Rana Begum Wins 2017 Abraaj Group Art Prize

The painter gets a $100,000 prize to realize a 'dream project.'

Rana Begum. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Painter Rana Begum is the winner of the 2017 Abraaj Group Art Prize, the Abraaj Group announced yesterday. The ninth edition of the prize will once again culminate in an exhibition at Art Dubai, which takes place next year from March 15-18.

Begum was born in Sylhet, Bangladesh, and holds an MFA in painting from the Slade School of Fine Art in London. Her brightly colored, geometric, minimalist paintings have been exhibited throughout Asia, the Middle East, the UK, Europe, and the United States. She is represented by The Third Line in Dubai.

The most significant art prize in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, the Abraaj group will award Begum with $100,000 to fund a “dream project.” The commissioned work will debut at Art Dubai, along with an exhibition of works by three shortlisted artists. Begum announced that her project is about “immersion in color and form.”

Notably, this year’s shortlist is comprised entirely of women artists. They include Doa Aly from Egypt; Sarah Abu Abdallah from Saudi Arabia; and Raha Raissnia from Iran. Each will receive a $10,000 prize to help fund their respective practices. The exhibition will be curated by Omar Berrada, director of Marrakech’s Dar al-Ma’mûn library and artist residency program.

The jury consisted of an international selection of museum curators and directors, and was chaired by curator and patron Dana Farouki, and included Defne Ayas, Director and Curator of Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art; Antonia Carver, Director of Art Jameel; Nav Haq, 2016 Guest Curator of the Prize; Fayeeza Naqvi, Founding Trustee, Aman Foundation; Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects at Serpentine Galleries; Sandhini Poddar, Art historian and Adjunct Curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; and Frederic Sicre, Managing Director, The Abraaj Group.


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