InstitutionsAwards 01-06-2017

The Abraaj Group Art Prize names Myriam Ben Salah curator of its 2018 edition

The Tunisian-born, Paris-based curator and writer, Myriam Ben Salah, has been appointed curator of the tenth edition of the renowned Abraaj Group Art Prize. She follows in the footsteps of Omar Berrada — director of the Marrakech-based library and artist residency Dar al-Ma’mûn — who was responsible for curating the prize’s 2017 edition.

At present, Ben Salah is responsible for special projects and public programs at Paris’ Palais de Tokyo, as well as the editor-in-chief of the international edition of Kaleidoscope Magazine. The curator and writer has commented that the appointment comes as she hones in on  “shifting the narratives around the MENASA region and its artistic practices”.

Established in 2008, the $100,000 prize stands as one of the art world’s most prestigious awards, recognizing the work of artists from across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region. Each year, the award is announced during Art Dubai, with three shortlisted artists also receiving $10,000 to develop new projects.

This year, the jury comprises Abraaj Group Art Prize Chair, Dana Farouki; Aman Foundation founding trustee, Fayeeza Naqvi; and The Abraaj Group managing director, Frederic Sicre. Four new members will also be welcomed: Zeina Arida, director of the Nicolas Ibrahim Sursock Museum (Beirut); Myrna Ayad, director of Art Dubai; Stuart Comer, chief curator of media and performance art at MoMA; Rashid Rana, artist and curator of the Lahore Biennale as well as Omar Berrada, who will sit on the jury for only one year.

This year’s laureate, Rana Begum was commissioned to create the installation No.695, a work reiterating her interest in the relationship between light and color and consisting of “transparent coloured planes which create a third layer of geometry and color”. Previous laureates include Yto Barrada and duo Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme.


Rana Begum's No.695. Courtesy Abraaj Group Art Prize.

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