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Meet the Iranian-American Winner of the Very First Bulgari Contemporary Art Award in Dubai


Nima Nabavi wins the first Bulgari Contemporary Art Award. Photo:

Back in July 2021, the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and Bulgari Group came together for a special announcement: the two would soon launch Bulgari Contemporary Art Award, a special exhibition that would spotlight the works of 17 UAE national and resident artists across visual arts, photography, and sculpture. The aim? To celebrate the creative minds in the region, highlight the unique relationship between Dubai and Rome, and eventually award one for their outstanding skills. And come February 3, 2022, Bulgari Contemporary Art Award kicked off with a bang at Van De Goudenberg Art Gallery in the Dubai International Financial Centre.


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Displaying pieces by Abdul Rahim Salem, Aisha Al Ali, Alia Lootah, Chie Nakano, Farid Al Rais, Ioannis Kadras, Jassim Al Awadhi, Juma Alhaj, Kamal Alzubi, Madar Alsuwaidi, Magda Malkoun, Nima Nabavi, Niveen Meguid, Saeed Almadani, Shamsa Juma, Tala Worrell and Valerie Vincent, Bulgari Contemporary Art Award followed a specific theme: ‘Beauty Connects People’. After much deliberation, three works by the 17 artists were shortlisted by cultural adviser Giuseppe Moscatello, and artists Nujoom Alghanem and Patricia Millns: Nima Nabavi’s painting 2021.12.22, Kamal Alzubi’s sculpture Untitled and Juma Al Haj’s painting Sautoirs. And now, we have a winner: Nima Nabavi.


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Best known for his kaleidoscopic artworks which bring together a spectrum of vibrant hues in wildly intricate geometric designs, Iranian-American Nabavi, who is based in Dubai, was announced as the winner of 2022’s Bulgari Contemporary Art Award at the Italy Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. There in attendance to celebrate his big moment were HH Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Jean-Christophe Babin, group chief executive of Bulgari, Lucia Boscaini, brand and heritage curator at Bulgari, and Hala Badri, director general of Dubai Culture. As the winner, Nabavi will get the chance to tour through Rome for a week with Bulgari, exploring its most beautiful historical sites, as well as visiting handpicked design centers and workshops.


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As part of his prize, Nabavi will travel to Rome on a week-long trip organised by Bulgari, where he will visit design centres, workshops, and cultural and historical sites, all courtesy of the Italian brand as a unique and enriching mentorship experience for the evolving artist. After the success of its inaugural edition, it’s safe to say that Bulgari Contemporary Art Award has sealed its spot among one of the most interesting art celebrations in the region, which promises to continue giving local talent a strong global platform.



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