In line with the celebrations of the UAE’s 50th anniversary and Dubai's preparations to host Expo 2020, the largest international exhibition in the world where Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) is the Official Cultural Supporter, the Authority announced its partnership with Bulgari Group, the leading Italian brand in the world of jewelry and luxury, which resulted in the launch of the first edition of the 'Bulgari Contemporary Art Award' with the support of the Italy pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The annual award, which will celebrate contemporary art and emphasise its importance to cultural development in Dubai and the UAE community in general, aims to provide an innovative platform to support local talent throughout the Expo 2020 Dubai journey under the theme 'Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,' providing them with the opportunity to creatively express how beauty connects people, and how cities like Dubai and Rome are linked by their inspirational beauty and innovation.

The announcement was made at a press conference organised by Bulgari in cooperation with Dubai Culture in the presence of HE Hala Badri, Director-General of Dubai Culture; Jean-Christophe Babin, Group CEO of Bulgari;  Lucia Boscaini, Brand Curator at Bulgari; Paolo Glisenti, Italy’s Commissioner General for Expo 2020 Dubai; HE Nicola Lener, Ambassador of Italy of the UAE; HE Giuseppe Finocchiaro, Consul-General, Italian Consulate (Dubai); Ida Zilio Grandi, Director of Italian Cultural Institute in Abu Dhabi, Italian Embassy; Marcello Fondi, Deputy General Commissioner, Italy at Expo 2020 Dubai; top officials from Dubai Culture, Bulgari, and Italy Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai; and a group of media professionals from national and regional newspapers and media institutions.

Hala Badri stressed that the launch of this annual award this year is of great importance because it coincides with the country’s celebrations of the golden jubilee and its preparations for the future and the UAE Centennial 2071, in addition to the advent of Expo 2020 Dubai that begins in October 2021.

Inspiration and professionalism

Badri affirmed that Dubai Culture's partnership with Bulgari stems from the shared belief in the importance of encouraging all forms of modern aesthetic expression to build bridges of communication and fruitful cultural exchange between people, saying: “Through this partnership, we aim to employ Bulgari's unbridled creativity and style as a vehicle for vibrant dialogue to encourage and inspire UAE talent to present contemporary artworks inspired by the city’s beauty, culture and innovations, providing them with a valuable platform to showcase their creativity and get an expert opinion of their work by prominent specialists in the creative field, which contributes to their access to professionalism and internationalism.”

Badri added: “We are committed to nurturing creative talents and supporting cultural diversity in the emirate, and we welcome local and international partnerships that result in innovative alliances to provide valuable opportunities to support creative industries and talents, thus contributing to empowering the cultural and creative sector as a tributary of the local economy and strengthening Dubai’s position as a global centre for culture, an incubator for creativity, and a thriving hub for talent. By highlighting the works of the participating young artists, the competition will be an incentive to encourage them to pursue their passion and excel in their work and creativity, reach broader horizons, and in turn be a source of the creative scene in the emirate and contributors to its GDP, which contributes to achieving the objectives of the Dubai Creative Economy Strategy.”

Badri stressed that the partnership confirms the Authority's commitment to supporting a stimulating and sustainable environment for creative and cultural industries, and aims to make culture available everywhere and for everyone as well as encourage the active participation of the creative community in telling the story of Dubai's beauty based on originality, culture, arts, communication and interaction between cultures.

Jean-Christophe Babin, Group CEO of Bulgari, commented: “This prestigious award celebrates the engaging dialogue between Rome and Dubai in the name of artistic and cultural heritage. Bulgari is honoured to be a source of inspiration for young artists through its pioneering use of colours and distinctive designs. Encouraging young artists is an investment in our future as their creative energy allows us to observe reality from a new perspective. As a jeweller, we share with the art world the same exciting process that covers the journey from inspiration to uncompromising execution, thus giving life to creations of timeless beauty. This project, born in tandem with our collaboration with the Italy pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, will further strengthen our valuable relation with Dubai, nurturing the shared vision of art as a crucial element to promote social and cultural growth”.

Paolo Glisenti, Italy’s Commissioner General for Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “The Bulgari Contemporary Art Award in partnership with Dubai Culture embodies the essence of Italy’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai with the ‘Beauty connects People’ theme. Creativity and ingenuity represent the historical, contemporary, and globally renowned Italy we will showcase throughout the six months of the Expo during which the showcasing of the winning artwork will celebrate the long-standing relationship between Rome and Dubai.”

Categories and nomination

The Bulgari Contemporary Art Award in partnership with Dubai Culture has three categories in visual arts, including drawing and painting, photography, and sculpture, which will be evaluated according to four criteria: the candidates must be part of Dubai Culture's talent pool, are UAE nationals or residents, their nominated works are specially created for the award, and their works must employ colour to express how 'beauty connects people.'

Dubai Culture will select 3 – 5 nominees for each award category from its talent pool. These artists will be invited to attend inspirational online lectures and workshops that will introduce them to Bulgari, the master of coloured gemstones, as well as to its vision and craftsmanship for creating unique colour combinations. The deadline for submitting the participating works will be in mid-December 2021, while the winning work will be announced early February 2022.

Judging and award

The winning work will be selected by a judging panel comprising specialised experts from Dubai Culture and Bulgari as well as by other jurors selected by the two parties. The winning work will be exhibited at the Italy Pavilion at Expo 2020, and the winning artist will be offered the opportunity to experience Rome through the eyes of Bulgari as part of a week-long journey through the Bulgari universe that would include visits to the gem table, DOMVS, design centres, workshops, historical sites, and a range of exclusive cultural locations. In addition, the winning piece will be exhibited at venues associated with Dubai Culture and Bulgari, according to a pre-defined schedule.

Source: Cicero and Bernay

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