The Inaugural
Dunya Contemporary Art Prize Recipient
Sophia Al-Maria
The Inaugural
Dunya Contemporary Art Prize Recipient
Sophia Al-Maria
Photo by Laura Cugusi

The Shulamit Nazarian Foundation and the MCA are proud to announce that the inaugural Dunya Contemporary Art Prize has been awarded to Sophia Al-Maria. Al-Maria is a Qatari American artist who has over the last decade pioneered a new visual language in contemporary art. A polymath in the truest sense—an artist, writer, and filmmaker—Al-Maria’s practice illustrates the diversity of ways that artists are working in the twenty-first century. Her critical insights into contemporary culture, examining histories of science fiction, feminism, and the global socio-political condition, feel more urgent now than ever. We are honored to award the inaugural Dunya Contemporary Art Prize to Sophia Al-Maria.

The prize winner is selected by an international jury of experts in the field of contemporary Middle Eastern art, led by Omar Kholeif, the MCA Manilow Senior Curator and Director of Global Initiatives. The jury includes Antonia Carver, Director of Art Jameel; Claire Davies, Assistant Curator of Modern and contemporary Art, Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Michael Darling, the James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries, London.

The Dunya Contemporary Art Prize focuses on artists who are at a mature stage in their career, when the award can offer a substantial opportunity to advance their artistic practice and recognition. The goal of the prize is to foster contemporary artists from the Middle East whose work is rigorous, challenging, and unconventional, and present them as part of the MCA’s acclaimed Ascendant Artist series.

For more information regarding Sophia Al-Maria and her upcoming exhibition at the MCA, please visit the MCA website.

Sophia Al Maria

The Magical State, 2017

Single-channel video
6 min 14 sec.

Courtesy of the artist
and The Third Line, Dubai

Installation View

Sophia Al-Maria:
Black Friday

Whitney Museum of Art,
New York, 2016

Photo by Ronald Amstutz