The Emergent Artist Award

She is 22 and she won the Emergent Artist Award. Julie De Waroquier, photographer and student in Philosophy at the prestigious Ecole Normale Superieure in Lyon (France) will be arriving at the Dubai International Airport for the very first time on 16 March. De Waroquier will receive the Award for her winning photography series 'CHIMERAS' at an exclusive prize-giving cocktail reception organized on 18 March at the Sofitel, The Walk JBR in association with The Alliance Francaise of Dubai. Having only known Dubai from the television, her life changed when The Emergent Artist Award called her to inform she had won the 50,000 AED worth international solo exhibition road show.

For this first edition, competitors had to submit a series of 15 contemporary photography including all the innovative treatments. Rebia Naim, Award Director, commented: “International response to the competition has been phenomenal. This serves to show that
there is great interest in the international Arts world in the UAE as a destination.” Having received numerous messages from artists expressing their excitement of the opportunity to come and exhibit in the region, Rebia Naim continues that “It is a fitting celebration of the country’s ambition to become a cultural and artistic hub by spotlighting the inclusiveness and diversity of the local Arts scene. The UAE art scene has now grown to more than just a market place for Middle-Eastern artists, it is now ready to welcome and embrace artists
from around the world.”

The inaugural edition of the EAA attracted entries from 118 countries (35% from France, 25% UAE, 25% USA, 15% rest of the world) and eventually, 300 were shortlisted for jury scoring. This event aimed to fulfil its mission of making the UAE an integral participant
in the international art scene. This mission is being reached through unearthing yet-to-be discovered talent from around the world and taking them to the international stage via the United Arab Emirates.

The Emergent Artist Award offers the winner a road show of three solo exhibitions (two in Dubai and one in France) in 2012. In addition to the exhibitions, the winner’s artworks will be displayed on the EAA online gallery. The winner is also offered to participate as a jury
member for the EAA 2013 edition.   

The international Jury panel chose Julie de Waroquier as the winner for her project 'Chimeras'. Second place was awarded to Olivia Leriche and Vincent Goutal with their series 'Modern World', while Japanese artist, Naohiro Ninomiya was awarded Third place with his entry 'Taki Waterfall'. A member of the EAA jury, Sertac Tasdelen, a fine arts/fashion photographer and an emerging artist himself who is currently based in Singapore, noted that the jury was “overwhelmed” by the high number of quality submissions. Therefore, the EAA has decided to showcase one artwork from each of the top 10 participants, who hail from Russia, Australia, Japan and the Middle East, in addition to De Waroquier’s creations.

Julie de Waroquier started photography when she was 18. Her project 'Chimeras' seduced the jury members for several reasons. Dominique Chevallier-Wixler, Director of The Alliance Francaise and jury member explained: “She is tempted by a soft focus approach
when she wants to foster the subtle and fragile lightness of being. Julie de Waroquier seems to search for a balance between dream and reality, and develop a recognizable style.” Mohammed Yusuf, art journalist and fellow jury member explained further the reason for
de Waroquier’s win, “There is an understated strength in the pictures... She is a master in the use of muted and touch-me-not colour. It is heightened by the reflections and the refractions of light that seem to wash and pour over the creations.”

For this project, Julie de Waroquier travelled around France to find and photograph twins. About her work, she explains the fact she has always been fascinated by twins, not only because she has a twin brother. She says: “Twins fascinate me, because they are almost
magic. During several months, I took pictures of twins from all origins and places, trying to reveal the mysteries and magic still existing in our world, that I think twins can symbolize. Twins are like a real dream, or like a miracle.” She adds to her own concept: “In my series, twins thus represent everything that is not rational but that however exists. The question that is raised could consequently be: nowadays, how do we perceive the things that we can't understand? Which place do we leave for dreams and surprising realities? This series invites us to let ourselves be surprised, to stop thinking that everything in this world should be rationalized.”

Following the unveiling on 18 March, the exhibition will officially be open to the public from 19 - 31 March at the Sofitel before it is taken to the Gallery of the Alliance Francaise in April. The exhibition will then make its way to France in May and will be showcased at
the newest contemporary art gallery, Galerie Oscar, in Nice for 6 weeks. Inaugurated in June 2011, the artistic vision of the gallery is to promote diverse artists who, despite their different approaches to their art, have a commonality in that they explore and challenge
the field of contemporary art through material experiments, conceptual acuity and visual inventiveness.

Encouraged by the success of the EAA’s first undertaking, Rebia Naim said that the next edition of competition will include new categories and will also open an exclusive category for Emirati artists, in bid to raise awareness of the EAA among Emiratis, as well as unearth and encourage even more budding Emirati art talents.

Opening reception: 7.30 - 9pm, Plantation Lounge, The Sofitel Hotel, The Walk JBR 18 March

Find out more on the web.