The Jameel Prize 4 exhibition will open on 8 June 2016 until 14 August 2016 at the Pera Museum, Istanbul, Turkey. This is the first time that the Jameel Prize will be launched at an external venue and the exhibition will in future rotate between the V&A and guest venues around the world. The winner will be announced on 7 June 2016.
V&A Director and chair of the Jameel Prize 4 judges, Martin Roth, said: “Since the V&A launched the Jameel Prize in 2009, the international touring exhibition has been seen by over 172,000 visitors around the world. To take the successful international element of the prize a step further we are delighted that the Pera Museum will be the first host venue to announce the winner of the Jameel Prize. The V&A enjoys an excellent relationship with the Pera Museum which is well known for mixing
Ottoman tradition with contemporary art and design.”
Over 280 nominations for the Jameel Prize 4 were received from countries as far ranging as
Afghanistan, Mali, Puerto Rico and Thailand. A panel of judges, chaired by V&A Director, Martin Roth, selected the shortlist. Works on show will range from delicate paper collages to an animated video installation with marionettes and from ceramics, calligraphy and sculpture to artist’s books.
A short film about the artists’ work can be viewed online at www.vam.ac.uk/jameelprize4
One of the judges, Hammad Nasar, Head of Research and Programmes at Asia Art Archive (AAA), Hong Kong, commented: “This year’s shortlist includes not just a diversity of practices from sound to film to minimalist sculptures, but also evidences a growing confidence in the artists, many with strong reputations in the global art world, to assert their multiple identities – both contemporary and rooted in Muslim cultures. This is a welcome development, and suggests that platforms such as the Jameel Prize can contribute to expanding our collective ideas of what ‘global’ visual culture looks like.”
Since its launch in 2009, each edition of the Prize has been seen on international tour. Most recently, the Jameel Prize 3 exhibition visited the National Library in Singapore (2015); the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, UAE (2015); and two venues in Russia, the Hermitage-Kazan Exhibition Centre in Kazan and the New Manège in Moscow (2014). At the V&A and on tour in 2014 and 2015, the exhibition was seen by 183,178 visitors.
The Jameel Prize is a £25,000 international art prize for contemporary artists and designers inspired by Islamic traditions of craft and design. Launched in 2009, the winner of the first Jameel Prize was Afruz Amighi for her work 1001 Pages (2008), an intricate hand-cut screen made from the woven plastic used to construct refugee tents. In 2011 Rachid Koraïchi was awarded the prize, for his work Les Maîtres Invisibles (The Invisible Masters, 2008), a group of embroidered cloth banners which display Arabic calligraphy and symbols and ciphers to explore the lives and legacies of the 14 great mystics of Islam. In 2013 the winner of Jameel Prize 3 was Dice Kayek, a Turkish fashion label established in 1992 by Ece and Ayşe Ege for their work Istanbul Contrast, a collection that evokes Istanbul’s architectural and artistic heritage. This was the first time the Jameel Prize was awarded to designers.
The Jameel Prize is supported by Art Jameel. The prize was conceived after the renovation of the V&A’s Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art, which opened in July 2006. The gallery is an outstanding presentation of the rich artistic heritage of the Islamic world, and the prize aims to raise awareness of the thriving interaction between contemporary practice and this great historical heritage. It has also contributed to a broader understanding of Islamic culture and its place in the world.
Award-winning architect Dame Zaha Hadid is Patron of the Jameel Prize. The judges are:
Alan Caiger-Smith, potter
Ece and Ayşe Ege, founders of the fashion label Dice Kayek and winners of Jameel Prize 3
Rose Issa, curator, writer, publisher and producer
Hammad Nasar, curator, writer and Head of Research and Programmes at Asia Art Archive (AAA), Hong Kong
Martin Roth, Director of the V&A
The eleven shortlisted artists and designers:
David Chalmers Alesworth is a visual artist whose work over the last ten years has been based around his research on garden history and landscapes. He will show two re-purposed ‘textile interventions’ where he uses original carpets from Iran and Pakistan and re-embroiders them to create ‘garden-carpets’. In Garden Palimpsest (2012) he embroidered an image based upon Abbe Jean Delagrive’s rendition of Versailles Palace Gardens in 1746 into a 150 year old Kerman carpet fragment. Hyde Park Kashan 1862 (2011) is based on a fragment of a Stanford map showing the Great Exhibition of 1862 embroidered into a large 75 year old Kashan carpet fragment. He does not intend these new western cultural landscapes to obscure the original carpet designs, rather to see them as distantly rooted in the fabric of these garden carpets, growing out of the quintessential landscape beneath. Alesworth will also show three works from his series Gardening the Archive (2014) which are digital images made up of layers of historical texts and photographs of living plants from his own garden in Lahore. Alesworth has recently relocated to the UK from Pakistan where he lived for more than 20 years.
Rasheed Araeen is recognised as a pioneer of Minimalist sculpture in Britain. Working also in painting and photography he invokes and celebrates the philosophy, science and art of Islam, attributing the traditional geometry and calligraphy of Islamic art to playing a central part in the history of modern art. Araeen will show Bahar Lye, Khushiaan Lye: Spring Come, Happiness Come (2015), a sculptural work which is a resumption of his early works using geometry and multi-colours. Rasheed will also show Al-GhazaliAl-GhazaliAl-GhazaliAl-Ghazali (2010-11) which depicts in acrylic paint the name of the Muslim philosopher Al-Ghazali, inscribed four times on the canvas. Rasheed Araeen lives and works in London, UK.
Lara Assouad is a graphic and type designer whose interest lies in creating Arabic typefaces which speak or express a contemporary ‘Arab’ visual language. To create her modular alphabets and typefaces Assouad researches calligraphic styles from old manuscripts and abstracts their letters by ‘stripping back’ the ornate and intricate as far as possible without losing their legibility in an attempt to reach their underlying basic geometric
structure. Assouad’s display for the exhibition The Modular Arabic Alphabet and Type Project will explore her continuous work with modular Arabic typography. The project started with Tabati (2011) a children’s book, which demonstrates her award-winning geometric typeface Tabati, composed out of simple geometric shapes and stamped out of wood blocks. The aim of the project was to introduce children to the Arabic language and alphabet in a playful, fun manner and get them more excited about learning it. It has also been used as a tool to teach young designers, Arab and non-Arab alike, about the basic rules of proportions, similarities and harmony in the Arabic scripts by taking the letters out of their cultural and historic context and exploring their symbolic ‘icon’ potential through abstraction and the principle of modularity. The graphic wall display Modular Arabic Alphabet will bring to life her preoccupation with presenting Arabic letters through basic geometric shapes. Assouad lives and works in Dubai, UAE.
Canan’s artistic practice is informed by her position as one of the leading defenders of women’s rights in Turkey. Canan uses performance, miniature, video and photography to make a commentary on present day Turkey and its recent history. She will show two works Resistance on Istiklal Street (2014) and Bosphorus Bridge (2014) which use the visual language of the Ottoman miniature. The first is a representation of the resistance during the Taksim Gezi Park protests in Istanbul in 2013. The city is depicted as inspired by the works of Ottoman cartographers. The second miniature illustrates a moment when a group of protestors succeeded in crossing the Bosphorus Bridge to reach Gezi Park despite the use of water cannon and tear gas by the police. Canan lives and works in Istanbul, Turkey.
Cevdet Erek is an artist working specifically with sound, space and rhythm. In his Ruler series, Erek takes the traditional measuring instrument and converts it to an instrument representing time. Ruler Day Night (2011) uses the Muslim daily prayer times to mark the sequence of day and night as a repetitive and subtly changing black and white pattern. Ruler 100 Years (2011) works on two levels. The years before the Turkish Alphabet Reform in 1928 (replacing Arabic script with Latin script) are shown in Arabic and the dates coming after in Latin. It also refers to shift from the Islamic calendar to the Gregorian calendar in 1926, hidden in the Arabic part of the ruler. Erek will also be presenting a new work, a recent development from his Sound Ornamentation series in which pattern based and repetitive visual ornamentation is used as a source for proposing sonic architectural ornamentation. Erek lives and works in Istanbul, Turkey.
Sahand Hesamiyan is a sculptor whose work presents a contemporary interpretation of traditional Iranian geometrical shapes. He will show two works which demonstrate the way he dissects Iranian architectural forms into freestanding sculptures. Khalvat (2014) translates as a hidden, private sanctum. A paper maquette, it reveals the production process in which Hesamiyan adopts the traditional triangular form of Rasmi, a shape used in secular and religious buildings, and juxtaposes the external embellished Iranian architecture with its carcass form to reveal the inward and the sacred. Hesamiyan will also show the imposing steel work Nail (2012). This single large nail substitutes the original four small nails as an emblematic and arresting symbol of the crucifixion. Hesamiyan lives and works in Tehran,
Lucia Koch creates architectural interventions by covering façades, skylights and windows with translucent materials and filters, investigating issues of light and spatiality. She is concerned with screens that evoke the taste for the patterns of tiles and mashrabiyas (lattice window coverings) which filled Brazilian houses since the 16th century when the Portuguese settlers bought Islamic traditions with them. In her series Construction Materials (2012) she uses cut out plexiglass to create screens that are framed on sliding panels that overlap, creating a multiplying effect on the patterns and affecting the vision through them. The two screens on display Showcase (acrylic-colour) (2012) and Showcase (acrylic-mirror) (2012) are mostly samples of materials created for interventions presented previously, for example, the ones used in a Turkish hamam for Istanbul Biennial in 2003 or installed onto a window of the Contemporary Art Museum in Tokyo in 2008 or at the doors in a courtyard house at Sharjah’s biennial in 2013. Koch lives and works in São Paulo, Brazil.
Ghulam Mohammad is an artist who uses words and language as a medium to create paper collage. By ‘freeing’ language from the page and attempting a playful reconstruction, Mohammad aims to enrich it with a new aesthetic meaning. The five works Untitled (2014) on show will demonstrate his highly intricate work, taking individual paper cuttings of Urdu script and adding components of gold and silver leaf and ink to complete his collages. Mohammad’s practice is extraordinarily diligent and patient, working for almost 20 hours a day, seven days a week, often in a room with no air conditioning and only a large light bulb hanging over his head. Mohammad lives and works in Lahore, Pakistan.
Shahpour Pouyan works with different media including ceramics and metalwork. The decorative nature of his work is inspired by traditional Islamic art but the unclear function of the object allows interpretation of the object from different perspectives. His series of ceramics Unthinkable Thought (2014) shows different forms of domes – architectural structures long used as expressions of power. Pouyan uses traditional Islamic pottery techniques to make his models of a variety of domes from Europe and the Middle East. Some are detailed scaled-down reproductions of specific buildings such as the Pantheon in Rome; others are simpler almost typological and draw on Iran’s rich architectural history, for example the turquoise dome of Isfahan’s famous Shah Mosque. Pouyan lives and works between Tehran, Iran and New York, USA.
Wael Shawky will present the film Cabaret Crusades: The Path to Cairo (2012). This film is the second chapter of the film trilogy Cabaret Crusades which recounts the histories of the Crusades from an Arab perspective. Shawky uses drawings, objects and marionette animated films based on the book The Crusades Through Arab Eyes by Amin Maalouf (1983) to describe the specific horrors of these religious wars, with meticulously crafted characters, music, scenography and speech. Shawky lives and works in Alexandria, Egypt.
Bahia Shehab is an artist and associate professor of graphic design at The American University in Cairo. Her work focuses on ancient Arabic script and how it might be used to solve contemporary design issues. A Thousand Times No (2010) is a plexiglass curtain that traces the history of one Arabic letter form lam-alif using a thousand different shapes of the word in Islamic history. The letters spell out the word Laa, which means “No” in Arabic. On display alongside will be the accompanying book - a visual documentation of Shehab’s extensive research into the different lam-alifs presented chronologically, stating the places she found them, the medium, and the patron who commissioned the work. The project evokes the richness of the evolution of the Arabic script. Shehab lives and works in Cairo, Egypt.