Young Emerging Artist’s Prize 2020
Stal Gallery’s Young Emerging Artist’s Prize (YEAP), initiated and mentored by the internationally esteemed Omani artist Hassan al Meer, has become a unique platform for art since 2015. This programme has been the first of its kind in Oman, supporting a new generation of rising artists.
For its 5th Annual Young Emerging Artist’s Prize, Stal Gallery is especially proud to continue to support and to be at the forefront of this initiative for Omani youth. Throughout this programme, they are mentored by artists with invaluable experiences and international recognition.
The three-month long programme provides access for professional skills development, online profiling, usage of multimedia technology and displaying a wider presentation of visual arts. The contest has grown to become the most anticipated art programme of Oman at a nonprofit art gallery - Stal, the Alserkal Group’s first cultural project in Oman.
The 5th Annual Young Emerging Artist’s Prize has been awarded under the guidance of Meer who is Stal Gallery’s art director and curator. The featured works represent conceptual art by Omani artists including Farah Mubarak, Said al Jahdhami, Arwa al Jahwari, Hadiya al Qasimi, Farah Asqul, Mahmood al Zadjali, Bashayer al Naaimi, Majeda al Hinai, and Mujahid al Malki.
“This year was not ordinary because of the pandemic and the social distancing norms. The 5th edition of YEAP actually started at the beginning of 2020 by selecting the most promising young artists and preparing them for the competition,” said Meer, adding that it was an opportunity for both established and emerging artists to engage in the thought process and the conceptualisation of new ideas towards effectively communicating the concepts presented therein, aesthetically and philosophically.
“This programme holds very exciting promise for the future of contemporary art in Oman. The jurors were drawn from different institutions and backgrounds and they had an opportunity to collaborate via Zoom conferences, to discuss the merits of each entry, ensuring a fair, thorough, and robust process,” Meer said.
The judging panel comprised a diverse group of art professionals like David Drake, director of Fotogallery (UK), Marta Michalowska, director of The Wapping Project (UK), Riham Noor al Zadjali, artist and co-founder of Art with Refugees (Oman), Karen Drake, scientist, art director and creative producer (UK).
“All nine artists show a willingness to experiment with different media and presentational styles, which is very impressive for emerging young artists. I can't wait to see what they will do next. I’m sure they will go on to achieve wider international exposure,” David said.
Karen added, “The artists demonstrated bold intentions and delivered high quality and innovative work. It was a privilege to work with Stal Gallery and partners on this year's art prize.”
Riham elaborated, “Stal’s YEAP is about innovation, trying to deliver artworks in ways that haven’t been delivered before,whether it’s in concept, materials or presentation. It is nice to see that many of this year's artists managed to use the challenge of working during this pandemic by looking inwards and delivering works that are more original to themselves.”
Grand prize: Majeda al Hinai
Majeda al Hinai is an artist, designer, educator and co-founder of Brash Collective (BC). Her background in architecture plays a key role in her fascination with form and sculpture. Majeda’s collaborative practice BC deals with transposing familiar forms found in popular culture and playing on their exuberance. The research is driven by the desire to re-imagine recognisable objects and represent them in an estranged form. While taking part in social commentary, the work also deals with experimentation and advancement in multiple disciplines, combining art and technology in the physical and digital realms.
Farah Mubarak al Balushi
Best use of materials:
Mahmood al Zadjali