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Abraaj Capital Art Prize 2009 Winning Projects

Nazgol Ansarinia, Kutluğ Ataman, Zoulikha Bouabdellah. Photos of their projects, summary of information.
Mar 2009

Launched as a unique opportunity for international curators to work with artists from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, the Abraaj Capital Art Prize is designed to raise awareness of innovative and experimental work being created by artists working in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. During the official opening of Art Dubai 2009, the three winning projects of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize 2009 were unveiled:

Nazgol Ansarinia
Curator: Leyla Fakhr
Rhyme and Reason
Handwoven carpet
2.5 m x 3.5 m
The artist has transformed the traditional floral motifs of the Persian carpet into scenes of contemporary life in Iran. "As a continuous exploration of systems and patterns, the artist explores one the most stereotyped artifacts of her native Iran: the Persian carpet. Mostly perceived as precious commodity, the Persian carpet has been the most utilized object for Iranians throughout history. While we have become numbed to the repetition of floral shapes, Ansarnia prompts us to have a closer look at what is being taken for granted." (Leyla Fakhr)

Kutluğ Ataman
Curator: Cristiana Perrella
Strange Space
Recorded performance piece
According to the curatorial statement, in Strange Spaces "Ataman is filmed while crossing a sulphurous desert land with bare feet and blinded eyes. A vision inspired by classical folk and court tales typical of Mesopotamia, in which the hero, blinded by the love of the heroine, is condemned to wander in the desert trying to find her, to just burn into flames when they finally meet. The ancient narrative theme is used by Ataman as a metaphor of the encounter of modernity and tradition, of their reciprocal attraction and the trauma this attraction may cause."

Zoulikha Bouabdellah
Curator: Carol Solomon
Walk on the Sky. Pisces
36 sqm x 3 m
Mounted on an aluminum ceiling, light-emitting diodes create 76 polygonal stars varying in size and color to form the constellation of Pisces reflected on the floor made of polished stainless steel. Boubadellah was inspired by various historical sources. In an interview (Time Out Dubai, 26 Jan. 09), the artist explains the importance of the polygon star, "not just within Islamic art, but as a symbol ‘of the interaction of cultures’ – it appears not just in Muslim, but also in Christian and Jewish design."


Abraaj Capital Art Prize 2009 Winning Projects
Exhibition during Art Dubai 2009
Fort Island at Madinat Jumeirah
18 - 21 March 2009

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