Artist has her time to shine

Bangladesh-born artist’s colourful and perception-challenging works win her the prestigious 2016 Abraaj Group Art Prize.

Rana Begum, who lives in London, has been granted US$100,000 (Dh367,000) to develop a new work to be exhibited at Art Dubai next year. Courtesy Rana Begum
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An artist born in Bangladesh was selected as the winner of the Abraaj Group Art Prize, which was this year chosen from a final field of four women.

Rana Begum, who lives in London, has been granted US$100,000 (Dh367,000) to develop a new work to be exhibited at Art Dubai next year.

“It is such an honour to win the Abraaj Group Art Prize,” Begum said on Wednesday of the competition for artists from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. “I have greatly admired the winning artists and works of previous years and consider it a privilege to follow in their footsteps.”

Begum, who has exhibited several times in the region, is represented by The Third Line gallery, Dubai.

Her work is inspired by the lines and angles of urban environments and she often works with aluminium and steel in creating brightly coloured works that challenge perceptions.

The other finalists – Doa Aly from Egypt, Iranian Raha Raissnia and Sarah Abu Abdallah from Saudi Arabia – will work with a guest curator to oversee the development of their projects into an exhibition.

This year it will be Moroccan Omar Berrada, who co-directs Dar Al Ma’mun, a library and artist residence on the outskirts of Marrakech.

“They are artists with diverse backgrounds and practices, although I see fascinating echoes between their approaches, which I look forward to exploring further and articulating into an exciting and thought-provoking exhibition,” Mr Berrada said.

Sunny Rahbar, founder and owner of The Third Line, said Begum deserved the recognition.

“We are delighted by this news and really proud of Rana,” she said. “Her practice over the years reflects growth and maturity – with each new body of work going from strength to strength.

“This truly is her time to shine and we could not be happier for her.”

Dubai curator and patron Dana Farouki chaired a judging panel that included: Antonia Carver, director of Art Jameel; Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-director at Serpentine Galleries; Sandhini Poddar, art historian and adjunct curator at The Guggenheim; and Frederic Sicre, managing director of the Abraaj Group.

“The art scene in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia is thriving,” Mr Sicre said.

“The Abraaj Group Art Prize, now in its ninth year, has played a role in creating global awareness on the creative and innovative talent that exists in the region, empowering and transforming artists’ journeys.

“After tough deliberations for this year’s prize, the jury was extremely proud to award four women who have displayed thoughtful and innovative approaches to their art.”