Yto Barrada Winner of The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2015

Yto Barrada © Benoit Peverelli

Winner Of Abraaj Capital Art Prize Yto Barrada © Benoit Peverelli


The Abraaj Group Art Prize announced Yto Barrada the winning artist for its 7th edition, Omar Kholeif as the guest curator and Sarnath Banerjee,  Setareh Shahbazi and Mounira Al Solh as the three shortlisted artists participating in the accompanying exhibition at Art Dubai 2015 (March 18-21, 2015).

Building further on the format of recent years, The Abraaj Group Art Prize now awards the $100,000 commission to one artist. Yto Barrada’s newly commissioned work, produced for The Abraaj Group Art Prize, will be part of an exhibition at Art Dubai, March 18-21, 2015. The exhibition will also feature previous works by the three shortlisted artists—Sarnath Banerjee, Setareh Shahbazi and Mounira Al Solh. The exhibition will be curated by Omar Kholeif, who has been selected as The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2015 Guest Curator.

The Guest Curator, Omar Kholeif, will be working closely with the artists, and has the responsibility of curating and producing the exhibition and an accompanying catalogue. Accepting the role of Guest Curator, Omar Kholeif commented: “I am particularly excited by the new format of The Abraaj Group Art Prize. By being able to access existing bodies of work alongside the new commission, there will be potential for a rich storytelling experience and a rigorous curatorial framework.”

The award affords the winner the opportunity of developing an ambitious project which wouldn’t otherwise be possible. The accompanying exhibition is a platform for recognising particularly notable artists in the region and for promoting their work on the international stage that is Art Dubai.

Exhibition View Exterior, Art Dubai,2014,Art Dubai 2014

Abraaj Capital Art Prize2014. Courtesy of Art Dubai


About Yto Berrada

Yto Barrada (Moroccan, b.1971, Paris) studied history and political science at the Sorbonne and photography in New York. Her work—including photography, film, sculpture, prints and installations—began by exploring the peculiar situation of her hometown Tangier. Her work has been exhibited at Tate Modern (London), MoMA (New York), Renaissance Society (Chicago), Witte de With (Rotterdam), Haus der Kunst (Munich), Guggenheim (Berlin), the Centre Pompidou (Paris), Whitechapel Gallery (London), and the 2007 and 2011 Venice Biennale.

She was the Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year for 2011, after which her exhibit RIFFS toured widely. Barrada is also the founding director of Cinémathèque de Tanger. She is a recipient of the 2013- 2014 Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography (Peabody Museum at Harvard University). She has published several books, and her first comprehensive monograph was published by JRP Ringier in 2013. Barrada is represented by Sfeir-Semler Gallery (Beirut, Hamburg), Pace Gallery (London), and Galerie Polaris (Paris).



Shortlisted Artists:

Sarnath Banerjee


Sarnath Banerjee. Courtesy of artist

Sarnath Banerjee. Courtesy of artist


Sarnath Banerjee studied biochemistry from Delhi University and Image and communication from Goldsmiths University. He wrote graphic novels Corridor, Barn Owl’s Wondrous Capers and The Harappa Files, published by Penguin, Harper-Collins and Denoel. He has received several fellowships, such as the MacArthur, Charles Wallace, Egide Bursary, and IFA. Banerjee has been a fellow of Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart and Institute of Advanced Studies, Budapest. His drawings and videos have been exhibited at Paris-Delhi-Bombay, Centre Pompidou, Paris; Indian Highway 5, MAXXI-National Museum of XXI Century Art, Rome, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Julia Peyton-Jones,(Directors, Serpentine Gallery); Chalo India!, Mori Art Museum, 2008; Karton Gallery, Budapest, 2007, Kunstmuseum Bern, 2007; The Museum Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino, 2006; IFA Gallery, Berlin, 2005; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London June 2003. Banerjee has also participated in Hong Kong Art Fair (2012), Fiac, Paris (2011), Frieze Art Fair (2011 and 2009) London, Arco, Madrid (2009) and the Sao Paolo Biennale in 2008. In 2012 Banerjee had a solo exhibition at the CCA in Glasgow, and was commissioned by Frieze Projects East for a public arts project during the London Olympics. He writes a weekly column of visual commentary called ‘Enchanted Geography’ for The Hindu. Sarnath is represented by Project 88 (Mumbai).

Setareh Shahbazi

Setareh Shahbazi. Courtesy of artist.

Setareh Shahbazi. Courtesy of artist.

Setareh Shahbazi born in Tehran in 1978 and moved to Germany in 1985. From 1997 to 2003 she studied Scenography and Media Arts at the State Academy for Art and Design in Karlsruhe. Her solo exhibitions were held at Gypsum Gallery, Cairo (2013); 98weeks Project Space, Beirut (2010); Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara (2008); Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg (2006) and Montgomery, Berlin (2006); and Karlsruher Kunstverein (2004). Her group shows include ‘When It Starts Dripping from the Ceiling’, Kadist, Paris, curated by Bassam El Baroni (2012); ‘Jostari dar Salighe va Ehsass’, Asar Gallery, Tehran (2010); ‘Whenever it starts, it is the right time!’, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, curated by Chus Martinez (2007); ‘Rainbow’ at Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut; ‘J’en Rêve’ at Fondation Cartier, Paris (2005) and ‘Iranian Pool, Rooseum’, Malmö, curated by Chus Martinez (2003). A one-year research residency by DAAD brought her to Beirut for the first time in 2003 to collaborate with the Arab Image Foundation. She has further been invited for residencies at Townhouse Gallery, Cairo (2005) and Villa Romana, Florence (guest artist 2011). Shahbazi received a publication grant from Stiftung Kunstfonds, Bonn for her artist book Spectral Days (2011) and her catalogue Oh, no, no, … – The Crystal Series was awarded The Most Beautiful Swiss Books (2005). After spending some years in Lebanon, Setareh Shahbazi currently lives and works in Berlin and travels regularly to Iran. Setareh is represented by Gypsum Gallery, Cairo.

Mounira Al Solh

Mounira Al Solh. Courtesy of: Jens Schwarz

Mounira Al Solh. Courtesy of: Jens Schwarz


Mounira Al Solh started painting in 1996 with Hussein Madi and then completed a degree in painting from the Lebanese University. In 2001 she won the Kentertainment Painting Award in Beirut and went on to the Rietveld Akademy in Amsterdam where she found her voice in multidisciplinary practices. After that, she worked for two years in a studio at the Rijksakademie before being offered artist residencies in South Africa, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and the USA. Al Solh has participated in several group shows including: the first Lebanese Pavillion in Venice, Home Works IV and VI, the 11th Istanbul Biennial, Manifesta 8, Tate Modern, SALT Istanbul, the New Museum, the 5th Marrakech Biennial and Art Dubai Projects 2014. Her works have been presented in solo shows at Fennel, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut; SMBA and rongwrong, Amsterdam; CCA, Glasgow; and Kunsthalle Lissabon in Lisbon. In 2007, she was awarded the Jury Prize of Videobrasil IEA Festival, The Black Magic Woman Award, The Uriot Prize of the Rijksakademie, and was nominated for the Volkskrant Award in 2010 in the Netherlands. Mounira co-edits NOA (Not Only Arabic), an ongoing magazine she created in 2008, which has expanded into a collaborative project: noa language school. She also taught part-time at the Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem, the Rietveld Akademie in Amsterdam and ALBA (Académie Libanaise des Beaux Arts) in Lebanon. Mounira is represented by Sfeir-Semler Gallery (Beirut, Hamburg).

Guest Curator:

Omar Kholeif

Omar Kholeif. Courtesy of Omar Kholeif

Omar Kholeif. Courtesy of Omar Kholeif

Omar Kholeif is a writer, curator and editor. He is currently Curator at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, Senior Visiting Curator at Cornerhouse and HOME, Manchester as well as Senior Editor of Ibraaz Publishing. Previously he headed up Art and Technology at SPACE, London (where he was director of The White Building, London’s centre for art and technology) and was Curator at FACT, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool. Kholeif has also been Artistic Director at the Arab British Centre, London and founding director of the UK’s Arab Film Festival. In 2012, he was a co-curator of the Liverpool Biennial. He was a founding editor of Portal 9, an Arabic-English journal of urbanism and architecture. His most recent publications include, You Are Here: Art After the Internet (2014), Virgin with a Memory (For Sophia Al-Maria) (2014) and Jeddah Childhood circa 1994 (2014).


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