2016 Sovereign MENA Art Prize Launches in UAE


The Sovereign Art Foundation has announced the launch of its coveted Art Prize in the MENA region, the most prestigious art prize for contemporary artists, in association with START.

Having executed 12 successful years of Art Prize events in Asia, most notably Hong Kong, this year the competition will arrive in the UAE for the very first time, culminating in a grand exhibition and dinner held on October 19th.

So far, The Sovereign Art Foundation (SAF) has raised over US$5.5 million, which has been distributed between both the participating artists and the charitable work of the Foundation. Partnering with START, a non-profit organisation which runs art-based workshops for orphans, refugees and special needs children across the MENA region, with the inaugural UAE event SAF aims to raise funds to sustain existing START projects in addition to helping in their mission to expand their reach to more vulnerable children.

The 2016 prize, which has the theme ‘Hope Takes Flight’, will come to a close with a glamorous invitation-only evening held at Dubai’s luxurious Armani Hotel. During the exclusive event, SAF and START will announce the winner who will receive $30,000 and auction the work of the other 29 finalists, with 40 percent of the funds raised going to the artist and the remaining 60 percent being donated to charity.

An independent board of nominees, made up of over 20 of the region’s independent art professionals were required to nominate all artists who will feature in the competition. The high profile list of nominees comprised of Curators, Art Historians, Arts Writers and the likes from the top museums, galleries and universities nominated 100+ mid-career artists.

The high number of entrants will be whittled down to just 29 finalists, selected by a panel of world class art professionals. Among them Tim Marlow from the Royal Academy, Collector Fati Maleki, Alserkal Avenue’s Abdelmonem Alserkal, David Elliott, International Curator and Simon Njami, writer and independent curator. They will also have the tough job of judging the work of the entrants and ultimately crowning one the winner, before awarding them with the US$30,000 prize.

The art scene in Dubai has been growing with rapid speed over the last few years, and the launch of The Sovereign MENA Art Prize is a very exciting addition to the annual calendar. As well as raising funds for a very worthy cause, the evening will shine a light on regional artistic talent, giving the finalists both international exposure and income to help them continue their works.


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