Abu Dhabi: The Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre awarded the winners of the third season of the Spaces of Light photography competition at a special ceremony held at the Emirates Palace under the patronage of Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

Prizes amounting to Dh250,000 were given to six winners, three each in two categories. The event celebrated the art and aesthetics of architecture in Abu Dhabi.

Sultan Dahi Al Humairi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Presidential Affairs for the Support Services Sector and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre, presented the awards and commemorative shields to the winners, who hailed from Malaysia, Kuwait, Iraq, Belarus, Slovenia and the Philippines.

The winners in each category were awarded Dh40,000 and a professional camera, while the runners up and second runners up each received Dh30,000 and Dh20,000 respectively. Additionally, Emirates Palace, the architectural beauty of which was one of the categories in the competition, honoured the winners with numerous prizes including two nights’ stay for two in the hotel.

Edmond Teng Wei Ping from Malaysia won the first place in the general category of Islamic Architectural Beauty of the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Ahmad Abdul Redha Abdullah Akbar from Kuwait came second while Shoaib Hesham Khatab took the third place.

Victoria Venkaba of Belarus bagged the first prize in the specific category, Architectural Beauty of Emirates Palace. Beno Saradzic from Slovenia and Mary Grace from the Philippines came second and third respectively.

Yousuf Al Obaidli, Director of the SZGMC, said, “The Spaces of Light Photography Competition, since its launch in October 2010, has made steady and confident steps towards success. The third season of this competition reinforced its global outlook, spreading the message of love and tolerance as envisaged by the founder of the UAE, the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and continued by His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE.”

He said that there were a total of 5,500 entries this season from more than 70 countries; 4,100 were in the general category and 1,400 in the specific category. More than 5,000 people visited the website to make enquiries. This shows a growing interest among photography enthusiasts around the world to showcase their talent against the backdrop of the UAE’s culture and heritage.

He thanked Shaikh Mansour for his unlimited support for the SZGMC and all its activities and events which contributed to its emergence as one of the most important and visited cultural tourism destinations in the region. He also thanked the organising committee and the judges of the competition and congratulated the winners.

During the award ceremony a documentary on the mosque narrating the history of its foundation in 1996 was screened. Scenes from the workshops as well as the winning images of the second season of Spaces of Light were also shown.

Al Humairi honoured Dr Jasem Al Awadi, Chairman of the Judging Committee, Adib Shaban, Mohammad Al Marzouqi and Omar Al Zaabi, members of the Committee. He opened the photography exhibition located in the lobby of Emirates Palace which will run until August 17.

The exhibition showcases winning entries of the third season of Spaces of Light as well as some images selected by the judging committee.

Spaces of Light’s third season was launched on March 3 under the theme “Arts and Aesthetics of Architecture in Abu Dhabi”. The competition in its first and second seasons focused only on the Art of Islamic Architecture in the mosque. This year Emirates Palace was also included as a specific category.