Young Creatives: Gallery One’s inaugural ‘Brilliant Arabia’ student art awards

Open to all students between 12 and 18 years in the UAE, the new Young Creatives challenge from Gallery One aims to promote “a sense of opportunity within the arts” under the ambitious theme of ‘Brilliant Arabia’. Gallery One is looking for commercially viable work that can be sold in its stores, so for the winners there’s the opportunity to see some real cash returns.

The “sense of opportunity” includes giving young people a degree of awareness of the career potential in the arts, particularly the kind of non-fine art that Gallery One sells so successfully. You’d think that might be better done at college level, but certainly there are always talented schoolchildren who never realise their commercial potential.

The Awards also appears to be a clever mix of CSR (this is the kind of thing that this kind of company can and should do) and commercial good sense – winning entries will be made up as prints or products for sale in Gallery One shops, with the successful artist/designer getting a standard royalty.

There are two categories to enter: ‘Art into Product’ is for an artwork on the theme of Brilliant Arabia that is suited to commercial reproduction. The bumf says it can be a painting, a graphic or a photographic montage, just so long as it can be reproduced as a product such as a print, a poster or a greeting card – Gallery One’s staples, in fact. (We think straight unmontaged photographs qualify as well.)

‘Design for Retail’ is for the design of a commercial product, presented as a visualisation, a working prototype or “simply a great idea which is powerfully portrayed”. This looks like it could be a great classroom exercise in design (or maybe design technology) for older kids.

In both cases submissions will be judged on commercial potential and consumer appeal as well as “aesthetic achievement” and relevance to the theme of Brilliant Arabia.

The entry procedure is simple – there appears to be no entry form, you just send JPGs or PDFs to (maximum file size 2.5Mb). Entries open on 1 January and close on 22 March.

Shortlisted artworks and design proposals will be requested in hard copy form and given a public exhibition in Dubai; the final winning submissions will be selected by a jury (the ubiquitous “panel of experts”) led by Gallery One CEO Gregg Sedgwick.

More information is here.


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