Lebanese artist Tarek Atoui wins Dh735,000 Suzanne Deal Booth / Flag Art Foundation Prize

As part of the award, Atoui will present a solo exhibition in Texas and New York in 2022

Artist Tarek Atoui, winner of the 2022 Suzanne Deal Booth / Flag Art Foundation Prize. Matteo Bellomo Fabrica
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Lebanese sound artist and composer Tarek Atoui has been awarded the 2022 Suzanne Deal Booth / Flag Art Foundation Prize, one of the largest art prizes in the US.

Atoui will receive $200,000 (Dh735,000) in cash and will present a solo exhibition at the Contemporary Austin art museum in Texas in the spring of 2022 before travelling to the Flag Art Foundation in New York.

As part of the biennial prize, the Beirut-born artist, who lives in Paris, will also work on a publication and programming for the museum and the foundation.

At the centre of Atoui's practice is collaboration with local communities, which he has demonstrated in his performances at Sharjah Art Foundation. The artist has worked with the foundation for a decade, starting with a residency in 2008 and participation in several iterations of the Sharjah Biennial over the years.

Last year, the foundation announced a major survey of his work, titled Tarek Atoui: Cycles in 11, that would comprise live sound performances and a residency programme for musicians to experiment and produce new work together.

A performance of Tarek Atoui's 'Within' at the the Sharjah Biennial 11. Sharjah Art Foundation
A performance of Tarek Atoui's 'Within' at the the Sharjah Biennial 11. Sharjah Art Foundation

The exhibition, which was meant to take place from March to June this year, was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

For his ongoing collective project Within, Atoui has worked with deaf people to create instruments that produce sounds that can be perceived visually or physically. A version of the work was presented at the Sharjah Biennial 11 in 2013, which included a performance involving 10 drummers and an electronic musician fortissimo.

The sounds in the performance were informed by traditional Gulf music and findings from the perception of sound and rhythm from students at Al Amal School for the Deaf in Sharjah.

Atoui has yet to figure out how he will shift his collaborative approach in a time of social distancing and coronavirus. "I don't have the answers for it yet," he told Art News. "We're still learning how to live with something like this."

Atoui, who has shown at the Venice Biennale in 2019 and Documenta 13 in 2012, will travel to Austin after travel restrictions are lifted to begin his research into local music communities for the exhibition.