artforum.com. His recent solo and two-person exhibitions include Kamrooz Aram/Julie Weitz at The Suburban, Chicago, Illinois (2013); Brute Ornament: Kamrooz Aram and Seher Shah, curated by Murtaza Vali, at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE (2012). He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and is represented by Green Art Gallery, Dubai.
Bouchra Khalili's work in video, photography and prints, articulates documentary practice and conceptual approach to investigate methodologies and discourses of resistance as elaborated by members of minorities. Khalili lives in Berlin and is represented by Galerie Polaris (Paris), and galerieofmarseille (Marseilles).
Egyptian artist Basim Magdy's work spans various mediums including painting, installation, and video. Currently based in Cairo, the artist's most recent works attempt to confound linear narratives, evoking confusion, absurdity, fragmentation, as well as a persistent sense of poetic failure.
Visual artist Anup Mathew Thomas lives and works in Bangalore. The artist mainly uses the medium of photography and his work often engages ostensibly local narratives. Anup Mathew Thomas is represented by GALLERYSKE, Bangalore.
Nada Raza is the guest curator this year. Hailing from Karachi in Pakistan, Raza is currently based at the Tate Modern in London where she is Assistant Curator focusing on South Asia; and regularly contributes to regional and international publications.