The Board of Trustees of the Hamdan Bin Mohammed International Photography Award holds its first meeting with its new members

Dated: 03 Mar 2020

 The Board of Trustees of the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award, held its first meeting, with its newly appointed members, at HIPA’s headquarters in Downtown Dubai.

The meeting was chaired by His Excellency AbdulRahman Al Owais, Minister of Health and Community Protection, and Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs, in the presence of His Excellency Ali Khalifa bin Thalith, Secretary General, and members Majid Al Bastaki and Matar Bin Lahej. Members of the Board expressed their welcome to the new Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Ms. Hala Badri, who is the Director General of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority; ‘Dubai Culture’. They collectively praised her great efforts and achievements within the artistic and cultural field and welcomed the positive contribution it will have on the Board and in the course of HIPA in general.

The Board discussed a number of performance reports, future projects and plans to develop a general strategy aimed at enhancing deliverables in accordance with the vision of His Highness, the Crown Prince of Dubai and Patron of HIPA. The strategy aims to spread the art of photography locally and internationally, whilst developing art and culture as a hole, nurturing national talent, and sharing knowledge and opportunities for all.

The Board are dedicated to supporting and encouraging high-end technical practices across the platform of photography which would in-turn contribute to the dignity of people by building bridges of communication between civilisations, and deepening the concept of tolerance between them.

The Board not only reviewed the ongoing preparations for the ninth season of the HIPA Award Ceremony, which will be held on the 10th of March at Dubai Opera, but also summarised the comprehensive achievements of previous seasons, praising the exceptional performance of the executive management for their ongoing efforts in establishing the Award as one of the major international names in the photographic industry.  HIPA’s achievements contribute to UAE’s reputation for being a nation which focuses on incubating talent, creativity and skill.

Since its launch in 2011, the Award has attracted more than 427,000 photographs, from over 243,000 participants from across 201 countries. His Excellency AbdulRahman Al Owais, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, praised HIPA’s reputation for achieving and maintaining excellence over the year, stressing that sustainability and consistency is crucial in ensuring the Award continues to thrive in the face-paced, tech savvy industry such as photography.

His Excellency added,” The Award has supported the talented community of photographers by offering more than 13 million Dirhams in cash prizes to the winners, including the largest grand prize in the world valued 120 thousand dollars for one winner, and has become a true incubator for discovering winning talent and a home for photographers from all over the world.”

Hala Badri, Vice Chairman of HIPA’s Board of Trustees, expressed her happiness for joining the Board, considering that HIPA has become one of the most influential cultural platforms within the photography scene in the Middle East. She further explained, “The Award succeeded in paving artistic paths among the talents within the Emirati community fostering knowledge and skills, which in-turn allowed our Emirati stars to shine bright in the photography sky both locally and internationally. She also stressed the importance of constructive communication among the photography community to discuss and understand their concerns and support them in achieving their future aspirations.”

Ali Khalifa bin Thalith, the Secretary General of HIPA, added, “The HIPA team have succeeded in achieving most of their local goals, and have made great strides at the regional and international levels. We have supported the transformation of the photography industry from one that was perceived to be unattainable by the masses, and only reserved for the elite, to one which has been embraced by the world and all ages. We have worked tirelessly to bring photography to even the unassuming artist, one’s who may never have dreamed that photography could be their calling and their craft. By supporting the industry and laying the right foundations of development, understanding, education and opportunity, we are changing the face of photography. The results can be seen across all our activities and achievements; our photography community are pleasantly surprising even us in the tenacity they have shown in not only supporting the industry but pushing it to new limits.

Bin Thalith continued,” On the knowledge and development front, we have provided over 90 training programs over the years that have benefited more than 4000 amateur and professional photographers, 20 courses for Dubai government employees supporting 683 government employees, and 20 courses for People of Determination for 171 participants.

On the operational level, we have organised over 50 exhibitions and artistic events around the world spanning Brazil to China, not to mention, establishing the Dubai Photo Exhibition (DPE). DPE was the first of its kind in the Middle East, and presented photography from famous artists of the twentieth and twenty-first century (as well as some from the nineteenth century).  700 elite photographic works of 129 famous photographers from 23 countries around the world, selected by 19 world-class curators. Among the curation was the first recorded photograph in history. The exhibition was a temporary museum housing contemporary art; a first for the Emirate.  Alongside our exhibitions and events, we’ve delivered two seasons of Dubai Photo Forum; a platform fostering intellectual dialogue on topics affecting the industry, bringing together dozens of leading photographers from the  Arab world and the international scene.

In addition to that we have successfully run 80 Instagram competitions receiving 100,415 entries, and 19 competitions in collaboration with other formidable entities.

On the humanitarian level, we organised and participated in five local and international humanitarian programs in Jordan, Yemen, Pakistan, Greece, Malaysia, and Indonesia, driven by our  humanitarian initiative ‘Lakum’ which has benefited more than 12,000 children and young adults around the world.

On the publication front, the Award has published more than 370 educational articles on the art of photography through the popular weekly column ‘Photographia’ which is featured in the Al-Bayan newspaper, more than 120 visual articles in  ‘Zoom on the World’ for the ‘Emirate Al Youm’ newspaper. These articles have achieved great popularity among the local photography community and have been praised  for their great impact, which succeeds in attracting those interested in photography, both amateur and professional alike,  to excel and be curious about all the genres of photography from macro and insect photography to architecture and cityscapes; the world is an inspiration of content.

We as HIPA are also very proud to have obtained membership to the United Nations International Photography Council (IPC), as the first Arab Award to officially be recognized by the Council. In addition, we achieved the first place in the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Art Supporters, not to mention other awards from various international institutions and organisations supporting the platform of photography.”

The poet and media consultant Majid Al Bastaki, emphasized the depth and vitality of the artistic fingerprints that HIPA has placed on the creative and interested communities of visual arts, in terms of the quality of knowledge and the skill provided. Al Bastaki concluded, “We are working hard to create a balance and harmony between the technical advancements of the craft and the ongoing calendar of HIPA’s educational programs.”

Artist and sculptor Matar Bin Lahej, expressed his complete satisfaction with HIPA's outputs during the past years in terms of quantity and quality. He stated, “Hundreds of amateur photographers have invested in the diverse competitive opportunities offered by HIPA in developing their skills and creative levels and supporting their ambitions and drive to excel. Building such solid foundations is imperative to the success of an artist and their artistic future.”

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