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  • Mar 24, 2020

Revamped Jameel Prize Launches Open Call

The Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) in London and Art Jameel have reconfigured the criteria and application process for the biennial Jameel Prize. The first themed edition in its decade-long history, Jameel Prize 6 focuses on “contemporary design inspired by Islamic tradition,” and introduces an open call for submissions to supplement the existing nomination process.

The international prize was established in 2009 by the V&A and Art Jameel to highlight practitioners in fine art, design, and architecture whose projects are influenced by Islamic visual culture. The narrowed disciplinary focus of the sixth edition is intended to enable “increased exposure for fashion, product, graphic and craft designers,” according to a press release from Art Jameel. The theme was chosen after “[t]he curatorial teams concluded that—despite the deep craft traditions and recent growth of the Middle Eastern and Asian design scenes—contemporary design inspired by Islamic tradition is yet to have its due spotlight.”

The prize will be further diversified through an open-call system. Designers of any age and background with work that, per the application guidelines, demonstrates “a clear link to the history, culture, art, craft, or design practice of the Islamic world” and “[inspires] new ways of thinking about contemporary design or Islamic culture” are invited to enter for free. Applications via the open call and nominations will be received until May 31.

Previous recipients of the Jameel Prize include the Turkish fashion label Dice Kayek (founded by Ece and Ayşe Ege), chosen for their collection inspired by the art and architecture of Istanbul; Algerian artist Rachid Koraïchi, who is known for incorporating Arabic calligraphy in his sculptures, prints, and textiles; as well as Islamic miniature painter and collage artist Ghulam Mohammad. Jameel Prize 5 was conferred to joint winners for the first time, with the GBP 25,000 (USD 29,000) award split equally between French-Iraqi artist Mehdi Moutashar—whose abstract sculptural pieces reference Islamic geometry and calligraphy—and Bangladeshi architect Marina Tabassum, who was selected for her plan for a mosque and community space in Dhaka.

As in past years, the awardee will be selected by a jury. The panel for the sixth edition will be chaired by V&A director Tristram Hunt, and comprise previous winners Moutashar and Tabassum; design critic Alice Rawsthorn, OBE; and the founder of the Sharjah-based Barjeel Art Foundation, Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi.

Finalists will be announced in September. The Jameel Prize 6 exhibition is slated to open at the V&A in mid-2021, and will then tour internationally.

Ophelia Lai is ArtAsiaPacific’s associate editor.

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