The winner of the Ithra Art Prize, now in its third year, has been announced as Fahad bin Naif, whose installation mimicking a greenhouse will go on show at Art Dubai in March.
The award is given in collaboration between Art Dubai and the King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture (Ithra), the cultural centre that has recently been built in the Eastern Provinces. The winner receives $100,000, which goes towards the production of their artwork. After going on show at Art Dubai, the piece becomes a part of the permanent collection of Ithra in Dhahran. Designed to bolster and promote the Saudi art scene, the prize is open to Saudi-born or Saudi-based artists.
The 2020 winner, Fahad bin Naif studied architecture at Central Saint Martins college in London. He works at the intersection of urban design and architecture, and his submission utilised the idea of the greenhouse to think both about environmental sustainability in arid areas like the Gulf. In areas where both local landscaping and agriculture rely heavily on plants that are not endemic to the region, his installation is welcomed.
Rakhm (‘incubation’ in Arabic) will mimic existing agricultural nurseries that use polytunnels to incubate their plants, but will grow instead indigenous vegetation. Visitors will be prohibited from entering, underlining the alienation between local inhabitants and plant-life.
Launched in 2017 by the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in collaboration with Art Dubai, the Prize is awarded to emerging Saudi and Saudi-based talent in contemporary art as a means to fund, promote and offer Saudi artists a global platform.
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