Rozita Sharaf Jahan
The Vista Contemporary Art Awards aims, as with the previous years, to discover and introduce top ideas in visual arts and is now in the later stages of its 3rd annual run. A belief in the importance of the process of developing unique, creative ideas which lead to artworks that are authentic, valuable and, at the same time, contemporary and in harmony with world art approaches and trends forms the foundation of the cash prize competition/cultural support. Holding an exhibition showcasing the top 10 ideas, preceded by the juries selecting from the countless submitted proposals, and followed by providing the means for the top winning idea to be realized in the gallery, bear witness to the fact that the Awards’ founders value the unrivaled place of idea generation processes and point of view creation mechanisms leading to creative actions in the form of contemporary artwork and wish for the growth of this essential notion that helps Iranian art survive and flourish. The Vista Contemporary Art Awards is hopeful that it has succeeded, as it has in the past, in achieving its three primary goals, namely, (1) identifying and introducing top, innovative ideas in Iranian contemporary art, (2) valuing the writing of project proposals and artist’s statements and the processes of art creation, operational planning, and budget estimation, and (3) content creation and media coverage for top ideas with the goal of enriching the Iranian knowledge and culture.
The 3rd Vista Contemporary Art Awards juries, Nazgol Ansari-nia, Rozita Sharaf-jahan, Parisa Pahlavan, Hamid Severi, Behnam Kamrani, and Behrang Samadzadegan, evaluated the submitted proposals based on criteria such as contemporaneity, theoretical basis, practicability, and having cultural potentials. No theme was specified for the competition and contestants were free to submit works done in any medium and with any subject matter.
Following this year’s call for entries, the juries received a total of 187 proposals, 19 of which were selected after dozens of specialized review and discussion sessions and their artists were invited to separately defend their proposed ideas before the jury panel. The interview sessions resulted in the selection of 9 proposals from 10 artists to enter the semi-final stage, be featured in the exhibition showcasing the top ideas, which is to be held at Vista Art Gallery in the winter of 2020, and compete for the place of final winner. The finalists are: Oldouz Nabizadeh, Iman Jesmi, Aysa Rashidi, Hamidreza Azad, Sanahin Babajanians, Samira Rahbani, Shauna Abdullahian and Ehsan Alizadeh, Kolsoum Salehi, and Houfar Haghighi. It should be noted that although proposals in every contemporary visual art form, such as painting, photography, sculpture, video art, and installation, were welcomed by the Vista Awards and eligible for consideration, most of the submissions were installation ideas.