Abraaj Group Art Price






Winning Artist: Yto Barrada (b.1971, Paris)

Yto Barrada studied history and political science at the Sorbonne and photography in New York. Her work—including photography, film, sculpture, prints and installations—began by exploring the peculiar situation of her hometown Tangier. Her work has been exhibited at Tate Modern (London), MoMA (New York), Renaissance Society (Chicago), Witte de With (Rotterdam), Haus der Kunst (Munich), Guggenheim (Berlin), the Centre Pompidou (Paris), Whitechapel Gallery (London), and the 2007 and 2011 Venice Biennale.

She was the Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year for 2011, after which her exhibit RIFFS toured widely. Barrada is also the founding director of Cinematheque de Tanger. She is a recipient of the 2013-2014 Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography (Peabody Museum at Harvard University). She has published several books, and her first comprehensive monograph was published by JRP Ringier in 2013. Barrada is represented by Sfeir-Semler Gallery (Beirut, Hamburg), Pace Gallery (London), and Galerie Polaris (Paris).

Image (c)Benoit Peverelli

Shortlisted Artist: Sarnath Banerjee (b. 1972, Kolkata)

Sarnath Banerjee studied biochemistry from Delhi University and Image and communication from Goldsmiths University. He wrote graphic novels Corridor, Barn Owl’s Wondrous Capers and The Harappa Files, published by Penguin, Harper-Collins and Denoel. He has received several fellowships, such as the MacArthur, Charles Wallace, Egide Bursary, and IFA. Banerjee has been as a fellow of Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart and Institute of Advanced Studies, Budapest. His drawings and videos have been exhibited at Paris-Delhi-Bombay, Centre Pompidou, Paris; Indian Highway 5, MAXXI-National Museum of XXI Century Art, Rome, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Julia Peyton-Jones,(Directors, Serpentine Gallery); Chalo India!, Mori Museum, 2008; Karton Gallery, Budapest, 2007, Kunstmuseum Bern, 2007; The Museum Fondazione Sandretto re Rebaudengo, Torino, 2006; IFA Gallery Berlin, 2005; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London June 2003. Banerjee has also participated in Hong Kong Art Fair (2012), Fiac, Paris (2011), Frieze Art Fair (2011 and 2009) London, Arco, Madrid (2009) and the Sao Paolo Biennale in 2008. In 2012 Banerjee had a solo exhibition at the CCA in Glasgow, and was commissioned by Frieze Projects East for a public arts project during the London Olympics. He writes a weekly column of visual commentary called ‘Enchanted Geography’ for The Hindu. Sarnath is represented by Project 88 (Mumbai).

Shortlisted Artist: Setareh Shahbazi (b. 1978, Tehran)

Setareh Shahbazi was born in Tehran in 1978 and moved to Germany in 1985. From 1997 to 2003 she studied Scenography and Media Arts at the State Academy for Art and Design in Karlsruhe. Her solo exhibitions were held at Gypsum Gallery, Cairo (2013); 98weeks Project Space, Beirut (2010); Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara (2008); Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg (2006) and Montgomery, Berlin (2006); and Karlsruher Kunstverein (2004). Her group shows include ‘When It Starts Dripping from the Ceiling’, Kadist, Paris, curated by Bassam El Baroni (2012); ‘Jostari dar Salighe va Ehsass’, Asar Gallery, Tehran (2010); ‘Whenever it starts, it is the right time!’, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, curated by Chus Martinez (2007); ‘Rainbow’ at Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut; ‘J’en Reve’ at Fondation Cartier, Paris (2005) and ‘Iranian Pool, Rooseum’, Malmo, curated by Chus Martinez (2003). A one-year research residency by DAAD brought her to Beirut for the first time in 2003 to collaborate with the Arab Image Foundation. She has further been invited for residencies at Townhouse Gallery, Cairo (2005) and Villa Romana, Florence (guest artist 2011). Shahbazi received a publication grant from Stiftung Kunstfonds, Bonn for her artist book Spectral Days (2011) and her catalogue Oh, no, no, ... – The Crystal Series was awarded The Most Beautiful Swiss Books (2005). After spending some years in Lebanon, Setareh Shahbazi currently lives and works in Berlin and travels regularly to Iran. Setareh is represented by Gypsum Gallery, Cairo.

Shortlisted Artist: Mounira Al Solh (b. 1978, Beirut)

Mounira Al Solh started painting in 1996 with Hussein Madi and then completed a degree in painting from the Lebanese University. In 2001 she won the Kentertainment Painting Award in Beirut and went on to the Rietveld Akademy in Amsterdam where she found her voice in multidisciplinary practices. After that, she worked for two years in a studio at the Rijksakademie before being offered artist residencies in South Africa, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and the USA. Al Solh has participated in several group shows including: the first Lebanese Pavillion in Venice, Home Works IV and VI, the 11th Istanbul Biennial, Manifesta 8, Tate Modern, SALT Istanbul, the New Museum, the 5th Marrakech Biennial and Art Dubai Projects 2014. Her works have been presented in solo shows at Fennel, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut; SMBA and rongwrong, Amsterdam; CCA, Glasgow; and Kunsthalle Lissabon in Lisbon. In 2007, she was awarded the Jury Prize of Videobrasil IEA Festival, The Black Magic Woman Award, The Uriot Prize of the Rijksakademie, and was nominated for the Volkskrant Award in 2010 in the Netherlands. Mounira co-edits NOA (Not Only Arabic), an ongoing magazine she created in 2008, which has expanded into a collaborative project: noa language school. She also taught part-time at the Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem, the Rietveld Akademie in Amsterdam and ALBA (Academie Libanaise des Beaux Arts) in Lebanon. Mounira is represented by Sfeir-Semler Gallery (Beirut, Hamburg).

Image courtesy of Jens Schwarz, Beirut 2013

Guest Curator: Omar Kholeif (b. Cairo)

Omar Kholeifis a writer, curator and editor. He is currently Curator at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, Senior Visiting Curator at Cornerhouse and HOME, Manchester as well as Senior Editor of Ibraaz Publishing. Previously he headed up Art and Technology at SPACE, London (where he was director of The White Building, London's centre for art and technology) and was Curator at FACT, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool. Kholeif has also been Artistic Director at the Arab British Centre, London and founding director of the UK's Arab Film Festival. In 2012, he was a co-curator of the Liverpool Biennial. He was a founding editor of Portal 9, an Arabic-English journal of urbanism and architecture. His most recent publications include, You Are Here: Art After the Internet (2014), Virgin with a Memory (For Sophia Al-Maria) (2014) and Jeddah Childhood circa 1994 (2014). In 2015, he will curate the Cyprus Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale.


Abbas Akhavan (b. 1977, Tehran)

Abbas Akhavan's practice ranges from site-specific ephemeral installations to drawing, video and performance. The domestic sphere, as a forked space between hospitality and hostility, has been an ongoing area of research in Akhavan’s work. More recent works have shifted focus, wandering onto spaces just outside the home – the garden, the backyard, and other domesticated landscapes. Recent exhibitions include: 'Variations on a Garden', Galerie Mana, Istanbul (2013); 'Study for a Garden', Delfina Foundation, London (2012); 'Tactics for Here & Now', Bucharest Biennale, Bucharest (2012); 'Tools for Conviviality' Power Plant, Toronto (2012); 'Beacon', Darling Foundry, Montreal (2012); 'Phantomhead', Performa 11, New York (2011); 'Seeing is Believing', KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2011). Akhavan was the recipient of Kunstpreis Berlin, 2012. He lives and works in Toronto and is represented by the Third Line, Dubai/UAE


Kamrooz Aram (b. 1978, Shiraz)

Kamrooz Aram received his MFA from Columbia University in 2003. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include Kamrooz Aram/Julie Weitz at The Suburban, Chicago, Illinois (2013); Brute Ornament: Kamrooz Aram and Seher Shah, curated by Murtaza Vali, at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE (2012); Negotiations at Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York, New York (2011); Generation After Generation, Revolution after Revelation at LAXART, Los Angeles, California (2010) and Kamrooz Aram: Realms and Reveries at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, Massachusetts (2006). He has shown in numerous group exhibitions including roundabout, City Gallery Wellington, New Zealand (2010); the Busan Biennale (2006); P.S.1/MoMA’s Greater New York 2005; and the Prague Biennale I (2003). Aram has been awarded grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts (2004) and the Jacob K. Javits Fellowship Program (2001-2003). His work has been widely featured and reviewed in publications such as The New York Times, Art in America, Artforum.com, ArtAsiaPacific, The New Yorker, The National and Bidoun. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Kamrooz Aram is represented by Green Art Gallery, Dubai


Bouchra Khalili (b. 1975, Casablanca)

Moroccan-French artist Bouchra Khalili was born in Casablanca. She later studied Cinema and Visual Arts in Paris. Her work in video, photography and prints, articulates documentary practice and conceptual approach to investigate methodologies and discourses of resistance as elaborated by members of minorities. Khalili’s work has been shown internationally, as recently at "The Encyclopedic Palace", 55th Venice Biennale (2013) ; "Intense Proximity’’, Palais de Tokyo (Paris, 2012); The 18th Biennale of Sydney (2012); "Mapping Subjectivity", MoMA (New York, 2011) ; The 10th Sharjah Biennial (2011); among others. Recent solo shows and screenings include "Wet Feet and More" at DAAD Galerie, Berlin (2013) ; "The Seaman" at Freedman Gallery, Albright College (2013) ; Wet Feet/Dry Feet at Tarragona Art Center, Spain (2012), Deutsche Kinemathek in Berlin, and Deutsches Film Institut in Frankfurt, among others. Khalili has received numerous awards as "DAAD Artist-in-Berlin" (2012) ; "The Vera List Center Fellowship" (The New School, New York, 2011-2013) ; and CulturesFrance Award in 2010. In 2012-2013, she was commissioned by The Perez Miami Art Museum to produce an original artwork for its inauguration in December 2013. Bouchra Khalili lives in Berlin. She's represented by Galerie Polaris (Paris), and galerieofmarseille (Marseilles)



Basim Magdy (b. 1977, Cairo)

Born in 1977 in Cairo, Egypt, Magdy currently lives and works between Basel and Cairo. His works span various mediums including painting, installation, and video. Recent works attempt to confound linear narratives, evoking confusion, absurdity, fragmentation, as well as a persistent sense of poetic failure. Selected recent exhibitions include Sharjah Biennial 11, Sharjah; The Future Generation Art Prize@Venice 2013 - An official Collateral Event of the 55th Venice Biennale (2013); La Triennale, Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Transmediale, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2012); 1st Time Machine Biennale of Contemporary Art. D-O ARK Underground, Konjic; An Exchange with Sol LeWitt - Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art - MASS MoCA, North Adams; and Weltraum. Die Kunst und ein Traum - Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2011). In 2013 his work will appear in the 13th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul; and Dissident Futures, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, among others


Anup Mathew Thomas (b. 1977, Kochi)

Anup Mathew Thomas is a visual artist living and working in Bangalore. Predominantly using photography as a medium, his work often engages ostensibly local narratives. His recent participation in group exhibitions include Kochi Muziris Biennale, Kochi; The Matter Within, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Generation in Transition, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; The Self and other, La Virreina Centre de la Imatge, Barcelona; and Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie, Arnolfini, Bristol. Solo exhibitions include shows at Gasworks gallery, London and Contemporary Image Collective, Cairo. Anup Mathew Thomas is represented by GALLERYSKE, Bangalore


Guest Curator: Nada Raza (b. 1977, Karachi)

Nada Raza is from Karachi, currently based at Tate Modern in London where she is Assistant Curator focusing on South Asia. Raza holds an MA in Critical Writing and Curatorial Practice from the Chelsea College of Art and has previously worked with Iniva and Green Cardamom in London where she contributed to curatorial projects including Lines of Control; (Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Cornell University 2012)and Social Fabric(Iniva, 2012). She has lived and worked independently in the UAE, where she maintains strong links. She writes regularly for regional and international publications.

Speaking of her appointment, Raza commented: The Abraaj Group Art Prize is a unique platform for emerging artists from the region, allowing complex and ambitious projects to be realized with critical support from a curator. I look forward to engaging with each selected artist in the process of articulating conceptual ideas through to the production of compelling works of art, bringing them to regional and international audiences.


Vartan Avakian (b. 1977, Byblos)

Vartan Avakian's work investigates urbanity as configured and negotiated through political constructs.He employs installation, video and photography to draw out narratives latent in popular media. He studied Architecture and Urban Culture at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and the CCCB, Barcelona and Communication Arts at the Lebanese American University. Recent exhibitions include 'Transmediale 2K+12', Berlin (2012) and 'Arab Express: The Latest Art from the Arab World', Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2012); Sharjah Biennial X, Sharjah (2011); 5th Indonesian International Video Festival, Jakarta (2011); 33rd Cinemed, Montpellier (2011); Home Works V, Beirut (2010) ; Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York (2011); South London Gallery, London (2011); Can Felipa, Barcelona (2011); Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne (2011); The Cube, Taipei (2011); Beirut Art Center, Beirut (2010); Townhouse Gallery, Cairo (2010); Tokyo Wonder Site, Tokyo (2009); Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Beirut (2009) and Meeting Points 5, Beirut (2007). Vartan Avakian is a founding member of the art collective Atfal Ahdath and a member of the Arab Image Foundation. He lives and works in Beirut and is represented by Kalfayan Galleries, Athens/Thessaloniki. vartanavakian.com

Iman Issa (b. 1979, Cairo)

Iman Issa is an artist living and working between Cairo and New York. Recent group and solo exhibitions include: 'The Ungovernables', New Museum, New York (2012); 'Seeing is Believing', KW Institute of Contemporary Art, Berlin (2011); 'Material', Rodeo, Istanbul (2011); 'Short Stories', SculptureCenter, New York (2011); and 'Propaganda by Monuments', Contemporary Image Collective, Cairo (2011). Her video work has been screened at several venues including Transmediale, Berlin; Tate Modern, London; Spacex, Exeter; Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool; and Bidoun Artists Cinema, Art Dubai, Dubai. Her book Thirty-three Stories about Reasonable Characters in Familiar Places was published in 2011 by the SculptureCenter in New York. Issa graduated with an MFA from Columbia University and a BFA from the American University of Cairo. She often employs a variety of mediums including text, sound, sculpture, photography, and video, to raise questions as to the relationship between language, history, and personal cognition and articulation. Issa won the inaugural FHN MACBA award in 2012, was a recipient of the Young Arab Theatre Fund Production Grant in 2010 and The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture Grant in 2009. She is represented by Rodeo, Istanbul. imanissa.com

Huma Mulji (b.1970, Karachi)

Huma Mulji completed her Bachelors in Fine Art (Sculpture) from the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in 1995 and a Masters in Fine Art (New Media Arts), from Transart Institut, Berlin (2010). Mulji's participation in recent selected exhibitions include The Twelve Gates Gallery, Philadelphia (2013); Frieze Art Fair, London and Art Basel Miami, Miami (both 2012); 'Twilight', Project 88, Mumbai (2011);'The Rising Tide', Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi (2010); 'Where three Dreams Cross', Whitechapel Gallery, London (2010);'The Empire Strikes Back', Saatchi Gallery, London (2010); 'Hanging Fire: Contemporary Art from Pakistan', Asia Society, New York, (2008); 'Half-Life', Zahoor ul Akhlaq Gallery, Lahore (2008);'Farewell to Post Colonialism', Third Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong (2008); 'Desperately Seeking Paradise', Pakistan Pavilion, Art Dubai, Dubai (2008) and 'Arabian Delight', Rohtas Gallery, Lahore (2008). In 2007: 'Take Away', Zahoor-ul-Akhlaque Gallery, National College of Art, Lahore; 'Outside the Cube', National Art Gallery, Islamabad; 'Contemporary Art from Pakistan', Thomas Erben Gallery, New York; 'Destination Asia: Non-strict correspondence', Soros Center for Contemporary Art, Almaty. In 2006: '256 Shades', V.M. Gallery, Karachi and 'Sub-Continent', Fondazionne Sandretto Re Rauburg, Torino. She will participate at the Tasmeen Doha 2013: Middle-East Art and Design Conference, in March 2013. Mulji is represented by Project 88, Mumbai. humamulji.com

Hrair Sarkissian (b.1973, Damascus)

Hrair Sarkissian is a photographer. Born and raised in Damascus, Syria, he spent his early years training at his father's photographic studio, where he worked full-time for twelve years after high school. During this time he assisted several European photographers doing projects in Syria, who introduced him to contemporary photography. His most recent exhibitions include the 7th Asian Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT7), Brisbane;'Ici, Ailleurs', Friche Belle de Mai, Marseille; 'Encounter', The Royal Academy in the Middle East; Cultural Village Foundation, Katara, Doha and 'Arab Express: The Latest Art from the Arab World', Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2012). In 2011 he exhibited at Tate Modern, London; Darat al Funun, Amman and in the 10th Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah. Prior to this he has exhibited at the 11th Istanbul Biennial; 'Disorientation II', Abu Dhabi (both 2009) and had solo exhibitions at SALT Galata, Istanbul (2011), and Kalfayan Galleries, Athens (2010 and 2008). Recent publications about his work have appeared in Metropolis M (Nat Muller, 2011), Bidoun (Kaelen Wilson-Goldie, 2010), the book Contemporary Art in the Middle East (ed. Paul Sloman, London, 2009), and Camera Austria (Sönke Gau, 2008). Hrair Sarkissian is based in London and is represented by Kalfayan Galleries, Athens/Thessaloniki. hrairsarkissian.com

Rayyane Tabet (b.1983, Ashqout)

Rayyane Tabet's work is concerned with researching hidden histories that are transformed and retold through objects and installations. He earned a Bachelor degree in Architecture (BArch) from The Cooper Union, New York before receiving a Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) at the University of California, San Diego. Examples of previous exhibitions include: 'The Ungovernables’, The New Museum, New York (2012); 'Km.1121 - Km. 1213', The Center for Architecture, New York (2007); 'Art Now in Lebanon', Darat al Funun, Amman (2008); ‘NOISE’, Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Beirut (2010) and ‘Plot for a Biennial’, Sharjah Biennial X, Sharjah (2011) where he won the 2011 Sharjah Biennial Artist Prize for an Emerging Artist. He was included in the New Museum's book Younger Than Jesus: The Artist Directory published by Phaidon Press, and is the recipient of a special jury prize for the Future Generation Art Prize, Pinchuk Arts Centre, Kiev (2012), which will be exhibited at Venice Biennale, 2013. Rayyane Tabet lives and works in Beirut and is represented by Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg/Beirut

Guest Curator: Murtaza Vali (b. 1974, Sharjah)

Murtaza Vali is a freelance critic and curator. A Visiting Instructor at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, he received an MA in Art History and Archaeology from New York University's Institute of Fine Arts (2004). A recipient of a 2011 Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant for Short-Form Writing, he is a Contributing Editor for Ibraaz.org and ArtAsiaPacific and was Co-Editor of the 2007 and 2008 ArtAsiaPacific Almanac issue. He has also written for Artforum.com, ArtReview, Art India, Bidoun, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia Art, Modern Painters and NuktaArt and has penned monographic essays on Siah Armajani, Shilpa Gupta, Emily Jacir, Reena Saini Kallat, Laleh Khorramian and Naeem Mohaiemen. His curatorial projects include ‘Accented’, BRIC Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn (2010); 'Brute Ornament', Green Art Gallery, Dubai (2012). He edited Manual for Treason, a multilingual publication commissioned by Sharjah Biennial X, Sharjah (2011). He is a frequent public speaker and has spoken at: Cornell University, the Yale School of Art, Art Dubai’s Global Art Forum and The Summit: Art and Patronage, London (2012) and served on the Selection Jury for the 2010 Sharjah Art Foundation Production Programme Grants. He lives and works between Sharjah and Brooklyn.


Taysir Batniji

Born in Gaza in 1966, Taysir Batniji studied art at Al-Najah University in Nablus on the West Bank from 1985-92. In 1994 he was awarded a fellowship to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Bourges, France, where in 1997 he graduated with a DNSEP (Higher National Diploma in Plastic Expression). Since then he has divided his time between France and Palestine, developing an interdisciplinary practice including drawing, painting, installation and performance often closely related to his heritage. Since 2001 Batniji has focused on photography and video. He has participated in numerous international exhibitions in Europe and beyond, in 2011: ‘Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial)’, Istanbul, Turkey; ‘Future of a Promise’, collateral event of the 54th Venice Biennale, Italy; ‘Seeing is Believing’, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany and ‘Le monde n’est pas arrive’, Galerie Eric Dupont, Paris, France. Previous exhibitions have included: ‘This is Not Cinema!’, Fresnoy, France (2002), ‘Contemporary Arab Representations’, the 50th Venice Biennale, Italy (2003), ‘Transit’, Witte de With, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2004), ‘The World is a safer place’, Globe Gallery, Newcastle, UK (2005), ‘Wanderland’, Kunstmuseen, Krefeld, Germany (2006), ‘Heterotopias’, Thessaloniki Biennial, Greece and Sharjah Biennial, UAE (both 2007). During the 52nd Venice Biennale Batniji was part of ‘Palestine c/o Venice’ (2009) and the following year ‘La Biennale Cuvee’, Linz, Austria (2010). Taysir Batniji is represented by Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg/Beirut and Galerie Eric Dupont, Paris. He lives between Paris and Gaza.

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige are artists and filmmakers. For the last 15 years they have focused on the images, representations and history of their home country, Lebanon. Together they have directed documentaries such as Khiam 2000-2007 and El Film el Mafkoud (The lost film), and feature films such as Al Bayt el Zaher (1999) and A Perfect Day (2005). Their last feature film Je veux voir (I want to see), starring Catherine Deneuve and Rabih Mroue, premiered at Cannes Film festival in 2008 and was awarded ‘Best Singular Film’ by the French critics. Their films have been enthusiastically received, won many awards in international festivals and have enjoyed releases in many countries. They have created numerous photographic installations, among them: Faces, Lasting Images, Distracted Bullets, The Circle of Confusion, Don’t walk, War Trophies, Landscape of Khiam, A Fareway Souvenir and the multifaceted project Wonder Beirut. Their artwork has been shown in museums, biennials and art centers around the world and are part of important public and private collections, such as Musee d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, FNAC France, Guggenheim, New York, US, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France and the Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE. They presented their most recent art project, Lebanese Rocket Society, Elements for a Monument (2011) at the Sharjah Biennial and Biennale de Lyon. They are the authors of numerous publications and university lecturers in Lebanon and France, members of the board of Metropolis Cinema and co-founders of Abbout Productions with Georges Schoucair. Hadjithomas is also a board member of the Ashkal Alwan Academy, Home Workspace. They are represented by CRG Gallery, New York, In Situ Fabienne Leclerc, Paris and The Third Line, Dubai and live between Beirut and Paris.

Wael Shawky

Wael Shawky studied fine art at the University of Alexandria before receiving his M.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2000. He lives and works in Alexandria. In 2010 he launched MASS Alexandria, the first Independent Studio Programme for young artists in the city. Shawky has received international acclaim for his work as an artist and filmmaker, his work largely explores transitional events in society, politics, culture and religion in the history of the Arab world. He has had numerous solo shows including: Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK (2011) Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Beirut, Lebanon (2010), Cittadellarte, Italy (2010), Townhouse Gallery, Cairo, Egypt (2009). Cabaret Crusades: The Horror Show File (2010) at ‘Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial)’(2011). He has also exhibited at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, UK (2011), Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels, Belgium (2011), New Museum and Queen’s Museum of Art, New York, UK, SITE Santa Fe Biennial, Santa Fe, US (2008); 3rd Riwaq Biennale, Ramallah, Palestine (2009), 3rd Marrakech Biennale, Morocco (2009), ‘Disorientation II’, Abu Dhabi, UAE (2009), 2nd Moscow Biennale, Russia (2007), 50th Venice Biennale, Italy (2003) among others. His work is included in the collections of Tate Modern, London, MACRO Museum, Rome, Darat Al Funun, Amman and Mart Museum Collection, Rovereto. Shawky has received Egyptian and international prizes such as the Ernest Schering Foundation Art Award, Berlin, (2011). He has participated in several international residency programmes. Wael Shawky is represented by Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg/Beirut.

Risham Syed

Risham Syed’s practice critically focuses on the remains of cultural/historical inheritance and its perceived authenticity in present-day Pakistan. She received a BFA in Painting from the National College of Art, Lahore (1993) and an MA from the Royal College of Art, London (1996). Solo shows include: ‘Lahore 2010’, Rohtas Gallery, Lahore (2010), ‘And the Rest is History’, Talwar Gallery, New York (2010), Canvas Gallery, Karachi (2008). Her work has been exhibited in group shows including: ‘The Rising Tide’, Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi (2010-11), Art Dubai, (2010), ‘Resemble/Reassemble’, Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon, India (2009), ‘Emperor’s New Clothes: Dress, Politics and Identity in Pakistani Art’, Talwar Gallery (2008), ‘Conversations 1’, Elementa Gallery, Dubai (2007), ‘Landscape and Outside the Cube’, National Gallery of Art, Islamabad, (2005), ‘58 Years of Pakistani Art’, Alhamra Art Gallery, Lahore (2004), ‘Playing with the loaded gun’, Apex Art, New York (2002) & Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany (2004) 2nd Fukuoka Triennale, Museum of Asian Art, Fukuoka, Japan (2002), in ‘Threads, Dreams and Desires’, The Harris Museum, Preston, UK (1998). She was awarded the Stephenson Harwood Award (1996), Charles Wallace Trust Scholarship, UK (1996) and the Cite’ International des Arts, Paris, France (1995). She is currently an Assistant Professor at the School of Visual Art, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore, Pakistan, where she continues to live and work. Risham Syed is represented by Talwar Gallery, New York.

Raed Yassin

Raed Yassin was born in Beirut in 1979. He graduated from the theatre department of the Institute of Fine Arts in Beirut in 2003. An artist and musician, Yassin's work often originates from an examination of his personal narratives and their position within a collective history, through the lens of consumer culture and mass production. He has exhibited and performed his work in numerous museums, festivals and venues across Europe, the Middle East, the United States and Japan, including Sharjah Biennial 10 (2011), Delfina Foundation, London (2010-11) where he completed a residency program, Manifesta 8, Murcia (2010-11), Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2011), De-Ateliers, Amsterdam following a 2-year residency, Home Works 5, Beirut (2010) and Photo Cairo 4 (2008). Yassin was awarded the Fidus Prize for The Best of Sammy Clark at Beirut Art Center's ‘Exposureexhibition’ (2009), the AFAC grant for production (2010), the YATF grant for production (2008) and the Cultural Resource grant for production (2008). Yassin is one of the organisers of IRTIJAL Festival, has released 10 music albums and founded the production company Annihaya in 2009. He is also a founding member of Atfal Ahdath a Beirut based art collective and his artwork is represented by Kalfayan Galleries, Athens/Thessaloniki. He currently lives and works in Beirut.

Guest Curator: Nat Muller

Nat Muller is an independent curator and critic based between Rotterdam and the Middle East. Her main interests include the intersections of aesthetics, media and politics, media art and contemporary art in and from the Middle East. She has held staff positions at V2_Institute for Unstable Media in Rotterdam and De Balie, Centre for Arts & Politics in Amsterdam. Muller is a regular contributor for Springerin and MetropolisM. Her work has been published a.o. in Art Papers, Bidoun, ArtPulse, X-tra, Majalla Foreign Affairs Magazine, De Volkskrant, The Daily Star, and in a variety of catalogues and publications. She has curated video screenings for projects and festivals in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Berlin, New York, Istanbul, Copenhagen, Grimstad, Lugano, Dubai, Cairo and Beirut. With Alessandro Ludovico she edited the Mag.netReader2: Between Paper and Pixel (2007), and Mag.netReader3: Processual Publishing, Actual Gestures (2009), based on a series of debates organized at Documenta XII. She has taught at the Willem de Kooning Academy (NL), ALBA (Beirut), the Lebanese American University (Beirut), AUD. in Dubai (UAE), and the Rietveld Academy (NL). She has served as an advisor on Euro-Med collaborations for the European Cultural Foundation (ECF), the EU, and as an advisor on e-culture for the Dutch Ministry of Culture, and is currently art and new media advisor to the Dutch city of Utrecht. She is working on her first book for the Institute of Network Cultures and Nai Publishers. She serves on the advisory board of the Palestinian website project Artterritories (Ramallah), the arts organisation TENT (Rotterdam), and is on the selection committee of the Mondriaan Fund (NL), The Netherlands largest fund for the arts.


Hamra Abbas

Hamra Abbas was born in Kuwait in 1976 and lives and works between Islamabad and Boston. Abbas has a versatile practice that straddles a wide range of media. Drawing upon culturally loaded imagery and iconography, in an often playful manner, Abbas appropriates and transforms traditional motifs and styles to examine questions of conflict within society. She has held several international solo exhibitions that include Cityscape, OUTLET Independent Art Space, Istanbul (2010); Adventures of the Woman in Black, Green Cardamom (2008); God Grows on Trees, Schultz Contemporary, Berlin (2008) and Lessons on Love, Rohtas 2, Lahore (2006). Her work has also been included in the 9th Sharjah Biennial (2009); the International Incheon Women Artists Biennale (2009): Thessaloniki Biennale (2009); Guangzou Triennial (2008); Istanbul Biennial (2007) and Sydney Biennale (2006). In 2009 Abbas was awarded the Jury Prize at the 9th Sharjah Biennial and was shortlisted for the inaugural Jameel Prize. She is represented by PILOT, Istanbul and Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai.

Jananne Al-Ani

Jananne Al-Ani was born in Kirkuk, Iraq in 1966. Working with photography, film and video, Al-Ani has a longstanding interest in the power of testimony and the documentary tradition, be it through intimate recollections of absence and loss or the exploration of more official accounts of historic events. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at Darat al Funun, Amman (2010); Art Now, Tate Britain (2005); and the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC (1999). Recent group exhibitions include Closer, Beirut Art Center (2009); The Screen-Eye or the New Image: 100 videos to rethink the world, Casino Luxembourg (2007) and Without Boundary: Seventeen Ways of Looking, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2006). Al-Ani has also co-curated touring exhibitions including Veil (2003 – 4) and Fair Play (2001 – 2). Her work can be found in public collections, among them the Victoria & Albert Museum and Tate, London; the Pompidou Centre, Paris; the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC and Darat al Funun, Amman. Al-Ani's photographic work is represented by Rose Issa Projects, London.

Shezad Dawood

Shezad Dawood was born in London in 1974. He received an MPhil in Fine Art Photography from the Royal College of Art (2000 – 3) before gaining his PhD from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2008. Dawood has a research based practise that employs many different art forms. The evolution of his work has become increasingly more interdisciplinary and collaborative, as part of a discursive interest in mapping territories through narrative intersections between history, literature and cultural appropriation. Following his first solo show, Shezad Dawood & Friends, held at his studio in 2006, solo exhibitions of his work have been held at: Axel Lapp Projects, Berlin (2007); The Third Line, Dubai (2008); Galleria Riccardo Crespi, Milan (2008); Galerie Gabriel Rolt, Amsterdam (2009) and Aarhus Kunstbygning, Denmark (2010). He has also participated in the following group exhibitions: Empire Strikes Back: Indian Art Today, Saatchi Gallery, London; Disorientation II, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi (2009); Making Worlds, The 53rd Venice Biennale (2009); Altermodern, Tate Britain (2009); Century City, Tate Modern, London (2001) and 000zerozerozero, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1999). Dawood’s works are in the collections of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, the Saatchi Collection and The Frank Cohen Collection in the UK. He is represented by The Third Line, Dubai; Paradise Row, London; Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai; Galleria Riccardo Crespi, Milan; and Galerie Gabriel Rolt, Amsterdam.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke

Nadia Kaabi-Linke was born in 1978 in Tunis to a Russian mother and Tunisian father. She studied at the University of Fine Arts in Tunis (1999) before receiving a PhD from the Sorbonne University in Paris (2008). Her installations, objects and pictorial works are embedded in urban contexts, intertwined with memory and geographically and politically constructed identities. She held her first major solo show, Tatort at Galerie Christian Hosp, Berlin in 2010. She has participated in several international group exhibitions that include Drawn from Life, Green Cardamom (2009 – 10) and Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendall, UK (2011); Split, Darb 1718 Contemporary, Cairo (2010); Aftermath, 25th Alexandria Biennale (2009); 9th Sharjah Biennial (2009); Art Connexions: Arab Contemporary Artists (2008) and Archives des banalities tunisoises (2009) both held at Galerie El Marsa, Tunis, the second was a solo show. In 2009 she was awarded the Jury Prize by the Alexandria Biennale. Kaabi-Linke is represented by Galerie Christian Hosp, Berlin.

Timo Nasseri

Timo Nasseri was born in Berlin in 1972 to a German mother and an Iranian father. He began his artistic career as a photographer, and in 2004 he made the transition to creating sculpture. Combining Islamic and western cultural heritages, his work is inspired as much by specific memories and religious references as by universal archetypes described by mathematics and language, and the inner truths of form and rhythm. He has held several solo exhibitions which include Ghazal, Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg (2009); One of Six, Kunstverein Arnsberg (2009); Epistrophy (2008) and Falling Stars (2006) both at Galerie Schleicher+Lange, Paris and Op-Felder, Galerie ABEL Raum fur Neue Kunst, Berlin (2002). He has also participated in the following group exhibitions: Taaffe-Streuli-Nasseri, Sfeir-Semler, Beirut (2010); Nasseri/Englund, Schleicher+Lange, Paris (2010); En Miroir, CRAC Alsace (2010); Taswir – Pictorial Mappings of Islam and Modernity, Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin (2009); Mashq: repetition, meditation, meditation, Green Cardamom, London (2009) and Eurasia, Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Trento (2008); Phoenix vs Babylone, Espace Paul Richard, Paris (2008) and ECHO, Sfeir-Semler, Beirut (2008). He was awarded the Prix Saar Ferngas Förderpreis Junge Kunst in 2006. He is represented by Galerie Schleicher+Lange, Paris and Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg and Beirut.

Guest curator: Sharmini Pereira

Sharmini Pereira is the director and founder of Raking Leaves, a not-for-profit independent publisher of artists' book projects and special editions, now regularly funded by the Arts Council England. Since 1999 she has worked internationally as an independent curator and writer. In 2006 she co-curated the first Singapore Biennale. She was a Trustee for Book Works, London (2005-2010) and an academic advisor for the Asia Art Archive (AAA), Hong Kong (2005-2009). She currently acts on the boards of several international organisations and journals such as: Arts Initiative Tokyo, Tokyo; In(de)print, South Africa and Camden Council Public Art Advisory Board, London. Sharmini lives and works in London and Columbo.


Kader Attia with Curator Laurie Ann Farrell

Born in 1970, Kader Attia spent his childhood between France and Algeria, or between the Christian Occident and the Islamic Maghreb. His work explores the impact of Western cultural and political capitalism on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), as well as how a residual struggle with and resistance to colonisation impacts Arab youth, particularly in the banlieues (suburbs) of France where Attia lived. He is represented by Galerie Christian Nagel (Berlin and Cologne) and Galerie Krinzinger (Vienna).

Born in 1970, Laurie Ann Farrell is Curator and Executive Director of Exhibitions for the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), which operates galleries in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, Lacoste in France and in Hong Kong. From 1999 to 2007 Farrell was Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum for African Art in New York. Farrell earned her MA in Art History and Theory from the University of

Hala Elkoussy with Curator Jelle Bouwhuis

Hala Elkoussy was born in Cairo in 1974. She studied at the American University of Cairo (AUC) before completing an MA in Image and Communication at Goldsmiths College, University of London. In 2004, she co-founded the Contemporary Image Collective, an artist-run initiative dedicated to the visual image based in Cairo. Elkoussy's work delves into the intimate and overlooked sides of communal living to highlight underlying dynamics at play within the complex urban structure that is Cairo.

Jelle Bouwhuis was born in 1965 in Utrecht, The Netherlands. He is an art historian, critic, writer and curator. Since 2006 he has been curator at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam where he is responsible for the programme of exhibitions, publications and residences. He also manages the activities of the Stedelijk Museum Bureau, a project space in the city centre.

Marwan Sahmarani with Curator Mahita El Bacha Urieta

Marwan Sahmarani was born in Lebanon in 1970, and lives and works in Beirut. With an archetypal biography specific to his generation, he left Lebanon in 1989 and moved to Paris to study at l'École Supérieur d'Art Graphique. His practice often makes historical reference to art history and socio-political issues that are still very present in the Middle East but inspired by themes that are timeless. Sahmarani has exhibited with Fadi Mogabgab Contemporary Art Gallery, Beirut, The Third Line, Dubai, Selma Feriani Gallery, London and Kaysha Hildebrand, Zurich.

Mahita El Bacha Urieta is a curator, producer and arts policy specialist based in London. She has been active in the Middle East, working with the Sharjah Biennial (2004-07) and the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage (ADACH). She has a BA in History and Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean region from the American University of Beirut (1997) and an MA in Arts Policy and Management, City University, London (2000).


Kutluğ Ataman with Curator Cristiana Perrella

Kutluğ Ataman, born in Istanbul in 1961, is an acclaimed filmmaker and artist. Ataman's works primarily document the lives of marginalised individuals, examining the ways people create and rewrite their identities through self-expression, blurring the line between reality and fiction. In 2009 Mesopotamian Dramaturgies - a multi-element project which includes Strange Space has been exhibited at Lentos Museum as part of Linz European Capital of Culture 2009. His work fff has been shown at Thomas Dane Gallery, London (2009) and Whitechapel Gallery, London (2009/10).

Born in 1965, Cristiana Perrella was curator of the Contemporary Arts Program at the British School at Rome for ten years until 2008. In 2007 she was the founding curator of SACS, a Regional Agency for Contemporary Art in Sicily. She has published two survey books on the Italian art scene of the 1990s.

Nazgol Ansarinia with Curator Leyla Fakhr

Nazgol Ansarinia, born in 1979, lives and works in Tehran. She works in a variety of media, including installation, film, print and drawing. Her visual language is mostly determined by the nature of her subject. Ansarinia received her BA in Graphic and Media Design from the London School of Communications and her MFA in Design from CCA San Francisco. She was one of three finalists of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative program 2008 and shows with Green Cardomom, London.

Leyla Fakhr is an independent curator and an assistant curator at Tate Britain. She previously worked at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art and studied in Tehran and London, where she received her MA in Curating from Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2006.

Zoulikha Bouabdellah with Curator Carol Solomon

Bouabdellah was born in Moscow in 1977 while her parents were graduate students in documentary film and art history. She soon moved back to her native Algiers where she was frequently in the company of artists, spending time at the Musée National des Beaux-Arts d'Alger, where her mother was curator for ten years and director until 1994 when they were forced to flee to Paris. Bouabdellah shows with L.A. B.A.N.K., Paris and Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde, Dubai.

American-born art historian and curator Carol Solomon is currently Visiting Associate Professor of Art History at Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania. Dr. Solomon received her PhD in Art History from the University of Pittsburgh in 1987.