Sharjah Biennial Art Prize Goes to Four Artists This Year

The award can go to any number of participating artists.

Uriel Orlow receiving an award from the Sharjah Art Foundation. Courtesy the Sharjah Art Foundation

Inci Eviner, Uriel Orlow, Dineo Seshee Bopape, and Walid Siti were awarded the 2017 Sharjah Biennial Prize on the biennial’s opening night, March 10.

The prize is selected by a small jury and can be awarded to any number of artists with artworks in the biennial. This year’s jury included Adriano Pedrosa, artistic director of Museu de Arte se São Paulo; Assis Chateaubriand, N’Goné Fall curator and founder of the Dakar-based GawLaab collective; and Dr Youssef Aidabi, who is an advisor at the Dr Sultan Al Qasimi Center for Gulf Studies in Sharjah.

The four artists awarded the prize are internationally varied but share a political focus. Iraqi-Kurdish Siti’s work addresses identity and changing ideas of nationality, heritage, and migration using sculpture and installation. Siti presented two works at the biennial: Phantom Land (2017) and False Flags (2017).

Inci Eviner works with film and drawing and is known for creating disturbing narratives. Hailing from Turkey, she often addresses aspects of womanhood and gender in her work. She presented two film works at the biennial, including Beuys Underground (2017)

Swiss artist Uriel Orlow works mainly with installation, dealing with historical narratives and what becomes eliminated from history—and why. Orlow’s work for the biennial is Theatrum Botanicum (2016), which uses the botanical world as an allegory for the colonial legacy of South Africa.

Dineo Seshee Bopape, who hails from South Africa, works with video montage, photography, and found objects, creating complex installations. Bopape presented +/- 1791 (monument to the Haitian revolution 1791) (2017) which deals with the parallel between the liberation of land and the liberation of the spirit.

The Sharjah Biennial Art Prize has been running since 1993 and is now awarded by the Sharjah Art Foundation. Other artists showing work at the biennial include Oscar Murillo, Jon Rafman, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, and Abbas Akhavan, with over sixty artists taking part.

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