The Award Official Gallery for the International Emerging Artist Award


This was the Award Official Gallery website for the International Emerging Artist Award.
The content is from the site's 2014 archived pages.
Please use for historical purposes only.

IEAA’s online gallery was another way to reward the best candidates and their artworks. 

You can find the most the current information about the International Emerging Artist Award on their facebook page , on their blog at, or at their main website:

What is the International Emerging Artist Award?

An international contemporary art competition based in Dubai, open globally.

How to enable emerging artists to launch their career and access visibility on the international scene? This is the question the International Emerging Artist Award (IEAA) responds to by offering exceptional career opportunities through its art award. IEAA is the United Arab Emirates’ first contemporary art award open for both Emirati and international participants. Based in Dubai, the International Emerging Artist Award was created with the vision to provide a world class recognition for emerging artists and as a means to showcase their work by offering visibility on the international art scene. IEAA strives also to contribute to the UAE’s vision to position the UAE as a global hub for emerging art. Dubai has become one of the most important cities both in the Middle East and on the global art scene, offering exciting opportunities in the field of contemporary art and IEAA has taken this advantage to support emerging artists through its platforms.

With the launch of the Emerging Emirati Artist Award, an award category dedicated to Emirati artists, the participants get the chance to submit their exhibition project in view to win the same international grand prize which offers the winners an international tour in prestigious galleries every year. Therefore IEAA achieves a strong statement: one of bringing to light Emirati artists and building their credibility as emerging talents on the international art scene but also convincing prestigious art galleries to believe in their artistic potential.

IEAA’s mission is also to support the artists that didn’t win but have a strong artistic background. For this reason IEAA takes every opportunity to present to the public the artists discovered by the award in group shows, special media feature and other events in which the organization participates outside the competition itself.

The mission of IEAA is to promote and increase the visibility of both Emirati and international emerging artists on the global art scene

The mission of IEAA is double: support the emergence of upcoming artists by uncovering them through the competition and increase their visibility on the global art market by placing them in renowned art galleries and allowing them to participate in international art events.

Following the booming of the UAE’s art scene, IEAA foresaw the potential to offer both Emirati and international artists (whose career could hardly be launched in their own market and by their own means) a unique professional development opportunity by launching their career in the UAE before taking them on to the global art scene. Every year, IEAA organizes the prize presentation in Dubai, inviting its international winner to discover the UAE’s art scene before kick starting the international tour.

Therefore, the artists uncovered by IEAA see their career propelled on an international level through the exclusive partnerships IEAA develops every year with international galleries, media supporters and affiliated organizations.

The IEAA online gallery: a platform to promote the best entries of each award edition.

Based in Dubai, the International Emerging Artist Award (IEAA) was created in 2011 with the vision to provide a world class recognition for emerging artists and as a means to showcase their work by offering an outstanding prize which enables to launch the career of the artist on the international art scene.

The MISSION of IEAA is double: support the emergence of upcoming artists by uncovering them through the competition and increase their visibility on the global art market by placing them in renowned art galleries and allowing them to participate in international art events.



Billy DuPree: As an artist recognized with an Honorable Mention at the International Emerging Artist Award, I feel deeply honored and encouraged. My artistic journey, highlighted by my latest series featuring "Batman baby onesies," reflects my fascination with blending pop culture icons and the innocence of childhood. This series, characterized by vibrant colors and playful imagery, aims to capture the whimsical yet profound impact of superhero narratives on our early years. Through this work, I sought to challenge conventional art boundaries, hoping to spark conversations about the intersection of popular culture and personal identity. This recognition by the IEAA is not only a validation of my artistic exploration but also a powerful motivation to continue my journey in pushing the limits of creative expression.


Linda Stokes: I am a parent of a recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. I never realized how competitive the world of art is. I am becoming educated about the various means by which some artists try to increase their visibility on the global art market such as entering these types of competition which then may lead to being included in gallery shows etc. A friend's daughter who is just in her mid twenties had her first show at the Whitney in NYC. She obviously is an exception. I must say this young woman has been fortunate to be supported by her very wealthy parents allowing her to pursue her art without any limitations. Obviously she is talented and has a vision which has been recognized within that rarefied art world. Meanwhile other ambitious artists enter competitions such as this one hoping to win or at least place high in this International Emerging Artist Award. He was invited to become an art studio assistant for an established artist (whose name I am not allowed to reveal), helping with the fabricating of the artworks that are being created. I am not quite sure if I know what that really entails, but I am truly delighted. My limited understanding is that by working for an established artist, the studio assistant gets to see how a professional artist not only keeps producing new work, but also how the artist works with galleries and museums. I think it may be several years before my son submits an exhibition project to the IEAA, but it's nice that they are still seeking the next emerging contemporary artists from around the world.


What are the criteria to participate in the award?

Promote emerging artists and give visibility to innovating artwork

What differentiates IEAA from the other art contests is primarily its mission to identify the innovative aspect of the artwork submitted, its originality which is the combination of conceptual and aesthetic value of the artwork and the overall coherence of the exhibition project. Therefore, the notion of “emergence” is understood in the subtlety of its two meanings: both innovation aspect and unknown or not known by the grand public.

The age of the participant is not a criteria for the selection given what matters the most: the quality and consistency of the artistic production.

Therefore, IEAA is seeking for artists whom are most able to create artwork in a personal and contemporary approach along with a coherent theme. Judges will value an innovative concept and will take into account the artists commitment to sincere practice that culminates a unique application. All media and material are accepted: painting, illustration & drawing, photography including innovative manipulation of the image, mixed media, digital art, video art, sculpture, etc.

Participants are requested to submit an exhibition project which consists of a series of artwork using the media of their choice or a combination of media and support. The subject should express a contemporary issue or an original concept and should be preferably executed using innovative technique of production. The participant should explain how the work proposed is original as well as the concept behind it. It should reveal the universe of the artist, the inspiration and imagination which make the project personal and unique. This series should preferably have not been exhibited or little before to preserve its emerging characteristic.




IEAA is giving this year’s winners, Saeed Khalifa and Timothy Hyunsoo Lee, the unprecedented opportunity to launch their careers onto an international level: securing both winners a two-year representation at the acclaimed Sabrina Amrani Gallery (Madrid, Spain) which includes the participation at international arts fairs and group shows. In addition, the artwork will be showcased on Elevision Media’s platform of digital screens across Dubai and an exclusive broadcast on Ikono TV

3rd International Emerging Artist Award




Timothy Hyunsoo Lee (born 1990, South Korea), is an emerging Korean-American artist working in Brooklyn, New York, USA. His love for drawing began as a child, but his decision to pursue art professionally happened during his last year as a Biology, Drawing, and Neuroscience major at Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT). Drawn to the studio, and the creative process of making art, Timothy withdrew his ambitions of attending medical school and rented a studio in Williamsburg upon graduation, where he currently works.

Hyunsoo Lee’s works are inspired by themes of social stigma, identity and more recently, of spirituality and religion. He explores these themes through a novel vector – paintings and sculptures consisting largely of cell-like marks that vary in size, color, and saturation. His works are seen as ethereal and delicate, but the extremely labor-intensive compositions, marked by intensely obsessive repetitions, quickly betray that initial perception. In responding to his anxiety with art, he has developed a novel system of mind-mapping – “a cartography of his psychopathology” – to study a part of himself that initially drew him to study developmental biology and neuroscience in college.

The artist works almost exclusively in watercolour and gouache, and prefers this medium over other paints and marking systems due to watercolor’s unstable nature. Mastering watercolor primarily involves understanding the pigment’s interaction with water, and the solution’s interaction with its surface, and every application of paint will result in a different mark. Thus, watercolor prevents him from “fussing” over trivial details in his works.

Timothy’s first solo exhibition, “Traces”, was exhibited at Wook & Lattuada Gallery, New York, USA, in 2013. Since then, he has also exhibited regionally at the Scholastic Inc. Store in SoHo, 2013; at Hundred Forsyth Gallery in the LES, 2013, and internationally at York St. Mary’s in York, UK, 2013; and at the Pink Art Fair in Seoul, South Korea, 2014. He been honored by organizations such as the Aesthetica Art Prize, The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, and the National Young Arts Foundation. In 2014 he was awarded the 3rd International Emerging Artist Award, a prize that included 2 years gallery representation by Sabrina Amrani (Madrid, Spain).



Born 1982, Spain
Sacabocados, 2013
Perforated leather with puncher


Born 1982, Japan
"Feuille, caillou, ciseaux, 1,2,3" 2013
Video, 2min02






To act or even paint naturally in the moment means to release, to let go and finally be spontaneous. The essence of spontaneity is captured also in the re-invented game of Carrom station, joining the past and present, traditional and modern.




Saeed Khalifa (born 1989) is a self taught visual artist who lives and works in Dubai. He mainly works with digital photography, but lately he is approaching other mediums such as installation, video and hand crafted works. He also works as fashion photographer, a job that clearly influentiates his practice.

Khalifa is attracted to the unusual and the little things that people usually do not notice. He incorporates a lot of illustration background in his photographies, painting over his images digitally to bend their reality: his intense-labour digital practice is comparable to the strokes of the painter. The artist is interested in body language, which is overlooked in modern society as a form of communication method. He usually works with the body of the human being as a canvas and tends to keep the subject of the image honest but the surroundings bent or broken, creating a personal and twisted wonderland for the viewer to be transported to a parallel universe. He also features animals in his works to signify a certain truth humans don't want to face: their emotions lead them to honest and true actions as opposed to the human being, who is dominated by political, social codes, moral values and concepts created by man.




While growing up , I always felt different towards things around me , whether it’s my peers’ interests or their behavior and feelings toward certain things. I had my failed attempts to mold in and to be just another extra copy of them. Started question “am I the fish who swims against the current?”, for a long time I felt empty , lost , hollow till I fell in the rabbit hole and I found my voice when I found my self-worth which has been created through faith and by acting on the singular belief that we matter. It’s the foundation of our ability to believe in ourselves.




I've been constantly pushing my materials, using die-cut acrylic sheets, garments and mixed media to make paintings that incorporate textured and sculptural approaches. The (Irresistible Generosity) series shift back and forth from believable spaces to unrecognizable strokes and color indications to create a contemporary traditional typographic series. Each piece has its own poetry that talks about a particular Emirati traditions and hospitality, thus captured in my motivation to convey a familiar image to leave enough unstated words to arouse curiosity and interest regarding the colorful beauty of the local traditions and the intangible heritage of the UAE. My interest is in visually revealing the immediate obsolescence inherent in laying such a claim to the future. My poetry and choice of words mines the perpetual interplay between art as a physical thing and language as a transparent medium.


I have this world I explore using photography. The world is called Plumptopia, and the series is about the people of Plumptopia. They like to wear different things these people. They come from different places in this world. The Afshar Forest, the Castle of the Clouds, the Kenra jail and the Optic Realm. Welcome to Plumptopia!


My artwork takes a critical view of social and cultural issues. My works depicts life and death, fairy tales and rhymes, the life between the past and the present. Having engaged subjects that might makes sense to some but not to others, and sometimes it might not make sense at all. I try to achieve realism in my work as much as I can as I make it as engaging as possible. I tend to use oil colors in almost all my projects with a verity of other different materials and processes and I try photography from time to time. Although there may not always be material similarities between one project and another, you might still find them linked with the same critical view. The subject matter of each painting of work is what controls the use of materials. Each project consists of multiple works, often in the same range of media, gathered in a specific themes. During my project research new areas of interest and ideas arise and lead to the next body of work.


Taking your home and your thoughts wherever you go; making everywhere that you might think of, a place to be comfortable that you can feel free and unleash the inner you. A place that usually is surrounded by walls and it's called home now that home is surrounded by your thoughts another home to be at with no boundaries in fresh air so home is now everywhere.


I used nickel pins to model the date tree, inserting them one at a time mimicking the building of a nation. The second portrait represents the oil discovery era in the UAE. This was a tipping point in the humble life of UAE represented by the oil rig drawn using black acrylic. I used nickel pins on the oilrig to represent the thorny disadvantages that came with oil wealth. The third and last portrait depicts the Palm Jumierah a man made island in the shape of a date tree. This is a reference to UAE in the present day, a formidable change from Bedouin date tree farms to man made date palm tree islands, a remarkable evolution of a nation with ambitions that tickle the sky.


My choice of subject from a place full of spiritual stories and expressions evolving around the UAE largest desert dunes and the wildest in the world " The Empty Quarter" , I seek the unknown and I look for the light within the shadows, I photograph abstracts because I listen to my inner self and want people to connect with different perspectives of these mysterious places of the UAE. My photography evokes the colors of the sands and stories of darkness and lightness of life. I my own style to create a picture, either slow or fast, and still to explore the modulation of time.


At the root of my art practice there is a deep personal interest in the Psychology of place. I have always been fascinated by how we view the space and how we respond to it, how we interact with the nature around us and the emotional content that landscape and man-made objects seem to stir up. Nature to me is the urban fabric, it's the organic, the natural and the manmade. I believe this is the result of our generation growing up in an artificial environment where everything is so blended together that we forgot what is real and what is a replica. My work concerns establishing contact between man and his surroundings. Using assemblage techniques and found objects, I relate Land with 'man invasion' by bringing the object I find 'lost' in the land indoors. Consequently, I give it a whole new context and suddenly it gains attention, it grows in stature and importance, it finds its new life and purpose, hence it becomes art.


A star, or rose shape, is what should be seen from this art works' illusion by focusing on its centralized point, colors are used in purpose as for the other art works, what makes this art work unique is having a focal point for the same calligraphy circulating it, which helped getting sense of motion from the first glance at it.


I'm interested in watercolors and good in acrylics, i started to develop my own experiences which are more concerned with UAE traditions and heritage; in order to present the country's image in beautiful modern way to the viewers.


We are now living tremendous thirst to materialism, and oversaturated metropolitan lifestyle that we have drifted from the basis of our creation, nature. It is a therapy to indulge ourselves with the colors of nature as we rehabilitate ourselves from constant contact with the unhealthy provision of the metropolis, such as pollution, depression, anxiety, and phobias derived from overpopulation and crowded areas. Within this sphere of unpleasant charges, our inhibited selves simply demand a getaway, whether to the mountains or a park. The Nature painting describes methods in which we can use empty spaces in creating a simple garden as climate regeneration and escape urbanisation without having to travel to distant places. Plants are advocates for a better environment, and better climate. It takes in CO2, which cars emit in concentrated chunks, and releases O2, which helps reduce high temperatures. We can counterpart the density of air pollution by transforming our personal landscapes and small areas, such as balconies, into gardens. We can enrich our psyche with their colors and deliver a lightened mood to our surroundings. Plants are not only climate changers, but also advocates of color therapy.




Given the quality and diversity of the applications submitted to the award, IEAA created in 2013 an online gallery with the objective to promote the best works of the participants. Indeed, if the jury panel determines the choice of two winners - an international artist and Emirati artist - a Golden 10 list of candidates is also highlighted. But other artists whose production got distinguished are also offered to be included in the IEAA online gallery, a platform that became more of a showroom of original works (photogrpahs, paintings, sculptures, videos, etc..). Selected by IEAA, these artists benefit therefore from a permanent visibility on a dedicated website.