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  • Mar 06, 2015

Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme win Sharjah Biennial prize

A performance by Tashweesh, a sound and image performance group founded by Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme with performer boikutt in 2010, held at the Cave, Beirut, 2011. Photo courtesy Tanya Traboulsi.

Palestinian artist-duo Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme were among the recipients of the 2015 Sharjah Biennial Prize, awarded by the Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) on March 5th, during the gala dinner celebrating the opening day of Sharjah Biennial 12 (SB12). The prize was launched in 1993 along with the first Sharjah Biennial and, according to SAF President Sheikha Hoor bint Sultan al-Qasimi, rewards artists for their “contribution to the cultural landscape of Sharjah and the Middle East.”

Award recipients are chosen at the sole discretion of a SAF-appointed jury. The 2015 jurors were: Koyo Kouoh, founding artistic director of Dakar-based art center RAW Material Company; Suha Shoman, founder and chair of Darat al-Funun/The Khalid Shoman Foundation in Amam, Jordan, a pioneering initiative supporting Arab artists; and artist Park Chang-Kyong, artistic director of the international art biennial, Mediacity Seoul 2014.

The SAF-commissioned work by Abbas and Abou-Rahme featured in SB12, entitled When the fall of the dictionary leaves all words lying in the streets (2015), is the third and final chapter of their “Incidental Insurgents” installation (2012–15). The new, four-channel video work furthers their exploration of the liminal space between the political present and its unseen potential direction.

The other 2015 Sharjah Biennial Prize awardees were American filmmaker Eric Baudelaire, Spanish multimedia artist Asuncion Molinos Gordo and Argentinean installationist Adrián Villar Rojas. A posthumous award was granted to Turkish artist Fahrelnissa Zeid.

A feature on the work of Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou Rahme appears in the March/April 2015 issue of ArtAsiaPacific

Sharjah Biennial 12, entitled “The past, the present, the possible,” runs until June 5, 2015.

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