Emerging, established and young artists awarded at World Art Dubai

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Looking at art at World Art Dubai.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

World Art Dubai, the eighth edition of the region’s most accessible and affordable art fair, has announced the winners from their yearly awards ceremony, with two new categories added to the line-up for the 2022 event.

The fair, which ran March 16 – 19 at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), hosts the awards to support the creative industry across the region by advocating established and emerging artists, photographers and the next gen of artists from eight schools.


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Featuring 4000+ artworks and 300 artists from more than 50 countries, the annual show features an eclectic mix of innovations from a variety of artistic divisions, including mixed media, fashion, music, dance, sustainability, digital art, photography, graffiti, sculptures and besides others.

art dubai 12 Siddiqa Juma (right) with her award.

The World Art Dubai Awards were awarded to four creative winners selected by event specialist curators, Batool Jafri, the ‘Emirates Woman of the Year 2018’; Samar Kamel, Egyptian artist, curator and author and Petra Kaltenbach, artist, videographer and graphic designer.

Jafri is a practicing artist and has been exhibiting both locally and internationally. “My art activities have allowed me to gain experience in teaching and conducting workshops for people of all ages and abilities,” she says.

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Kamel uses colourful depictions of modern women to challenge stereotypes and traditional attitudes about women. She has exhibited her work in more than 70 international art exhibitions and fairs around the world so far. Kaltenbach is a German painter residing in Dubai, after moving to the emirate in 2004.

As graphic designer and fine artist, she blends her art with technology, to express the inner self, allowing people to step out of restrictions of conditioning, into a more expanded world. Shakila Abossedgh took home the Outstanding Art Award. She commented: “Winning this award is incredible, and to be honoured amongst all these other amazing artists is as exciting.

“The World Art Dubai experience has allowed me to meet so many curators, buyers, and customers from all over the world and has really widened exposure to my work.” This year’s Best Gallery Award was presented to Champop Gallerie from France.

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Accepting the award was Deborah Szpica, who was exhibiting for the first time. “This is a real surprise for us! This is our first time exhibiting at World Art Dubai and I am so happy for the recognition, as well as the recognition for all artists taking part in my booth. World Art Dubai is a melting pot of different art and is amazing to see so much artwork that represents Dubai,” she said.

The Emerging Artist Award was won by Anahita Ghazanfari, who has been working for over three years on her award winning collection. “To be recognised like this after so much hard work is amazing,” she said. “I have been working on this collection for three to four years, and for it to start winning awards is something I couldn’t have imagined.

“World Art Dubai allows artists to communicate and express themselves, and is the perfect platform for new enthusiasts to come and purchase their first piece. Art shouldn’t be scary or unapproachable and this event proves just how approachable art really is. I love it.” 

art dubai 16 This year’s Best Gallery Award was presented to Champop Gallerie, from France.

And finally, the Best Artist Award went to Zakir Hussein, whose creations this year are dedicated to women that revolve around ‘Bint-E-Hawa’, which in Arabic means both ‘daughter’ and ‘the first woman to step on the earth’. Making its debut as a new feature of the event, the W.A.D Next Area saw 19 artists showcasing 60 of their pieces. The new feature displayed the digital future of art and was recognised with a special NFT Award.

Scooping it up was Siddiqa Juma from the Morrow Collective. “To win the very first NFT Award at World Art Dubai with my very first NFT creation is unbelievable and feels truly amazing,” the artist said. “I can’t wait to keep creating in this new and exciting space and see what happens next.” Another new award this year was the Indigo Hotel Awards, which enables the recipient to showcase their art in the hotels on a complimentary basis.

art dubai 15 The Emerging Artist Award was won by Anahita Ghazanfari (right).

Rising star of the Middle Eastern art world, Kristel Bechara, won the award. She commented: “I am so happy to have been selected as the winner of this award, and I am looking forward to my collaboration with Indigo Hotels and exploring what we can create together using their amazing spaces.”

Running for its fourth year, Rove Hotels awarded Mario Bejaran Cardenas as winner of the Emerging Artists competition, with the accolade entitling him with a complimentary exhibition space at World Art Dubai 2023. Rove’s Public Choice winner for 2022 was UAE based freelance artist Meera Chokshi.

Recognising the future of the industry, the art fest’s annual school award allows artists to exhibit at their first ever exhibition, submitting collaborative pieces with their classmates. Eight Dubai based schools entered the category in efforts to showcase their artistic flair and presented pieces from both junior and senior school children underpinning the theme ‘Identity’.

The winner of the Primary School Award was Repton Dubai, with runner up going to Horizon International School. In the Secondary School Award, first place went to Nord Anglia School Dubai, with the runner up position going to GEMS New Millenium School. Congratulations to all winners! When you win, art wins.

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