Dubai Culture has partnered with luxury group Bulgari to launch a new annual award that celebrates emerging artists.
The first Bulgari Contemporary Art Award coincides with Expo 2020 Dubai, for which Dubai Culture is the official culture sponsor, and is presented with the support of the Italy Pavilion at the Expo.
In a press conference at Etihad Museum on Tuesday, Hala Badri, director general of Dubai Culture, said the award forms part of the emirate’s “strategic pillars”, which include supporting the creative industry.
“Part of the strategic pillars is to support talent. With this partnership, we’re opening a platform for new talent to be recognised,” she said.
She also highlighted the importance of advancing the creative economy as part of overall growth.
“Each sector is dependent on another, whether it is the local or international level. By supporting this sector, we are allowing productivity in other sectors,” Badri said.
Also in attendance at the Dubai event was Paolo Glisenti, Italy's Commissioner General for Expo 2020 Dubai, and Lucia Boscaini, brand and heritage curator at Bulgari.
The award will have three categories in visual arts: drawing and painting, photography and sculpture.
“The goal is to help emerging talents create something internationally understandable. That’s why we are starting with the three categories to be on the safe side, to start with something that is understandable to everybody, not too intellectual,” said Boscaini.
The candidates will be chosen from Dubai Culture’s database of artists, with UAE residents and nationals able to apply. The proposed works must be created specifically for the award and must use colour to express “how beauty connects people”, as the organisers describe it.
Dubai Culture will accept applications until mid-December 2021, with winners announced in February 2022.
Three to five nominees for each category will be chosen by a yet-to-be-named judging panel from Dubai Culture and Bulgari, as well as by other jurors selected by both organisers. The selected artists will be able to attend online lectures and workshops with Bulgari to learn about its craftsmanship of gemstones.
A selection of mentors from Italy will help the artists bring their proposed works to reality. Among them are Beatrice Bulgari, a costume designer and founder of the In Between Art Film foundation in Rome; Hou Hanru, artistic director of Maxxi museum in Rome; and Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, a curator at Castello di Rivoli.
In addition, the winning works will be displayed at the Italy Pavilion throughout the duration of Expo 2020 Dubai. Winners will be taken on a week-long trip to Rome to visit Bulgari’s jewellery ateliers, as well as other design centres and museums.