When Art Revisits History: Nabla Yahya Wins Richard Mille Over Suez Canal Installation SoftBank

The Emirati Artist Nabla Yahya has been awarded the Richard Mille Art Prize for her installation ‘SoftBank,’ which reminds people of the laboring hands behind the gigantic project: the Suez Canal.

On January 24, Yahya was handed the Richard Mille Art Prize at the Louvre Abu Dhabi exhibition. Her installation, SoftBank, explores an essential chapter in the Suez Canal’s history — one marked by the bleak and tragic realities of the labor and sacrifice of thousands of workers who built the Suez Canal during the 19th century, many of whom lost their lives in the process.

Nabla Yahya’s ‘SoftBank’

Dive into history with Nabla Yahya’s ‘SoftBank’ at #LouvreAbuDhabi! 🎨✨
Her powerful installation showcases the obscured past of the Suez Canal’s construction, using silver-leaf lined travertine and a thought-provoking healing bowl.

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Posted by Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saturday, January 13, 2024

SoftBank features archival photographs of the workers at the Suez Canal; on both sides, there’s a leaf-like installation, and water is running at the bottom, creating a faint shimmer.

Via The National

Yahya was one of eight shortlisted artists, and she won a $60,000 prize at the exhibition that began in November 2023 and is open until February 18th. Her selection for the award was determined by six jury members, among whom are reputable art advisors, directors, and curators.

In a statement, the awardee said, “This recognition is a testament to the power of art to transcend boundaries and illuminate hidden histories…This award fuels my commitment to exploring untold stories and challenging perspectives through my work.”

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