Meet Nabla Yahya, Winner of the 2023 Richard Mille Art Prize | Savoir Flair
Meet Nabla Yahya, Winner of the 2023 Richard Mille Art Prize
by Assele Kahwaji 3-minute read February 27, 2024

Visit SoftBank along with the full 'Transparencies' Art Prize exhibition at Louvre Abu Dhabi.

In a momentous occasion at Louvre Abu Dhabi on January 24th, Nabla Yahya emerged as the winner of the 2023 Richard Mille Art Prize. Yahya's triumph with her captivating work, SoftBank, unfolded at an exclusive ceremony, capping a journey that began with her inclusion among the eight shortlisted artists featured in the Louvre Abu Dhabi ‘Art Here’ 2023 exhibition. It was a pivotal moment that marked the culmination of a journey that not only highlighted Yahya's exceptional talent but also underscored the exhibition's significance in the contemporary art landscape.

A distinguished six-member jury, led by His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, carefully evaluated the submissions. The panel, comprising luminaries such as Dr. Souraya Noujaim, Maya El Khalil, Clare Lilley, Dr. Guilhem André, and Mohammed Kazem, found a unanimous voice in awarding Yahya’s work. Their verdict celebrated the multidimensional approach Yahya brought to the theme of ‘Transparencies,’ emphasizing the invisible currents of finance, trade, and labor that shape the region.

Nabla Yahya, a multidisciplinary artist born and raised in the UAE to Indian parents, navigates celluloid, earth, and the ethereal realms in her practice, incorporating video, space, and text. SoftBank, her winning submission, intricately presents a three-dimensional cartographic representation of the Suez Canal. The artwork seeks to illuminate neglected details and unravel the obscure histories and atrocities surrounding the canal's initial construction from 1859 to 1869. Yahya's meticulous exploration sheds light on the overlooked aspects of monumental projects, as well as the human cost associated with them.


Upon receiving the award and a prize of approximately AED220,300, Yahya shared her profound gratitude and reflection on the significance of SoftBank. She articulated that SoftBank goes beyond being just an installation; it represents a dialogue between the past and the present, reflecting on the transformation of the Suez Canal. Yahya's commitment to exploring untold stories and challenging perspectives through her work was acknowledged and celebrated by the jury, solidifying her place in the contemporary art scene.

In its third edition, The Richard Mille Art Prize successfully provides a platform for contemporary artists from the region. Yahya's victory not only highlights her individual achievement but also emphasizes the exhibition's role in elevating Abu Dhabi as a cultural hub. As this edition draws to a close, anticipation simmers for the next, promising another captivating foray into the ever-evolving world of contemporary art in the region.

Visit SoftBank along with the full 'Transparencies' Art Prize exhibition at Louvre Abu Dhabi, open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 8:30pm until March 31st, 2024.

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