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Winner of Magic of Persia Contemporary Art Prize Announced

Press Release by Magic of Persia

Magic of Persia is delighted to announce that the winner of MOP CAP 2011 is SHIRIN SABAHI.

A very well attended exhibition of the MOP CAP 2011 Finalists' works took place from 10th October 2011 at the Royal College of Art; culminating in an evening Private Preview on 15th October, including an auction conducted by Christie's and the highly anticipated announcement of the winner by the Chair of the judging panel, Ali Khadra.

MOP CAP is a global search to identify the most talented emerging Iranian artists and provide an international platform for their careers. Selected from over 100 nominees, the Finalists were chosen from a shortlist of 25 who were exhibited at Traffic, Dubai during March 2011. The winner was selected by a revered judging panel whose members include leading figures from the Iranian and International art scenes, including;

Zaha Hadid - Founding Partner, Zaha Hadid Architects Ramin and Rokni Haerizadeh -Artists Shirazeh Houshiary-Artist Ali Khadra (Chair) - Publisher & Editor in Chief, Canvas Magazine Idris Khan -Artist Abaseh Mirvali - President, Mirvali Projects Mohammad Mottahedan - Art Patron Hans Ulrich Obtrist - Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programmes, and Director of International Projects, Serpentine Gallery, London.

Shirin has been awarded a solo exhibition in an exhibition space at the Saatchi Gallery during Frieze Week 2012. This prestigious prize has been generously sponsored by Mr Farbod Dowlatshahi.

Finally, in recognition of his notable contribution to contemporary Iranian Art, MOP CAP 2013 will be named after the incredibly talented artist, Farhad Moshiri.

Shirin Sabahi - Swede Home


The Magic of Persia Contemporary Art Prize (MOP CAP) is a global search for the next generation of contemporary Iranian artists; the majority of whom have had very limited exposure to the international art scene. The central goal of the prize is to provide an opportunity for gifted artists to gain international exposure, and through doing this, make a notable contribution to the long-term advancement of Iranian art and culture worldwide.

The first of its kind, MOP CAP aims to identify the most talented contemporary Iranian artists in the categories of Painting, Sculpture, Photography and New Media.


The prize is open to Iranian artists living and working both inside and outside of Iran; and in order to be considered, applicants must be nominated. The nomination panel is comprised of carefully selected gallerists, curators, artists, and critics who are familiar with the Iranian art scene. It is the role of these experts to nominate up to two artists that they feel merit the award.

Nominees who meet the entry criteria are required to submit images of their work , as well as a biography and artist's statement. These are then viewed online by the MOP CAP judging panel, who select a shortlist of 25 artists.

The shortlisted artists' works are exhibited at a space in Dubai the following March, where the judging panel meet to establish 5 -10 Finalists. This coincides with Art Dubai, and once the Finalists are announced, the exhibition is opened to the public.

The works of the Finalists are subsequently exhibited in London at the Royal College of Art (RCA) in October 2011 to coincide with the Frieze Art Fair. Here, the judges reconvene to deliberate on the Prize Winner. On the final night of the exhibition, an auction of all of the Finalists' works is conducted by Christie's, with the proceeds dedicated to sustaining the Magic of Persia Contemporary Art Prize.

Following the auction, the Prize Winner is announced and awarded a solo-exhibition in an exhibition space at a leading gallery in London.


Magic of Persia, promotes contemporary and classical Persian culture, and provides a platform to nurture and develop Iranian cultural practitioners of the arts outside of Iran.

This is accomplished by:

a. providing a platform and infrastructure for these practitioners to showcase their vision and create bridges of communication between this culture and the world at large.

b. promoting cultural exchange, debate, and collaboration with like-minded international institutions such as British Museum, Saatchi Gallery and Victoria and Albert Museum through solo and group exhibitions, film promotion, educational workshops, scholarships and art residencies.

Magic of Persia is a privately-funded, non-political, non-religious organisation (registered as a non-profit charity in the UK, charity reg. no. 1104066).


Evidence of just how highly esteemed the prize has become in a short space of time, as well as the astoundingly positive and life changing impact it has, can be seen in the remarkable success of Mahmoud Bakhshi, the 2009 MOP CAP winner who was awarded a solo exhibition at Saatchi Gallery. In addition, Bakhshi's work was acquired by the Tate Modern in London and exhibited at Ropac in Paris.

It is becoming more and more apparent with every new development, both in the world of contemporary Iranian art and the doors which MOP CAP is opening for these artists, that the prize could not have been more necessary or come at a better time. With 90 percent of the artists applying from inside Iran and an average of 100 applicants every other year, the challenges that MOP CAP has faced to achieve so much in so little time from a London-based office are truly notable. What sets this prize and its organisers aside however, is the fundamental understanding that these challenges in themselves illustrate how crucial and necessary the prize is in allowing these voices to be heard and continue to be heard.

For information on Magic of Persia, visit: & for extended biographies please visit:

... Payvand News - 10/17/11 ... --

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