Sharjah Art Foundation Production Programme grant winners announced


At the closing reception of the annual March Meeting on 19 March 2012, the Sharjah Art Foundation announced the winners of its Production Programme grant. This year’s winners were Sean Gullette, Mario Rizzi and Lindsay Seers, all of whom work with film.

Photo of the premiere performance of 'Revisiting Tarab' by Tarek Atoui, a reinterpretation of classical Arab music that concluded the announcement of the Production Programme grant winners at the March Meeting.

An unusual selection

First launched in 2008, the Sharjah Art Foundation’s Production Programme grant provides for international artists to produce artwork in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region. The winners were announced at the closing ceremony of the Sharjah Art Foundation’s “March Meeting 2012: Working with Artists and Audiences on Commissions and Residencies”.

Incorporated into the Sharjah Art Foundation‘s core initiatives in 2010, the aim of the Production Programme is to promote ambitious and innovative projects that “transform our understanding of what art is and how it can be experienced.” Each year, winning proposals share the USD200,000 grant.

This year’s winners were selected from an open call for submissions that brought in over 200 submissions from 60 countries. All three of the 2012 winners are video and film artists. Commenting on the unusual selection at the award reception, Sharjah Art Foundation President Hoor Al-Qasimi said, “After reviewing submissions by artists from a broad range of countries, we noted a particular strength in the proposals for new work in film and video. It is our pleasure to provide grants to these three artists who approach film and video from different standpoints.”

Sean Gullette, still from 'Traitors', 2011, HD video.

The winners

Sean Gullette is a US-born screenwriter, actor, director and producer living in Morocco. The Foundation selected Gullette for his proposal to develop his 30-minute short Traitors, a commission for the 2011 Sharjah Biennial, into a full-length film. The movie depicts an all-girl punk band shooting their first music video on the streets of Tangier, Morocco. He has previously been involved in over two dozen films, including starring in the award-winning Pi, which he co-wrote with Darren Aronofsky. Apart from his film work, Gullette is also the founder of the 212 Society, a non-profit that supports cultural and educational projects in Morocco.

Mario Rizzi, 'Out of Place', 2005, six-screen video installation. This work won Rizzi the 2005 Sharjah Biennial's Best Artist Award.

Mario Rizzi is a Berlin-based Italian artist who won for his proposal for the film Bayt, which he describes as an HD-video work “concentrating on small events and memories in the life of those forgotten or ignored people who are playing a valuable role in imagining a new Arab civil society in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and Syria.” Rizzi was awarded the Best Artist Prize at the 7th Sharjah Biennial in 2005. In 2010 the Museum of Modern Art in New York acquired his work for their permanent collection.

Lindsay Seers, interior view of 'Monocular', 2011, mixed media.

Lindsay Seers is an English artist who will use her grant winnings to complete her filmic installation “MONOCULAR 2”. The piece will comment on maritime trade in the Indian Ocean at the end of the 19th century. Seers has exhibited in many countries around Europe and the Americas. In 2010, she won the Paul Hamlyn Award, which supports artists at important stages in their careers.


Related Topics: art grants, art prizes, art in Sharjah

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