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Abraaj Capital Art Prize 2010 Winners Announced at Museum of Arts and Design on September 9, 2009

Art prize recipients honored as part of Museum’s exhibition, "Abraaj Capital Art Prize 2009," celebrating this year’s winners

New York, NY (September 9, 2009)

Dubai-based private equity Abraaj Capital announces the 2010 winners of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize in New York in conjunction with the exhibition, Abraaj Capital Art Prize 2009, presented at the Museum of Arts and Design. The event will take place today, Wednesday, September 9, between 6:00 and 8:00pm.

The coveted Abraaj Capital Art Prize, in its second year, was established to raise awareness of the under-represented work being created by artists from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region. The winners were chosen from ninety-seven applications selected by an international jury including the Museum's curator Lowery Stokes Sims.

The prize recipients are:

  • Artist Hala Elkoussy, from Egypt and Jelle Bouwhuis, Curator at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam;
  • Artist Marwan Sahmarani from Lebanon and Lebanese-Spanish curator Mahita El Bacha Urieta; and
  • Algerian artist Abdel Kader Attia and curator Laurie Ann Farrell, Executive Director of Exhibitions for the Savannah College of Art and Design in the United States.

"The Abraaj Capital Art Prize was born out of an essential need and will bring global awareness to artists from the MENASA region who have historically been underrepresented in the Western art world. The Museum is proud to present this significant art prize," states Holly Hotchner, the Nanette L. Laitman Director of the Museum of Arts and Design.

Frederic Sicre, Executive Director of Abraaj Capital comments: "In its second year, the Abraaj Capital Art Prize signifies not only our continued commitment to supporting the creative potential to be found in the MENASA region, but also re-instates Abraaj Capital's unwavering commitment as a patron of the arts. Our aim is to empower young artists across the MENASA markets and bring their talents to the forefront of both the regional and international art community."

Savita Apte, Chair of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize, states: "The quality of applications that we have received this year indicates a significantly higher level of interest, understanding and maturity. We are thrilled with the high calibre of established artists and curators vying for the Abraaj Capital Art Prize. There will be both a regional and global audience keen to see each of these artists' creations at Art Dubai 2010."

Abraaj Capital, the premier investment firm specializing in private equity investment in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region, pioneered the art prize in order to foster and reward artistic development in its core markets.

The work of the this year's prize winners, Iran's Nazgol Ansarinia and Leyla Fakhr, Assistant Curator at Tate Britain, Algeria's Zoulikha Bouabdellah and Carol Solomon, Visiting Associate Professor of Art History at Pennsylvania's Haverford College and Turkey's Kutlug Ataman and Cristiana Perrella, Curator of the Contemporary Arts Program at the British School in Rome, will be on view through October 4, 2009 at the Museum's Design and Innovation Gallery, which explores emerging trends in art and design through a series of short-term exhibitions guest-curated by leading voices in the field.

About Abraaj Capital: Abraaj Capital is the largest private equity groups in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA). Since its inception in 2002, it has raised about US$ 7 billion for its funds, and made more than 35 investments across eleven countries. Based in Dubai, Abraaj operates offices in five countries, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey. More than 150 world-class professionals work at Abraaj from 27 different nationalities. Abraaj's holdings include some of the region's most prominent companies, such as Air Arabia, the region's largest low-cost carrier; Acibadem Healthcare Group, Turkey's biggest privately owned operator of premium hospitals; and Al Borg Laboratory, the Middle East's biggest medical laboratory-testing company. Abraaj has won several international awards, and is a four-time winner of PEI's 'Middle Eastern Private Equity Firm of the Year'. Abraaj operates five funds, and has distributed about US$ 3 billion to investors from 20 exits, where it generated superior returns from the value it added. Abraaj Capital Ltd. is licensed by the Dubai Financial Services Authority, which operates according to international regulatory standards.

The Museum of Arts and Design explores how craftsmanship, art, and design intersect in the visual arts today. The Museum focuses on contemporary creativity and the ways in which artists and designers from around the world transform materials through processes ranging from the handmade to cutting edge technologies.

The Museum's exhibition program explores and illuminates issues and ideas, highlights creativity and craftsmanship, and celebrates the limitless potential of materials and techniques when used by creative and innovative artists. MAD's permanent collection is global in scope and focuses on art, craft, and design from 1950 to the present day.

At the center of the Museum's mission is education. The Museum's dynamic new facility features classrooms and studios for master classes, seminars, and workshops for students, families and adults. Three open artist studios engage visitors in the creative processes of artists at work and enhance the exhibition programs. Lectures, films, performances and symposia related to the Museum's collection and topical subjects affecting the world of contemporary art, craft and design are held in a renovated 150-seat auditorium.

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