Rebecca Anne Proctor
DUBAI: The long revered Jameel Prize, launched by London’s Victoria & Albert museum and Art Jameel in 2009 to recognize the influence of Islamic tradition on contemporary culture, is heralding in a new era. This year, which marks its sixth edition, will be dedicated to design.
The prize has continued to evolve throughout its history, highlighting the cross-section of various creative disciplines, including architecture, film, sculpture and fashion, as well as histories of different regions from across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region. Previously a solely mixed-media award, the next edition of the prize is the first time that it will be centred on a single discipline.
Why the focus on Islamic design? As the worlds of contemporary art and collectible design grow closer, much has been noted on their evolving marriage. The Jameel Prize 6 further cements the growing interest in the world of design from a fine art standpoint.
“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,” stated Art Jameel in a statement.
“The sixth edition of the prize zooms in on a single discipline — that of contemporary design — while magnifying the scope to include an open call, enabling practitioners from across the world to apply,” said Director of Art Jameel Antonia Carver.
Importantly, how does one define what constitutes design? Applications, which opened on March 18 and run until May 31, 2020, welcome practitioners from a wide range of disciplines, including jewelry, product, web, graphic, fashion, speculative design, typography, craft, architecture and applied arts. The Jameel Prize 6 exhibition will open at the V&A in London during the summer of 2021, curated by the V&A’s Jameel Curator of Contemporary Art from the Middle East Rachel Dedman, in collaboration with Senior Curator Tim Stanley.
“We think the Jameel Prize 6 exhibition will be the largest such show to date, anywhere in the world, of innovative contemporary design inspired by Islamic traditions,” added Carver. “The prize reminds us of the enduring influence of the great age of Islamic art and design on today’s creatives.”
The Jameel Prize 5 marked further evolution. It was awarded jointly for the first time to Iraqi artist Mehdi Moutashar and Bangladeshi architect Marina Tabassum.
The jury follows the same format as other editions of the prize. The jury will be chaired by Dr Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A, and will comprise the joint-winners of Jameel Prize 5, Iraqi artist Mehdi Moutashar and Bangladeshi architect Marina Tabassum, as well as British author and design critic Alice Rawsthorn and Emirati writer, researcher and founder of Barjeel Art Foundation Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi.
“Art Jameel aims to take a ‘kaizen’ approach, recognizing the potential in continually questioning and striving for improvement, to its programs, and the process of working with the V&A to rethink and future-proof the Jameel Prize,” added Carver.