The Turkish fashion label Dice Kayek on Tuesday won the Jameel prize at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, which honors contemporary art inspired by Islamic tradition. The 25,000-pound ($41,100) international prize, which is awarded every two years, has Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid as patron, and this year’s judges included Thomas Heatherwick, designer of the London Olympic Cauldron.
In just four years, the Jameel Prize has become one of the most important international awards for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic traditions. The Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum in London will announce the 2013 winner, who will receive £25,000 on Tuesday [December 10, 2013]. We look at the nominees and catch up with four favourites.
When London’s Victoria and Albert Museum opened its doors in 1857, its mission was to inspire artists, craftsmen and manufacturers by showing design excellence in its many forms. The museum had amassed a large collection of Islamic art and artefacts, believing the British could learn a thing or two from the principles of geometry, pattern-making, decoration and function exemplified by work from Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Syria and other places in the region. Many years on, the Jameel Prize, supported by the Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives, awards contemporary artists influenced by Islamic traditions of craft and design, and looks further afield for the fruits of contemporary middle-eastern art.
It is not supposed to be a regional affair. In fact, Salma Tuqan, the co-curator of the Jameel Prize, is quick to point out that this is “not an east-west dialogue” but a global contemporary art prize that simply has regional leanings because of its only stipulation: the art must be inspired by Islamic tradition. But days after announcing 10 shortlisted nominees for the £25,000 (Dh139,200) award, Tuqan and her team were on their way to Dubai to host an informal talk and discuss the evolution of the prize.