Lawrence Abu Hamdan wins Abraaj Group Art Prize 2018

Lawrence Abu Hamdam wins over three other fellow shorlisted artists for the 2018 Abraaj Group Art Prize.

The Abraaj Group has announced that the 2018 edition Prize has been awarded to the Lebanese artist’s socio-political work on conflicts.

Portrait Lawrence Abu Hamdam. Image courtesy Abraaj Group.

Portrait of Lawrence Abu Hamdam. Image courtesy Abraaj Group.

One of the largest monetary art prizes in the world, the Abraaj Group Art Prize recognises artists from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, and comes with USD100,000 for the winner to realise a “dream project”, according to a press release. Beirut-born Lawrence Abu Hamdan was picked out of a shortlist of four other rising art stars including Basma Alsharif, Neïl Beloufa and Ali Cherri. Abu Hamdam joins last years Abraaj Group Art Prize winner Rana Begum.

After studying in London and working around the world for human rights organisations, the artist has recently settled in Berlin where he continues to conduct research around noise and silence in conflicts, and the ways that hearing and listening can be used in activism and advocacy.

Lawrence Abu Hamdam, ‘Earshot’, 2016. Installation view Portikus Frankfurt. Image courtesy the artist.

Lawrence Abu Hamdam, ‘Earshot’, 2016, installation view at Portikus Frankfurt. Image courtesy the artist.

This is the second year running that the artist has won an international art prize, taking home the 2016 Nam June Paik Prize worth USD27,000 in a competition that also included French-Algerian artist Neïl Beloufa in the shortlist. Abu Hamdam was also shortlisted for this year’s Jarman Film Award in the United Kingdom. Speaking at a press conference, the artist stated:

I am delighted to be chosen as the winner of the Abraaj Group Art Prize, especially in light of this being the 10th anniversary of an award that has been granted to many excellent artists over the years. The prize allows me to produce and conceive a work using materials and technologies previously unavailable to me, and in doing so enables me to deepen my exploration of the most contemporary ways of seeing and hearing our world.

Abu Hamdan’s work will be shown at the next edition of the Art Dubai fair, which opens in March 2018.

Rebecca Close


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