Six young Iranian artists are preparing for a major exhibition of their work at the Royal College of Art, London, 15- 17th October 2009. A distinguished international jury, led by Sheena Wagstaff, Chief Curator at Tate Modern, has shortlisted each of them for finalists' exhibition of the Magic of Persia Contemporary Art Prize.

The artists are:

Farhad Ahrarnia
Mahmoud Bakhshi Moakhar
Vahid Chamani
Sahand Hesamiyan
Abbas Kowsari
Newsha Tavakolian

Commenting on the list, Sheena Wagstaff said that it was thrilling to be able to “give prominence to the remarkable creative energy that infuses contemporary art by Iranian artists.”

Artistic enterprise has long been integral to Iranian society and Contemporary art has become a vehicle for expression for a number of young Iranians. Their artistic innovation is a bright light for Iranian culture and has helped bridge divides with the West. In recognising and showcasing the strength of these works, the artists will present an image of Iran that speaks of a deep rooted artistic heritage.

Presented by Magic of Persia, the London based charity, in collaboration with the London and Tehran- based cultural consultancy Candlestar, the exhibition presents the six finalists of the Magic of Persia Contemporary Art Prize (MOP CAP). This is the first global award to recognise the talent of emerging Iranian artists. To ensure the highest possible quality of submission, entry was solely by nomination. Forty seven leading experts drawn from within the Iranian and international arts communities acted as nominators for the award.

Nominators used their specialist knowledge to identify emerging artists that represent the diversity and vitality of the contemporary Iranian art scene. They put forward over 120 artists who, in turn, submitted over 500 artworks across four categories: Painting, Photography, Sculpture and New Media.
The finalists exhibition will take place at the Royal College of Art in London from 15-17 October 2009 with the announcement of the MOP CAP winner on Saturday 17 October 2009.

Following the declaration of the winner the works of the finalists will be auctioned by Christie’s with half of the proceeds going to the artists and half to support the artists’ residency programme established by the Magic of Persia.

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