About Ithra

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) is the Kingdom’s premier cultural and creative destination for talent development and cross-cultural experiences. It is a creative and interactive public space for workshops, performances, events, exhibitions and experiences. Ithra offers an enriching journey for everyone by championing diversity, celebrating creativity and encouraging collaboration with the objective of energizing Saudi Arabia’s knowledge economy.

About the Ithra Art Prize

Ithra’s goal is to ignite cultural curiosity, stimulate knowledge exploration and inspire creativity, while encouraging and supporting the development of original content. The Ithra Art Prize is proof of this commitment to supporting and developing the creative landscape in the Kingdom and beyond.

The Ithra Art Prize celebrates contemporary art and artists and aims to fund and promote them, and to offer them a global platform. It was launched in 2017 by the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra). In its previous editions, in collaboration with Art Dubai, the Art Prize was awarded locally to Saudi and Saudi-based contemporary artists. Now in its 4th edition, and for 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. In 2021, Ithra partners with Diriyah Biennale Foundation to present the prize at the Kingdom’s inaugural biennale.

The Ithra Art Prize is one of the most prominent art prizes in the world, with the winner having access to up to $100,000 to bring their proposal to life.

The prize invites artists to submit proposals via an annual open call. A global panel of experts – including artists, curators, academics and art historians – decides the winner, who is awarded the funds to realize their proposed artwork. The winning piece is unveiled at the Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale, the first biennale in Saudi Arabia, before joining Ithra’s permanent collection.

UAE-based Saudi conceptual artist Ayman Zedani was the inaugural winner of the Ithra Art prize with his spatial installation Mēem. Saudi-born London-based Daniah Al Saleh was the winner of the second edition. She won for Sawtam – a digital, audio-visual presentation based on the phonemes of the Arabic language. Saudi-based Fahad bin Naif won the third edition of the Ithra Art Prize for his installation Rakhm, meaning “incubation” in Arabic. The architect and urban designer’s installation aims to conceptually preserve a nursery as both an urban typology and its “incubates” as an environmental micro-economy.

About the 2021 Ithra Art Prize winner, Nadia Kaabi-Linke

This year’s Ithra Art Prize winner is Nadia Kaabi-Linke, a TunisianUkranian artist based in Berlin. She studied fine arts in Tunis and holds a PhD from the Sorbonne in Paris. Kaabi-Linke grew up in Tunis, Kyiv, Dubai and Paris, and has exhibited in a number of countries, including at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

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 airliners and led to questions about how humanity is measuring progress and economic growth. The image looks at the cracks in a sign bearing an arrow, a symbol associated with air travel and with economic growth and has us reflect on our priorities.

For more information on Ithra and its programs, visit www.ithra.com.