The Abraaj Capital Art Prize, the most generous art prize in the world, provides an exciting opportunity for creative collaboration between international curators and artists from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region. Launched in 2009, almost 100 applications were received. The selection committee, who carefully evaluated and discussed the applications, looked for innovative ideas and use of medium, a reflection of regional and local cultural principles, experimental art production techniques, and a balanced application which showed the curators’ strength and ability to push the artists’ boundaries.

The three curator/artist winners were Cristiana Perrella & Kutlug Ataman; Carol Solomon & Zoulikha Bouabdellah; and Leyla Fakhr & Nazgol Ansarinia. Each winner received $200,000 for production, research and fees, with the final work joining Abraaj Capital’s permanent collection and becoming an important archive of contemporary art in the region. The winning works were unveiled at Art Dubai in March 2009 before touring to the Museum of Art and Design in New York in September 2009.

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