Art here / art now: artists for the Richard Mille Art Prize

Louvre Abu Dhabi and Richard Mille have announced the 10 artists shortlisted for the 2022 Richard Mille Art Prize. They will take part in the second edition of the Art Here exhibition, running from 18 November to 19 February in the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s Forum; one will be announced as the winner of the 2022 Richard Mille Art Prize early in 2023 (as well as the kudos, the prize comes with a useful $60,000 in cash).

The artists are an interesting group, most of them born in or around the 1980s and all recognised names – Afra Al Dhaheri, Shaikha Al Mazrou and Zeinab Alhashemi from the UAE; Ayman Zedani, Dana Awartani and Manal AlDowayan from Saudi Arabia; Elizabeth Dorazio from Brazil and the UAE; Simrin Mehra Agarwal and Rand Abdul Jabbar from Abu Dhabi via Syria and India respectively; and Vikram Divecha – born in Beirut, raised in India, now identified with Dubai.

Indeed, they could be a seen as a viable sample of emerging-or-just-about-established artists from the region; all have had several solo exhibitions, most feature in blue-chip public collections, the majority are regular beneficiaries of commissions from biennials and invitations to participate in institutional shows.

It’s not a bad snapshot of interesting art from the region and should make for a good show, perhaps a bit more loaded towards 3D than we might expect (though that’s an assumption based on the artists’ CVs: we haven’t yet seen the work that will be at the Louvre Abu Dhabi).

Art Here 2022 invited proposals from artists residing in the UAE and GCC for current or future work (in total the jury received 246 submissions) which somehow engaged with the notions of ‘icon’ and ‘iconic’ – the artworks should explorehow the concept of the icon resonates within contemporary art practices and how it informs new artistic perspectives”.

This might appear a slightly odd choice of theme, but it obviously fits with Richard Mille’s image and the luxury watchmaker’s self-styled “iconic visual identity”.

It also seems to have produced some very strong submissions. The exhibition’s curator Reem Al Fadda said she was impressed by the work put forward by the shortlisted artists; “the exhibition will be stellar in terms of quality of production and discourse, a sentiment I am sure will be shared by our visitors and the cultural community at large. The creativity of these submissions is reflective of the strong regional artistic scene.”

The shortlist was selected by a five-member jury – Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Chairman of UAE Unlimited, art collector, and a patron of several institutions including Sharjah Art Foundation; Morad Montazami, art historian, curator, and editor of Zamân Books; Hala Wardé, founding architect of HW Architecture, long-term partner of Jean Nouvel and the lead on the Louvre Abu Dhabi project; Dr Souraya Noujaim, Director of Scientific, Curatorial and Collections Management at Louvre Abu Dhabi; and Reem Fadda, Director of Abu Dhabi’s Cultural Foundation and curator of Art Here 2022.

Access to the exhibition will be included in the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s general admission (AED 63). More information on Louvre Abu Dhabi Art Here 2022 and The Richard Mille Art Prize is here.

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