6th edition of Ithra Art Prize

The Ithra Art Prize is one of the most prominent art grants in the world, with the winner receiving $100,000 to bring their proposal to life.

The sixth Ithra Art Prize, dedicated to contemporary artists and art collectives from the Arab world, has a deadline for entries until September 30.

The 6th Ithra Art Prize– special edition (Art in the Landscape) in collaboration with Royal Commission for AlUla calls artists to submit their proposals for a unique site-specific commission that reflects the Arab world’s cultural and natural heritage and presents the winner with a monetary prize of $100,000. 

Ithra Art Prize also supports in the production and delivery of the artwork, which becomes part of Ithra’s permanent art collection. The winning artwork will be installed and unveiled in February 2024 as part of Alula Arts Festival.

5th edition of Ithra Art Prize

The Ithra Art Prize is proof of this undertaking to empower the creative landscape in the Kingdom and beyond. Ithra is committed to igniting cultural curiosity, stimulating knowledge exploration and inspiring creativity, while encouraging and supporting the development of original content. 6th edition of Young Masters Art Prize

The Ithra Art Prize celebrates contemporary art and artists and aims to fund and promote them, and to offer them a global platform. Launched in 2017, the Art Prize was awarded to Saudi and Saudi-based contemporary artists in collaboration with Art Dubai for its first three editions. In its 4th edition the prize was unveiled with the Diriyah Biennale Foundation at the Kingdom’s inaugural biennale, and featured an expanded geographical footprint that included established contemporary artists from or based in one of the 22 Arab countries.

The prize invites artists to submit proposals via an annual open call, and a global panel of experts – including artists, curators, academics and art historians – picks the top proposal, and the winner then gets to create the piece.

6th edition of the Ithra Art Prize jury bios:

Farah Abushullaih, Head of Museum, Ithra

Head of Museum at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra), Farah Abushullaih holds a master’s degree in Museum Anthropology from Columbia University in New York, and a B.A. in International Business and Intercultural Communications from Aston University in Birmingham, UK. Abushullaih joined the Ithra team in 2012 and worked as Lead Curator of the Great Hall exhibition space. During her time at Ithra, Abushullaih led the launching of a number of programs and initiatives that support the development of the Kingdom’s creative sector and provide a platform for cross-cultural engagement. With her team, she curated and developed several Saudi and international exhibitions in collaboration and partnership with distinguished institutions. Abushullaih has led bringing global art to the Kingdom. In 2021, she introduced the first immersive art exhibition in the Kingdom that addresses the topic of sustainability.

Nora Aldabal, Executive Director of Arts and Creative Industries at the Royal Commission for AlUla

As the Executive Director of Arts and Creative Industries at the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), Nora Aldabal leads a team of creative, strategic and operational planners and enablers to craft the next chapter in AlUla’s legacy as a cradle of artistic inspiration. The team’s work is in dialogue with a global constellation of leaders and pioneers across the arts and design sectors, supporting a flourishing cultural landscape across the Kingdom.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Visual Communication from the American University of Sharjah and a master’s degree in Art Management and Curatorship from Boston University. Her studies have been a springboard for her 15 years of experience in the fields of art and design, developing and coordinating art galleries, working at entities such as the Centre Pompidou and Christie’s, and launching cultural diplomacy programs with both Ithra and the Saudi General Entertainment Authority.

Today, her focus is to cultivate the conditions that take AlUla’s legacy of cultural exchange and enrichment into the next millennia. Her aim is to push the boundaries of creativity, ambition and ingenuity through collaboration with visionaries, practitioners, industries and communities. Recent initiatives and platforms include Desert X AlUla, the AlUla Design Award, the art and design center Madrasat Addeera, and plans for major cultural assets such as the contemporary art museum to be designed by architect Lina Ghotmeh and Wadi Alfann – an awe-inspiring destination for site-specific work by international artists, permanently placed in the monumental landscape of AlUla.

Sophie Makariou, Art Historian

Sophie Makariou, Scientific director of AFALULA is Senior Curator and Director with 30 years of experience. A graduate of the École du Louvre, of the Institut National des Langues et Civilization Orientales and of the EHESS Paris, she joined the Department of Oriental Antiquities at the Musée du Louvre in 1994. There, she launched the Islamic Art Department, and, as Its Director she oversaw its new wing open in 2012. The following year, she was appointed CEO and Chair of the Musée Guimet – National Museum of Asian Art in Paris, where she introduced in its cultural programming a contemporary art cycle called “Carte blanches,” inviting artists such as Chiharu Shiota of Japan to respond to the collection. Makariou has published many books and studies on art and culture, from Islamic to Asian art, and from heritage to contemporary creation.

Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, Emirati Artist

Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim is part of the UAE’s first generation of contemporary artists from the late 1980s, an avant-garde scene that included Hassan Sharif, Abdullah Al Saadi, Hussein Sharif, and Mohammed Kazem. Ibrahim’s work has been inspired by a lifelong relationship with the environment of Khorfakkan, his place of birth, with the Gulf of Oman on one side and the Hajar Mountains on the other. This deep connection to his local environment repeats itself throughout his studio practice, whether through his installations, drawings or objects, and the materials he has worked with for over three decades. His handmade objects are shaped like primitive tools, bones or parts of trees and appear to have been unearthed from some ancient den, rather than handcrafted. His works on paper reveal his own form of language – inscriptions, lines and abstract forms reminiscent of ancient cave drawings – marking time and memory through meditative repetition.

Aric Chen, General and Artistic Director, Het Nieuwe Instituut

Aric Chen is the General and Artistic Director of the Nieuwe Instituut, the Netherlands’ national museum and institute for architecture, design and digital culture, in Rotterdam. American-born, Chen previously served as Professor and founding Director of the Curatorial Lab at the College of Design & Innovation at Tongji University in Shanghai; Curatorial Director of the Design Miami fairs in Miami Beach and Basel; Creative Director of Beijing Design Week; and Lead Curator for Design and Architecture at M+, Hong Kong, where he oversaw the formation of the museum’s design and architecture collection and program.

Previous winners of the Ithra Art Prize are Ayman Zedani (2018), Daniah Al Saleh (2019), Fahad bin Naif (2020) , Nadia Kaabi-Linke (2021) and Adel Abidin (2023).

There is time until September 30 to submit artworks