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Launched in 2017, the Ithra Art Prize is awarded to emerging Saudi and Saudi-based talent in contemporary art as a means to support, fund and promote Saudi artists. We offer them the opportunity to reach global audiences.
In its previous editions, the Art Prize was awarded locally to Saudi and Saudi-based contemporary artists in partnership with Art Dubai. The current 4th edition, and all subsequent awards, the prize will extend its geographical reach to include established contemporary artists that are from or based in one of the 22 Arab countries.
The 4th edition of the Ithra Art Prize will be in collaboration with Ad-Diriyah Biennale Foundation in its first-ever edition in December 2021, where the unveiling of the winning artwork will happen.
The selection committee is comprised of acclaimed regional and international industry experts. The initiative aims to support and raise the profile of emerging Saudi and Saudi-based artists on a regional and international level.
As part of the collaboration, the previous winning work was unveiled at Art Dubai each year, and subsequently joins Ithra’s prestigious permanent collection. The winner also receives a grant of up to $100,000 to produce the proposal.
For more information about the current Open Call, click here.
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.
Eiman Elgibreen is an artist and an assistant professor of art history at the Princess Nourah University in Riyadh/Saudi Arabia. She obtained a PhD in modern and contemporary Saudi art from the University of Sussex for her research: “Image Making: Representations of Women in the Art and Career of Safeya Binzagr, 1968-2000”.
Since 2011, she has been a freelance writer for Al-Riyadh daily newspaper, and Al-Jazirah daily newspaper, and an art consultant for individuals and organizations concerned to preserve the legacy of pioneering Saudi artists such as Darat Safeya Binzagr, and Saudi Art House. In addition, she has curated exhibitions including the Saudi National Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale, 2019.
Maya El Khalil is an independent curator, who for the last decade has been working locally, regionally and internationally with artists, collectors and institutions to develop the identity and ideas that have defined the contemporary art scene in Saudi Arabia. From its inception in 2009 until 2016, she was the founding director of Athr, a leading contemporary art gallery based in Jiddah. She is currently the curator of the upcoming seventh iteration of 21, 39 Jeddah Arts. El Khalil is a holder of a bachelor degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA from the American University of Beirut. She is pursuing an MA in art and politics at Goldsmiths University, London. Born in Beirut, she currently lives and works in Oxford, England.
Nada Shabout is a professor of Art History and the Coordinator of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Initiative (CAMCSI) at the University of North Texas, Shabout is the founding president of the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art from the Arab World, Iran and Turkey (AMCA). She has published numerous articles on modern and contemporary Arab and Iraqi art. She is the author of Modern Arab Art: Formation of Arab Aesthetics, University of Florida Press, 2007; co-editor with Salwa Mikdadi of New Vision: Arab Art in the 21stCentury, Thames & Hudson, 2009; and co-editor with A. Lenssen and S. Rogers, Modern Art in the Arab World: Primary Documents, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2018.
Reem Fadda is an independent curator and art historian. From 2010 to 2016, Fadda worked as Associate Curator, Middle Eastern Art for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi project for Solomon R. Guggenheim based at their headquarters in New York. She had a leading role in shaping the strategy and holdings of west Asian and North African art within its collection and the curatorial vision for the future museum. From 2005 to 2007, Fadda was director of the Palestinian Association for Contemporary Art (PACA), Ramallah and served as Academic Director for the International Academy of Art Palestine, Ramallah, which she helped found in 2006. She has curated many international exhibitions and biennials, especially those pertaining to art and geopolitics in the Middle East, including Jerusalem Lives (Tahya Al Quds) the inaugural exhibition at the Palestinian Museum, Birzeit (2017); Not New Now, sixth Marrakech Biennale, (2016) and the United Arab Emirates National Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale (2013).
Tarek Abou El Fetouh is an independent curator and architect who lives and works in Brussels. His curatorial works include It’s Happening in the Garage, Alexandria, Egypt, 2000; Dis-Orientation, House of World Cultures, Berlin in 2003; Roaming Inner Landscapes, Alexandria in 2004 and Sharjah Biennale 9 in 2009. He initiated Meeting Points – Festival for Contemporary Arts and curated the ﬁrst four iterations across several cities in the Middle East. Abou El Fetouh has worked as artistic director of Meeting Points with curators Frie Leysen for MP5, Okwui Enwezor for MP6 and the Zagreb, Croatia based collective WHW for MP7. His curatorial works include the exhibition of Home Works 6, organized by Ashkal Alwan in Beirut 2013, Lest the Two Seas Meet at MoMA, Warsaw in 2015, “The time is out of joint in Sharjah and Gwangju in 2016, “A Captive of Love” 2017 and :Rituals of Signs and Metamorphosis” in Red Bricks Museum, Beijing. Abou El Fetouh was recently appointed curator of visual arts of Expo 2020 Dubai.