Sustaining Islamic art traditions
The biennial Jameel Prize was launched in 2009 and is open to contemporary international artists and designers inspired by Islamic traditions of craft and design.
The prize is open to entrants from any ethnic, religious, or cultural background and typifies Community Jameel International’s recognition of the role of art in building strong and interconnected communities, supporting arts and culture as one of the cornerstones of daily life and as part of the wider debate about Islamic culture and its role in society today.
Organised by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in partnership with Art Jameel, the Jameel Prize and design and carries an award of £25,000 for the winner.
The V&A began to collect art from the Islamic world in the 1850s and now houses one of the world's great collections. This can be seen at its best in the Museum's Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art.
The Jameel Prize continues the tradition and is now recognised as one of the art world’s most influential competitions. Hammad Nasar, Head of Research and Programmes at Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong, and one of the 2016 judges, describes the prize as “having the potential to contribute to the expansion of people’s understanding and perception of ‘global’ visual culture.”
The prize has a truly global reach. To date, finalists have come from Azerbaijan, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United States.
The 2016 shortlist comprised entries from an equally diverse geography – Pakistan, UK, UAE, Turkey, Iran, Brazil, US, and Egypt – chosen from an original 280 nominations from countries as far-ranging as Afghanistan, Mali, Puerto Rico, and Thailand.
The art created by the 11 Jameel Prize finalists tours for two years to selected venues worldwide from San Antonio to Singapore, Moscow to Morocco.
Jameel Prize 1 toured the Middle East and North Africa; Jameel Prize 2 travelled to Europe and the US; and Jameel Prize 3 to Russia (Kazan and Moscow), United Arab Emirates (Sharjah), and Singapore. More than 172,000 people have viewed the first three cycles of the prize.
The 2016 exhibition opened in August at the Pera Museum in Istanbul, Turkey.