A remarkable opportunity for contemporary artists!

Ithra Art Prize is an annual leading art initiative launched in 2017 by the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra). This 5th edition continues to extend its geographical reach to include established contemporary artists from or residing in the 22 Arab countries.

Submissions will be evaluated by a renowned jury of international and regional experts from the contemporary art scene. The winning artwork will receive $100,000 and be unveiled at Ithra’s 5th year anniversary grand event.


2023 Winner Adel Abidin

2023 Winner Adel Abidin

Adel Abidin, an Iraqi-Finnish artist based in Helsinki, wins the Ithra Art Prize 5thedition. His winning work (ON) explores the intricate relationship between history, memory, and identity. 



Launch of the open call for submissions

31 January 2023


Close of submission process

10 April 2023


June: Unveiling of the winning artwork

Jury Members for 2023

Ithra Art Prize Winners


Adel Abidin, an Iraqi-Finnish artist based in Helsinki, wins the Ithra Art Prize 5thedition. His winning work (ON) explores the intricate relationship between history, memory, and identity. As Abidin delves into the intangible  aspects of history, he is confronted with the challenge of scarce reliable archival sources. This challenge is especially present in the context of Arab history, where much remains shrouded in ambiguity, allowing for a broad range of interpretations and augmentations. In studying the Zanj rebellion in Iraq, he finds a captivating example of this complexity. His wall installation highlights the fragility of history and the organic nature of memory, and offering a glimpse into what remains of this ancient event in a unique and compelling way.

Photo Credit: STUDIO Adel Abidin



Nadia Kaabi-Linke, a Tunisian-Ukrainian artist based in Berlin, is the most recent winner. Her winning artwork, E Pluribus Unum – A Modern Fossil, takes a reflective look at one of the effects of the pandemic, which – among other things – grounded many of the Arab world’s commercial airlines and led to questions about how humanity measures progress and economic growth.



Fahad bin Naif, Saudi-based, the winner of the third edition of Ithra Art Prize. His installation — Rakhm which means ‘incubation’ in Arabic — aims to conceptually preserve a nursery as both an urban typology and its ‘incubatees’ as an environmental micro-economy.



Daniah Al Saleh, Saudi-born and London-based, was announced as the winner of the second Ithra Art Prize in 2019. Her large-scale multimedia installation: Sawtam, was unveiled at Art Dubai 2019 and was showcased at the Artificial Intelligence and Intercultural Dialogue Art Exhibition at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.



Ayman Zedani, Saudi-born UAE-based conceptual artist, was the winner of the first Ithra Art Prize in 2018. His art piece, Meem, was exhibited at Art Dubai in 2018.


Ithra Art Prize at Art Dubai 2021


Why was this competition established?

In line with Ithra’s mission and vision, the Ithra Art Prize was created to enable talent and provide a high-level platform for contemporary artists. Supporting the Center’s efforts to foster cross-cultural engagement and as an international leader and supporter of contemporary art, the program was expanded to include artists from or residing in the 22 Arab countries. The winner will receive a monetary prize of $100,000 to produce and deliver the artwork, which becomes part of Ithra’s permanent art collection. The proposed artwork should not exceed $100,000 in cost, including production, shipping, insurance, artist’s fee and project management costs. The winning artwork will be unveiled at Ithra’s major 5th year anniversary.

How can I apply?

Please visit the link to apply. Any application submitted elsewhere will not be considered.

Is there a registration fee?

No, there’s no registration fee.

Where will the prize be displayed?

The winning artwork will be displayed at Ithra’s 5th year celebration event in Dhahran and will become part of Ithra’s permanent art collection and will be exhibited in two worldwide locations.

Who can participate in this competition?

Contemporary artists & art collectives who are from or have been based in the 22 Arab countries for more than ten years.

What are the 22 Arab countries?

The 22 Arab countries are Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, UAE, and Yemen.

If I am not part of the 22 Arab countries but have lived for 10 years in one, can I participate?


I am an artist from one of the 22 Arab countries but I live and work overseas, can I apply?


I am under 18 years old. Can I participate providing I have authorization from my parents?

No, applicants must be over the age of 18.

Can I participate with a work that has been previously exhibited?

No, the proposal should be for a new, original work, exclusive for Ithra. Proposals should not be part of an existing series of work (same idea, concept and methodology).

What should my proposal include?

The proposal should include:

  • The proposed artwork concept
  • Supporting sketches and visuals
  • Detailed budget breakdown (the budget of the artwork should not exceed $100,000 and must include; production, shipping, insurance, delivery, installation and project management)
  • Artwork production timeline from the point of conceptualizing and research to the delivery of the artwork to Ithra, Dhahran.

Can my artwork be ephemeral?

No, the proposed artwork should not be ephemeral and the artist/s needs to have in mind the conservation and durability of their work.

Is there a size and weight limitation for the artwork?

Yes, the artwork should not exceed with the size (4m x 2.5m) and weight restrictions of 500kg per square meter. The artwork needs to be able to fit into crates and be transported to Ithra.

Can I submit more than one proposal?

No, applicants are restricted to one proposal only. Applicants with multiple proposals will not be considered/or: only one proposal will be considered.

I need to change the email address with which I have signed in. What do I do?

Once the application is submitted, it cannot be altered.

Can I edit my application once I submit?

No, once you submit your application you cannot make any edits

When is the deadline for applying for the Ithra Art Prize?

The deadline for applying is April 10, 2023, at 11:59 PM.

What happens after I have submitted my application?

Applications will be reviewed by a jury of experts from the art world. The jury will select one winner who will be announced in May 2023.

What will the winner receive?

The winner will receive a monetary prize of $100,000. The proposed artwork should not exceed $100,000, including production, shipping, insurance, artists fee, and project management. The winning artwork will be presented at Ithra and will later travel to two worldwide locations.

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