Complex Made Simple

AUS students triumph at the Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award

American University of Sharjah (AUS) students won 11 of the 15 juried prizes at the prestigious Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award, as well as the People’s Choice Award.

The winners of what is considered the UAE’s most important award competition for young emerging Emirati and UAE-based artists were announced last night in Dubai.

Held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Manal Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Women Establishment, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nayhan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, UAE, the competition is divided into four categories: Fine Art, Photography, Multimedia and Design and the newly launched #ClickYAA Social Media category. Of the 50 shortlisted artists this year, 35 were students or recent alumni from AUS, a testament to the excellent quality of work produced by the university’s students.

Mona Bin Kalli, Director of the Cultural Office of Her Highness Sheikha Manal Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum said, “One of the best things about The Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award is that it launches a lot of new talent in to the regional scene. We are happy that so many of these artists came from American University of Sharjah, which shows the quality and the ability of the university, and the seriousness with which the students approach this Award. So we congratulate all winners and we congratulate American University of Sharjah as well.”

“The Sheikha Manal Young Artists Award sets the standard for artists in the region. Over the years, we have seen the quality of the work submitted and the quality of ideas behind the work getting better. Many of the past years’ winners went on to do well, and we wish tonight’s winners all the best,” said curator Patricia Millns, artist and advisor.

“We are also glad that we continue to receive great works from American University of Sharjah and the university’s great performance is a testament to the quality of American University of Sharjah.”

The AUS winners were Emad Aranki, Omar Alattal and AlHamza AlSadr, placing first, second and third, respectively, in the Multimedia category. Hanin Hazeem, Reyan Hanafi and Sham Enbashi won first, second and third prizes in the Design category; while Sadaf Rezaei, Yasmeen Khalil and Sally Masoud secured first, second and third place, respectively, in the Photography category. AUS students Hinjal Kumar and Zaina Al Khayyat were first and second in the Fine Art category, and Mena Al Samarrai won the People’s Choice Award.

“Last night was spectacular for the arts and design disciplines in the UAE in general, and for AUS and the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) in particular. I was delighted to participate in this public acknowledgment of the notable level of creativity and skill that AUS students possess. Credit must also go to the CAAD faculty in whose courses students developed these abilities and created many of these works,” said Dr. Varkki Pallathucheril, Interim Dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Design at AUS.

“I wasn’t expecting to win because there were a lot of amazing projects,” said AUS alumnus Emad Aranki, first place winner of the multimedia category.

“I am very happy that I won; this is the most encouraging thing to me as an artist, and I want to thank Sheikha Manal for this initiative and hope it continues as it will help many people to achieve their dreams.”

According to AUS multimedia senior Omar AlAttal, runner-up in multimedia, “I did this project just to express my personal inner conflicts, and I am very glad that it got recognized, especially here because this is the biggest art competition in the region. I want to thank Sheikha Manal for giving us this opportunity, and I hope I will continue to get recognition for my work.”

“I was not going to participate but I decided to submit my work on the last day of submission,” said Sally Masoud, visual communication major and second runner-up of the photography category.

“I am ecstatic that I won. This has encouraged me, and it will push me further in my love for photography.”

Jury members for the 2014 edition of the award were Dr. Lamees Hamdan, Commissioner of the National Pavilion of the United Arab Emirates at La Biennale di Venezia 2013; Fatma Lootah, Emirati artist; Reem Fadda, Associate Curator of Guggenheim Museum Abu Dhabi; Antonia Carver, Fair Director of Art Dubai; and Cyril Zammit, Fair Director of Design Days.

The Sheikha Manal Young Artists Award was launched in 2006 as an annual visual art competition, designed to encourage, recognize and promote emerging artists from the UAE. The award is popular among university students majoring in art, design and multimedia. The contest is open to all UAE residents between 18 and 30 years old, the only major criterion being that the artist should not have had an independent solo exhibition previously.