International Emerging Artist Award | Winners Exhibition

Riding up the elevator to the 40th floor of Media One Hotel, there is this expectation of luxury and stylish design, intimated by a first impression of the tower’s lobby. And then the doors open to a refreshingly surprising warehouse feel, as if Alserkal Avenue’s industrial, organic environment had been transported to the top of the Media City building. The grey concrete floors and white walls of a yet unoccupied level welcome this year’s International Emerging Artist Award’s Winners exhibition. With stunning views of Dubai Marina as a premium.

Founded in 2011 by Rebia Naim, IEAA is now in its third edition. With the aim to promote both international and local emerging artists, the program offers its participants visibility on a worldwide level. The winners – one international and one Emirati artist selected by a jury of art professionals every year – get the chance to be represented by renowned galleries.

This year, IEAA partnered with Madrid based Sabrina Amrani Gallery, offering two years of representation to Timothy Hyunsoo Lee and Saeed Khalifa.

296.61: Depression Edition by Timothy Hyunsoo Lee

Originally from South Korea, Lee deviated from his path set for a medical career at Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT), where he was studying biology, drawing, and neuroscience, to dedicate himself to his newly found passion for art. His exploration of identity distortions and psychology on a broader level, leads to an obsessive repetition of diamond-shaped watercolor patterns on paper, forming delicate sculptures.

Deliverance series by Saeed Khalifa

The mind, with its entrapments and struggles, is Lee’s common link with fellow award winner Saeed Khalifa. His digital photography work, defined as “personal to each individual”, shows how the routine of our lives and the absence of independent thinking can annihilate our potential. Student of the University of Dubai, Khalifa is now represented exclusively by Sabrina Amrani Gallery.

Other notable works presented at the exhibition include “Each line one breath” drawing by German artist John Franzen and a drilling rig made of nickel pins, by Ahmed Al Faresi from Al Ain.

Each line one breath by John Franzen

Story of UAE by Ahmed Al Faresi
For more information about the program and its winners, visit

Photo credits
Original images by myVelvetinstant