Abu Dhabi: The Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, in partnership with the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in the US, has established the Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Emerging Artists Fellowship (SEAF), a year-long programme aimed at supporting 15 emerging artists in the UAE from the various visual arts disciplines.

The 15 selected emerging artists enrolled in this programme include 14 Emirati. They are Afra Al Daheri, Al Anood Al Obaidly, Alia Hussain Lootah, Ammar Al Attar, Amnah Al Maamari, Asma Belhamar, Farah Al Qasimi, Fatima Al Mazroui, Hamdan Butti Al Shamsi, May Rashid Al Shamsi, Saeed Al Madani, Salama Nasib, Salma Al Hashmi, Shamma Al Amri, and Walid Al Wawi.

Dr Salvatore La Spada, Executive Director of the Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, said, “At the Foundation, we seek to support the emerging community of Emirati artists and support the efforts that are transforming Abu Dhabi into a thriving, dynamic community of pioneers in the arts.”

The SEAF programme, which will run from November 2013 until the end of September 2014, aims to identify and nurture emerging artists in the UAE. It will also provide them with artistic and technical knowledge and professional skills. Through the fellowship, the Foundation also aims to establish a community of emerging artists in the UAE and encourage graduate studies in the arts.

Throughout the programme, fellows will be provided with an innovative suite of academic courses, technical workshops, professional skills trainings, studio and exhibition practicum, a cross cultural trip to New York which will also include a visit to the RISD campus, and creative production grants.

Upon completion of the programme, the most talented and deserving artists, who are able to gain admission to RISD, will be given a full scholarship to pursue a masters in Fine Arts. All graduates will join a new community of emerging artists in the UAE who will grow with one another and have opportunities to participate in the Foundation’s various other arts initiatives.

Gwen Farrelly, Director of Global Partners and Programmes of the RISD, said that the project seeks to create dialogue and understanding among members of RISD’s community and Emirati artists.

The artists, who were picked from across the UAE, have gone through a rigorous admission process to be enrolled in the programme.

First the artists had to go through the nomination stage, where a committee made up of established artists, art academics, and art professionals in the UAE were invited by the Foundation to nominate up to three emerging artists who met SEAF eligibility requirements. The nominees then submitted an application with three pieces of art to the Foundation for a committee to review.

The final stage involved the 26 finalists going through two individual interviews with the judging panels, from which the 15 artists were chosen.