Nabla Yahya has been selected as the winner of the third edition of the Richard Mille Art Prize.
The artist’s winning installation SoftBank (2023), one of eight works shortlisted for the prize and presented at the Art Here 2023 exhibition at Louvre Abu Dhabi, is based on her extensive research into the enigmatic history of the Suez Canal. Through a three-dimensional cartographic representation of the canal, the work reflects on the notion of cultural hegemony and its impact in the present day.
In response to Art Here’s theme of ‘Transparencies’, which explored the concept in material and perceptual terms, SoftBank delves into historical details that have often been overlooked and, as a consequence, faded into irrelevance.
Yahya was chosen as the prize winner by a jury led by HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, an Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chairman of UAE Unlimited, an art collector, and a patron of the Centre Pompidou, the British Museum and Sharjah Art Foundation. The panel encompassed Dr. Souraya Noujaim, director of the Islamic Arts department at Musée du Louvre in France and former director for scientific, curatorial and collections management at Louvre Abu Dhabi; Maya El Khalil, independent curator and art advisor, former founding director of ATHR gallery in Jeddah and curator of Louvre Abu Dhabi Art Here 2023; Clare Lilley, director of Yorkshire Sculpture Park and selector of the annual Frieze Sculpture in London’s Regent’s Park 2012–22; Dr. Guilhem André, acting director for scientific, curatorial and collections management at Louvre Abu Dhabi, museum professional, archaeologist and art historian; and Mohammed Kazem, an Emirati artist shortlisted for the 2021 edition of Art Here.
The artist commented: “SoftBank is not just an installation; it’s a dialogue between the past and the present, a reflection on the Suez Canal’s transformation. This award fuels my commitment to exploring untold stories and challenging perspectives through my work.”
The annual Richard Mille Art Prize and Louvre Abu Dhabi’s Art Here serve to champion contemporary artists in the region working across media.