SAUDI ARABIA

London-based Saudi artist named winner of Ithra Art Prize

January 30, 2019
Daniah Alsaleh
Daniah Alsaleh

JEDDAH – The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) and Art Dubai named on Wednesday the London-based Saudi Arabian artist Daniah Alsaleh as the winner of the second edition of the Ithra Art Prize.

The Ithra Art Prize was launched in 2017 by Ithra in partnership with Art Dubai. The aim of the prize is to support and promote emerging Saudi contemporary artists on a truly global platform.

All Saudi and Saudi-based artists and collectives were invited to submit proposals via an annual open call, with the prize winner receiving up to $100,000 to realize their new artwork, which will be first shown at Art Dubai before moving to Ithra as part of the Center’s permanent collection. The inaugural winner, Sharjah-based conceptual artist Ayman Zedani’s commission, Meem, was exhibited at Art Dubai last year.

A testament to the popularity and impact of the prize, the second edition of the competition received twice the number of applications, with Daniah Alsaleh’s winning proposal chosen by a selection committee made up of the curatorial team at Ithra and international art experts, Mona Khazindar and Anna Seaman.

Born and raised in Riyadh, Alsaleh, 49, is currently completing a Masters in Fine Art in Computational Art at Goldsmiths University of London. Through her work, she addresses notions of the unobtrusive, the ordinary and the common, using geometry and pattern as a form of expression, and crossing disciplines from painting to developing generative art processes with code.

Described by the selection committee as “powerful and thoroughly captivating”, Alsaleh’s proposal explores the structure and complexities of language, deconstructing it to its smaller unit of sound, the phoneme, and lends the large-scale multimedia artwork its name: Sawtam, the Arabic translation of “phoneme”.

Commenting on the announcement, Ali Al-Mutairi, director of Ithra, said: “After the successful opening of the Center last year, we are thrilled to see the Ithra Art Prize proceed in its second edition. Our key commitment remains — to support and promote Saudi- and Saudi-based artistic talent — and we are delighted to partner with Art Dubai once more on this prize. The committee’s response to Daniah’s work was unanimous and we are looking forward to supporting her closely as she works on the commissions and look forward to its reveal in March.”

Winning artist Daniah Alsaleh added: “I am thrilled to have been chosen as the winner for the second edition of the Ithra Art Prize and look forward to be showcasing my work at Art Dubai. With its many initiatives to support Saudi artists like myself, Ithra has made a tangible difference in the development of Saudi Arabia’s art scene and I’m honored and humbled to be associated with such a prestigious project and organization.” Alsaleh will spend the next months finalizing Sawtam, before being exhibited during Art Dubai and then joining Ithra’s permanent art collection.

Ithra, a cultural and creative hub based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia offers programs and compelling experiences while enhancing and showcasing local and global talents. It proudly made TIME Magazine’s 2018 list of one of the world’s best 100 places to visit. — SG


January 30, 2019
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