The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary artists and designers inspired by Islamic art, craft and design. Its aim is to explore the relationship between Islamic traditions of art, craft and design and contemporary work as part of a wider debate about Islamic culture and its role today.
The prize, which was initiated in 2009, after the formation of the Jameel Gallery of Islamic art inaugurated in 2006 at the Victoria and Albert museum (V&A) in London, and funded by Mohammad Abdul Latif Jameel, is awarded every two years.
Egyptian artist Susan Hefuna was shortlisted for the Jameel Prize in 2009 and that exhibition went on an international tour, travelling to venues in the Middle East and North Africa.
Hazem El Mestikawy, an Egyptian artist born in 1969 was shortlisted – among nine other artists from the United States, Spain, Nigeria, and Pakistan – for this year's award for his sculptural installation 'Bridge', made from recycled newspaper and cardboard.
A panel of judges, chaired by V&A Director, Sir Mark Jones, selected the shortlist of ten artists and designers. Jones said: “The quality of the work shortlisted for this year’s Jameel Prize is outstanding. The output of the finalists is very varied, reflecting the richness and diversity of the Islamic traditions that inspired them. The work shows how complex and eloquent the art and design inspired by this tradition has become.”
The work of the shortlisted artists and designers will be shown at the V&A from 21 July until 25 September 2011 and draws strongly on the artists’ and designers’ own local and regional traditions, celebrating particular materials and iconography with strong references to traditional Islamic art. The works on show will range from felt costumes to sculpture made from hand-made terracotta bricks, and from mirror mosaic to digital collages inspired by traditional Persian miniature paintings.
In much of the work there is an underlying reference to the artists’ own ‘hybrid’ cultural identity; the mix of old and new, minimalism versus ornament, tradition and modernity, and home versus exile.
The winner of the Jameel Prize 2011 will be announced at the V&A on 12 September 2011.