Rand Abdul Jabbar named winner of second Richard Mille Art Prize

Iraqi multidisciplinary artist who lives in Abu Dhabi was one of 10 shortlisted for the prize this year

Rand Abdul Jabbar, winner of the second Richard Mille Art Prize, with her winning work Earthly Wonders, Celestial Beings. Photo: Louvre Abu Dhabi
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Louvre Abu Dhabi has named Rand Abdul Jabbar as the winner of the $60,000 Richard Mille Art Prize.

The annual award, which is in its second year, is held jointly with the Swiss watchmaking brand Richard Mille. Abdul Jabbar, an Iraqi multidisciplinary artist who lives in Abu Dhabi, was one of 10 artists shortlisted for the prize. She was honoured in a ceremony that took place at the museum.

Abdul Jabbar won for her work Earthly Wonders, Celestial Beings (2019–ongoing). The piece was displayed among other shortlisted works in the Art Here 2022 exhibition in October last year.

“I am grateful to be recognised amongst a group of peers for whom I have deep respect and admiration,” Abdul Jabbar said. “The Richard Mille Art Prize represents a significant investment in the growth and development of an artist’s practice, instilling both the capacity and drive to forge ahead in their pursuit. I would like to thank Louvre Abu Dhabi and Richard Mille for their generous support, and acknowledge the esteemed jury for their trust.”

Her work often examines the cultural heritage of Iraq and draws from its architecture, archaeology and mythology. She also explores the tension between the tangible and ephemeral in her own family history, producing fragmentary reconstructions of past events and experiences.

Abdul Jabbar is an alum of the Salama bint Hamdan Emerging Artists Fellowship, the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation’s Artist Mentorship Programme and Tashkeel’s Tanween Design Programme.

“Rand Abdul Jabbar delivered outstanding works of art that push the boundaries of contemporary creativity while exploring this year’s thematic Icon/Iconics,” said Peter Harrison, chief executive of Richard Mille EMEA.

“This is a celebration of our 10-year partnership with Louvre Abu Dhabi and 10 incredible artists. Together, we celebrated Rand’s crowning as the second Richard Mille Art Prize winner. I am certain that Rand will join Nasser Alzayani, our first Art Prize winner, in paving the way for the next wave of Middle Eastern contemporary artists, both regionally and globally.”

Other artists that were shortlisted this year included Afra Al Dhaheri, Shaikha Al Mazrou and Zeinab Alhashemi from the UAE; Ayman Zedani and Manal Al Dowayan from Saudi Arabia; Dana Awartani from Palestine; Elizabeth Dorazio from Brazil; Simrin Mehra Agarwal from India; and Vikram Divecha, who was born in Beirut, raised in Mumbai and lives in Dubai.

“The response this year has been outstanding,” said Souraya Noujaim, director of scientific, curatorial and collections management at Louvre Abu Dhabi. “These artists have engaged with the brief so wonderfully, and you can see how the theme of icon and iconic has deeply resonated with them.”

Louvre Abu Dhabi also revealed Transparency as the theme of third Richard Mille Art Prize and Louvre Abu Dhabi Art Here exhibition.

Curated by Maya El Khalil, the open call for the next prize will start from March 30.

Updated: March 22, 2023, 3:07 AM