Seven exciting opportunities for artists in the UAE

Discover some of the region's best grants, prizes and competitions for creatives

Students from the American University of Sharjah created this installation for the Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award. Photo: NYUAD
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For artists, writers and creatives across the UAE and the Middle East, there have never been more opportunities to gain experience and funding.

From residencies to awards and grants to competitions, we've compiled a list of some of the most exciting projects calling out for participants.

National Pavilion of Bahrain 2023 at the Venice Biennale

View of the Bahraini pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2021. Photo: John Brunton

The National Pavilion of Bahrain at Venice Biennale’s 18th International Architecture Exhibition is seeking multi-disciplinary teams to explore the theme of water.

From the country's historic role as a crucial trading outpost in an otherwise arid region to its contemporary, dense urban environments, the sea and presence of fresh water has always been a central to the islands of Bahrain. However, today Bahrain has one of the lowest levels of water resources per inhabitant, making it one of the country’s biggest challenges.

Practitioners are invited to analyse the question of water and offer solutions inspired by the country’s heritage.

The deadline is October 25.; More information is at www.bahrainpavilion.bh

Art Jameel Research Grant: Mapping the Arts in KSA (1940–2000)

Art Jameel is offering an opportunity for practitioners and researchers to gain a deeper understanding of modern art, exhibition histories and artist networks in the Arabian Gulf.

The topics open for study include: Exhibition Histories in Saudi Arabia (1940–2000), Artist Networks in Saudi and the wider Gulf (1940–2000) and Art Education in Saudi and/or the Gulf (1940–2000).

Art Jameel aims to support researchers to conduct original research through resources and expenses of up to 25,000 SAR (Dh24,435) to fund their research..

The deadline is October 30. More information is at www.hayyjameel.org

Projects at the Lab: Archives

Darat al Funun in Amman, Jordan, is inviting creative professionals from all disciplines to submit proposals to experiment, explore and cultivate new ideas.

Successful applicants will be offered the use of Darat al Funun's project space, the Lab, for the production and installation of their work.

The project is particularly oriented towards creatives working with archives; whether its Darat al Funun’s own 30-year archive or any other that centres on the region.

Preference is given to projects that engage the community and public, whether through workshops, discussions, public contributions or otherwise.

The deadline is October 31. More information is at www.daratalfunun.org

Cultural Foundation Art Residency 2023

Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation hosts six-month residencies for citizens and residents of the UAE. Photo: Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation

Nationals and residents of the UAE are invited to apply for the six-month long residencies held by the Cultural Foundation Art Residency in Abu Dhabi.

The platform is a means for professional artists from across all disciplines to advance their skills and practice using dedicated studios and resources. The residency programme will give artists the space to produce and exhibit their works within the Cultural Foundation, providing unparalleled visibility and endorsement.

The deadline is November 1. More information is at www.culturalfoundation.ae

Sheikh Saoud Al Thani Project Award

The Sheikh Saoud Al Thani Project Award from Qatar Museums is offering a grant of 30,000 QAR (Dh30,326) to support the development of a project by a resident photographer in Western Asia and North Africa.

Grant recipients will also have the opportunity to exhibit their work and participate in public and online programming as part of Tasweer Photo Festival Qatar.

Meanwhile, the Sheikh Saoud Al Thani Single Image Award is open to photographers of all ages and experiences living in Western Asia and North Africa. Applicants are invited to submit a single photographic image that best represents their experiences and personal narratives. Awardees will have their images presented in an online exhibition, be awarded a cash prize and participate in Tasweer Photo Festival Qatar.

The deadline is November 1. More information is at www.tasweer.org.qa

Waterfront Market’s Murals and Art Competition

The Waterfront Market and Dubai Culture and Arts Authority are inviting local and home-grown artists to apply to the Murals and Art Competition. Artists are encouraged to showcase their visions of what the future of Dubai could look like, following on from Expo Dubai 2020,.

The shortlisted and wining artists will have a chance to unveil their murals in an exciting celebration at the Waterfront Market as part of Dubai Art Season 2023, as well as a cash prize.

The deadline is November 10. More information is at www.murals.waterfrontmarket.ae

The Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award 2023

The 11th Christo and Jeanne-Claude Award is a launchpad for art students and fresh graduates, held under the patronage of Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al Nahyan and NYU Abu Dhabi, in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation.

Applicants are invited to select any media to work in, including, but not limited to photography, painting, sculpture, film, illustration, land art and multimedia. They are encouraged to think creatively about how to exhibit their work in a public context.

The winning artist or team will be awarded $10,000 to complete their installation. The winning artwork will be publicly exhibited in Abu Dhabi, in November next year.

The deadline is January 31. More information is at www.nyuad-artgallery.org

Updated: October 15, 2022, 1:27 PM
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