Abraaj Capital Art Prize Applications closing April 30th

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  • Final days for MENASA artists to apply for ACAP 2012
  • Deadline approaching for guest curator applications
  • New Nominating system broadens reach across region

Final call for ACAP 2012, the fourth edition of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize. Applications must be submitted by April 30, 2011 online at www.abraajcapitalartprize.com.

Following the highly acclaimed unveiling of the 2011 Abraaj Capital Art Prize artworks at Art Dubai last month, ACAP encourages artists working from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region to apply for the next edition of the prize. 2011 was the first year five artists were awarded, working with one guest curator. Due to this development, the scope and breadth of the prize have naturally increased, and the critical reception of the prize was greater enhanced by the launch of a publication, Footnote to a Project*, which documents the six months of artistic production.

“Since its inception in 2008, the prize is now recognized as a leading artistic initiative dedicated to the Middle East, North Africa and South Asian cultural scenes”, said Frederic Sicre, Partner, Abraaj Capital. “For us at Abraaj Capital, it is within our stakeholder responsibilities to contribute forcefully to the emergence of the incredible talent flourishing here and of course to give artists the potential to realize their most ambitious projects alongside internationally recognized curators.”

To apply for ACAP 2012 artists must visit the prize’s website and register as an applicant to receive a password. They then have the freedom to return and update their applications as many times as they wish with their unique login, completing sections on the application which include the following: their own contacts and their nominator, artist background and finally the proposal itself, with a provisional working title, detailed proposal (1000 word limit) including a timeline for production, tentative dimension and weight of the artwork and budget. Applications can be submitted in English, French or Arabic. There is no age restriction for artists to apply, nor is a strong exhibition history or gallery representation required.

Curators are also welcome to apply for the annual guest curator position, given the unique opportunity of working alongside the five chosen artists in the run up to Art Dubai, and generating content for an accompanying publication.

Savita Apte, Chair of the ACAP Selection Committee said; “Artists must feel it is their prize, that it is a tangible opportunity to realize a project which without such funding would not be possible. The budget artists propose should include all costs related to production, such as travel to a specific part of the region for research purposes, studio space etc. – it doesn’t all have to go into the physical creation of the artwork. The prize allows artists to develop in new directions, but they should not feel they must change their practice to work in new media, or an ambitious scale, it is important that the true voice of the artist, rooted in the MENASA region stays intact.”

The Abraaj Capital Art Prize is globally unique in that it rewards artistic proposals rather than finished works of art. So far, winners of the first three editions have come from Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Tunisia and Turkey. Curators have hailed from Sri Lanka, Iran, the US, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK.

Abraaj Capital is the largest private equity group in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA). Since its inception in 2002, Abraaj Capital has raised close to US$7 billion and distributed almost US$3 billion to its investors. Headquartered in Dubai, Abraaj Capital operates eight offices in the region including Istanbul, Cairo, Riyadh and Singapore, with two additional offices in Mumbai and London to open imminently. Funds managed by Abraaj Capital or its predecessor entities have made more than 40 investments in 11 countries and achieved 21 exits. Assets under management at the end of 2010 were US$6.2 billion. Funds managed by Abraaj Capital have holdings in 30 companies in the region including Air Arabia, the region’s leading low-cost carrier, Acibadem Healthcare Group, Turkey’s largest privately owned hospital operator, and Al Borg Laboratories, the Middle East’s largest privately owned medical-testing laboratory business. Through a unique stakeholder engagement strategy Abraaj Capital leverages the exceptional opportunity of the private equity industry to positively impact the economic and social welfare of the region across a number of countries, industries and sectors. Abraaj Capital is the first private sector organization in MENA to sign the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI). Abraaj has long funded its strategic philanthropy initiatives with 5 per cent of the group’s management fees and has delivered over 3500 hours of staff volunteer service through community engagement since 2008.

The Abraaj Capital Art Prize was founded in 2008, and is entering its 4th edition. The aim of the prize is to reflect Abraaj Capital’s dedication to empowering potential in the region, giving talented artists the opportunity to break new ground and showcase the rich artistic and cultural heritage of the MENASA. The 2012 application process saw the launch of a new nominating system, with leading art professionals based in the MENASA proposing artists. To date the 2009, 2010 & 2011 works were unveiled at Art Dubai and artworks have been exhibited at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York; MAXXI, Rome; Galleria Civica, Modena; Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai and the Maraya Arts Centre, Sharjah.

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