Iman Issa wins the first Han Nefkens Foundation-MACBA Award
18th December 2012

Iman Issa (Cairo, 1979) has been unanimously named winner of the first Han Nefkens Foundation-MACBA Award for Contemporary Art. The award was set up in 2011 as an initiative of Barcelona-based Dutch arts patron and writer Han Nefkens, and the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona. The aim of this new award is to help strengthen the careers of artists who have a solid body of work behind them but still require institutional support to gain full recognition from the international community.

In its deliberations, the jury stated that “this award will have an extremely positive effect at a crucial point in Iman Issa’s career, given that it poses a challenge in terms of rigour and creativity.” Furthermore, the jury believes that Issa has a visual and critical maturity that is rare in artists of her generation, that her artistic and intellectual trajectory testifies to a constantly evolving artistic practice and critical vision, a fertile imagination, and the capacity to involve, question and challenge the viewer.

Given that the Award aims to set up networks and promote mutual understanding among the five continents, a group of ten scouts based around the world were asked to submit a list of finalists to the jury. This group was made up of Defne Ayas (The Netherlands), Zdenka Badovinac (Slovenia), Abdellah Karroum (Morocco), Sylvia Kouvali (Turkey), Gabi Ngcobo (South Africa), Victoria Noorthoorn (Argentina), Manu Park (South Korea), Beatriz Pérez (Colombia), Christoph Storz (India) and Barthélémy Togo (Cameroon and Paris).

The members of the jury of the first Han Nefkens Foundation-MACBA Award are: art collector Han Nefkens (Barcelona) as founder; Iwona Blazwick (London), Director, Whitechapel Art Gallery; Adriano Pedrosa (São Paulo), independent curator, writer and art critic; Christine Tohmé (Beirut), curator and cultural activist, and Bartomeu Marí (Barcelona), Director, MACBA

►Iman Issa website:

Iman Issa wins the first Han Nefkens Foundation-MACBA Award                              

The ArtAids foundation was set up in 2006 at Han Nefkens’ initiative. ArtAids fights AIDS with the power of art as its most important weapon. ArtAids invites leading artists to produce work that is inspired by AIDS and related problems. These works of art are used to raise the public’s consciousness and to encourage their involvement.

Fundació Han Nefkens

The Han Nefkens Foundation is a private non-profit organisation that was set up in Barcelona in 2009 with the aim of promoting the production of contemporary artworks. The mission is to stimulate artistic creation in Barcelona by offering international artists an opportunity to create artworks and interventions in the city, and to promote other fields of contemporary creation.


Han Nefkens started to collect art in 2000. The H+F Collection, named after himself and his partner Felipe, is in long-term loan to various museums in The Netherlands and abroad. Nowadays Han Nefkens is not only active as a collector but also as an initiator of international art projects, often in collaboration with museums and other art institutions.