In line with the vision of Sheikha Manal, the award was first launched in 2006, as an annual visual art competition which aims to encourage, recognize and promote emerging artists from the UAE.
During her opening speech, Muna bin Kalli, Executive Director of the Dubai Ladies Club commented on the growth of the Award saying: “Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award was founded by Her Highness Sheikha Manal’s unwavering belief that the visual arts have a place in everyone’s life – that creativity is a precious gift for us all – and that the efforts of high achievers deserve to be encouraged. The arts have proven to enhance a person’s ability to appreciate a world steeped in diversity. And we believe that such art initiatives are essential for building innovative thinkers who will be the worlds’ leaders tomorrow.” She added, “Now in its seventh year, this year’s competition has seen an impressive number of submissions with more than 500 entries from 22 different nationalities. The huge volume of entries year on year shows us that along with the UAE’s continuous growth and development in various fields, the art community is also thriving and remains a passion for many. The standard of art this year has once again escalated and this exhibition showcases the diversity of visual art forms and young artists that are present within the UAE; further reflecting the valued role that the arts play in creating cultures and building civilizations.” The winners were selected by a distinguished judge’s panel comprised of prominent figures from organizations and institutions within UAE who are playing a critical role in the encouragement and promotion of art.
Khalil Abdulwahid, Visual Arts Manager at Dubai Culture ‘&’ Arts Authority and the Jury spokesperson said, “Selecting the award winning works from so many quality submissions was an immense challenge. As always, the jury process was the same: blind judging; freedom of expression; and evaluation based on the criteria of originality, technique, and the appearance of a personal vision or voice.” “The winning works combined excellent craftsmanship with a story that resonated with the judges. A common strength we found was that many of the artists grasped their mediums and applied them wisely. It was very evident that while each artist had a totally different art angle and unique working method, each winning piece extraordinarily displayed the artist’s ability to control the visual languages and displayed the maturity of his or her creations,” he added.
Ten awards, including the People’s Choice Award, were presented by His Highness Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in three categories – �Fine Art Award’; �Photography Award’ and �Multimedia Award’. Each category winner, runner up and second runner up received a cash prize worth AED30,000, AED20,000 and AED10,000 respectively.
The awarding ceremony was attended by Saeed Al Naboodah, Acting Director General of Dubai Culture ‘&’ Arts Authority, Shamsa Saleh, CEO of Dubai Women Establishment, Muna bin Kalli, Executive Director of Dubai Ladies Club, VIP guests comprising of representatives from the Judges Panel, distinguished members of the local and international art community and members of the media.