Ithra unveils prize winning piece at inaugural Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale
E Pluribus Unum – A Modern Fossil takes a reflective look at one of the effects of the pandemic, which continues to impact commercial air travel.
The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) on Saturday unveiled Nadia Kaabi-Linke’s E Pluribus Unum – A Modern Fossil, the winning artwork of the fourth edition of the Ithra Art Prize. The unveiling was done at the inaugural Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale.
One of the most significant art prizes in the Arab world, Kaabi-Linke received a $100,000 grant to bring her proposal to life.
E Pluribus Unum – A Modern Fossil takes a reflective look at one of the effects of the pandemic, which continues to impact commercial air travel, and highlights questions about how humanity measures progress. The monumental work consists of 19 canvases depicting the cracks in a sign bearing an arrow, a symbol associated with the aviation industry and with economic growth and has us reflect on our priorities.
Inspiring exploration and creativity
“Ithra’s goal is to ignite cultural curiosity, stimulate knowledge exploration and inspire creativity, while encouraging the development of original content across several creative fields, with an emphasis on the arts,” said Ithra Museum head Farah Abushullaih. “Ithra’s Museum works to bridge the past with the present, and the present with the future, all the while engaging with world cultures and honoring Saudi Arabia’s rich heritage and cultural history.”
The Ithra Art Prize is proof of this commitment to support and develop the creative landscape in the Kingdom and beyond. We are delighted to share Kaabi-Linke’s winning artwork with the world for the first time, and proud to be able to expose talent from the Arab world on an international platform.
— Farah Abushullaih
Kaabi-Linke, a Tunisian-Ukrainian conceptual artist based in Berlin, said: “The Ithra Art Prize empowered me to get over boundaries in a way I never thought possible to date.
“In the end, I can say that I have produced one of my most complex and detailed paintings in about two months, but different from previous works, this piece is almost 20 meters long. This unique experience was as challenging as rewarding in the end. Thank you, Ithra Art Prize, for bringing this project to life. I know it is in the best hands now,” she said.
About the artist and her work
Kaabe-Linke studied fine arts in Tunis and holds a PhD from the Sorbonne in Paris. She grew up in Tunis, Kyiv, Dubai and Paris, and has exhibited widely in several renowned global art institutions, including at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
E Pluribus Unum – A Modern Fossil will join Ithra’s prestigious permanent collection. The winning artwork takes a reflective look at one of the effects of the pandemic, the decline in commercial air traffic, which raises questions about how humanity measures progress and economic growth.
Ithra Art Prize
The Ithra Art Prize began as a competition for Saudi and Saudi-based contemporary artists. This year, the competition was opened up to artists from 22 Arab countries and presented at the Kingdom’s first biennale, Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale organized by Diriyah Biennale Foundation.
Ayman Zedani (Mēem, 2018), Daniah Al Saleh (Sawtam, 2019) and Fahad bin Naif (Rakhm, 2020) previously won the prize.
The Ithra Art Prize winning work is displayed at the Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale, which runs until March 11. For more information on Ithra and its programs, visit www.ithra.com.