By Gureni Lukwaro
One of the many challenges for young artists is finding the right platform to showcase their imaginative creations. But for young artists in the region, the Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award has provided the much-needed avenue to help launch new talent. Since its creation in 2006, the award has become the most important award for regional artists.
Over the years, American University of Sharjah (AUS) artists have performed very well. This year, out of 50 shortlisted artists, 35 were students or recent alumni from AUS, a testament to the excellent quality of work produced by the university’s students. To make things even brighter for AUS, when the winners were announced on Monday, January 26, 2015, AUS students won 10 of the 15 juried prizes.
Held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Manal Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Women Establishment, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nayhan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, UAE, the competition is divided into the following categories: Fine Art, Photography, Multimedia, Design and the newly launched #ClickYAA Social Media category.
The AUS winners were Emad Aranki, Omar Alattal and AlHamza AlSadr, placing first, second and third, respectively, in the Multimedia category. Hanin Hazeem, Reyan Hanafi and Sham Enbashi won first, second and third prizes in the Design category; while Yasmeen Khalil and Sally Masoud secured second and third place, respectively, in the Photography category. AUS students Hinjal Kumar and Zaina Al Khayyat were first and second in the Fine Art category, and Mena Al Samarrai won the People’s Choice Award.
“I wasn’t expecting to win because there were a lot of amazing projects, but I am very happy that I won. This is the most encouraging thing to me as an artist and I want to thank Sheikha Manal for this initiative. I hope it continues as it will help many people achieve their dreams,” said Emad Aranki, a Spring 2014 graduate of AUS.
“I did this project just to express my personal inner conflicts and I am very glad that it got recognized, especially here because this is the biggest art competition in the region. I want to thank Sheikha Manal for giving us this opportunity, and I hope I will continue to get recognition for my work,” said Omar Nimer Al Attal, AUS multimedia design senior.
The Sheikha Manal Young Artists Award was launched in 2006 as an annual visual art competition, designed to encourage, recognize and promote emerging artists from the UAE. The award is popular among university students majoring in art, design and multimedia. The contest is open to all UAE residents between 18 and 30 years old, the only major criterion being that the artist should not have had an independent solo exhibition previously.
“I was not going to participate but I decided to submit my work on the last day of submission, so I am ecstatic that I won. This has encouraged me, and it will push me further in my love for photography,” said Sally Masoud, a visual communication major at AUS who also minors in photography.
Mona Bin Kalli, Director of the Cultural Office of Her Highness Sheikha Manal Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said, “One of the best things about the Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award is that it launches a lot of new talent in to the regional scene. We are happy that so many of these artists came from American University of Sharjah, which shows the quality and the ability of the university, and the seriousness with which the students approach this award. We congratulate all the winners and we congratulate American University of Sharjah as well.”
“The Sheikha Manal Young Artists Award sets the standard for artists in the region. Over the years, we have seen the quality of the work submitted and the quality of ideas behind the work getting better. Many of the past years’ winners went on to do well, and we wish tonight’s winners all the best,” said curator Patricia Millns, artist and advisor. “We are also glad that we continue to receive great works from American University of Sharjah and the university’s performance is a testament to its quality.”
The College of Architecture, Art and Design at AUS offers majors in Architecture, Design Management, Multimedia Design, Visual Communication and a minor in Photography. To learn how AUS can help you pursue your dreams in art and design, please make an appointment to meet with one of our Admission Officers.