Art prize attracts large Indian participation

Dubai: A number of artists from India, besides Iran and Lebanon, have topped the list of applicants for the 2011 edition of a leading art prize here.

Submissions for the 2011 Abraaj Capital Art Prize have closed with the number of applicants tripling to almost 230 after the organisers of the prize made it easier for artists to apply, and raised the number of winners from three to five.

The largest number of applicants for the 2011 edition come from Iran, India and Lebanon, three countries with long histories of artistic production.

"The numbers show that, after two editions, the Abraaj Capital Art Prize is gaining real traction across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, the region to which it is dedicated," said Fred Sicre, Executive Director at Abraaj Capital and member of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize selection committee.

"The prize is filling a gap in the panoply of global awards by giving aspiring artists from this incredibly fascinating region something to aim for, and a platform from which to showcase truly novel work and their country’s artistic inheritance," Sicre said.

From Syria and Yemen, countries with a deeply rich artistic and cultural heritage, a total of 13 artists submitted proposals.

In all, 229 artists applied for the 2011 edition of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize, compared with 73 for the previous year.

The Abraaj Capital Art Prize rewards artistic proposals rather than finished works-of-art.

The winners go on to realise their proposals, using some of the winnings to finance works they may otherwise not have been able to support.

After working in secret, their exhibits are then unveiled at Art Dubai every March.

Winners of the 2011 edition will be announced shortly.

So far, winners of the 2009 and 2010 editions have come from Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and Algeria.

For 2011, the winners will be provided an internationally renowned curator with whom to work.

In previous years, artists were obliged to find curators who would then apply on their behalf.