Shortlist for seventh Jameel Prize highlights diversity of ideas

Art award focuses on contemporary pieces inspired by Islamic tradition

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The independent arts organisation Art Jameel and London's Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) have announced shortlisted projects for the seventh Jameel Prize.

Their collaborative international triennial competition recognises contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition. This year, seven projects have been shortlisted for the £25,000 ($32,000) art award, and focus on moving image and digital media.

The shortlisted artists are: Sadik Kwaish Alfraji, Jawa El Khash, Alia Farid, Zahra Malkani, Khandakar Ohida, Marrim Akashi Sani, and as a collective Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian.

“I am delighted that we have selected such an impressive shortlist for the seventh Jameel Prize,” said chairman of the Jameel Prize jury, V&A director Tristram Hunt.

“Over the last 15 years the prize has explored diverse responses to Islamic civilisation in many media. Over this time, too, the range of eligible work has expanded and diversified, allowing us to concentrate on digital media and the moving image for this edition.”

The seven finalists are diverse not only in their backgrounds but also their chosen medium, which includes film, sculpture, installation and sound.

"The prize and its touring exhibitions are dynamic – innovating and growing in breadth and focus each iteration," said director of Art Jameel Antonia Carver.

Mr Carver said the prize has acted as a platform to engage, track and celebrate the influence of Islamic design and traditions on contemporary art today.

Netherlands-based Iraqi artist Alfraji, whose work focuses on collective memory and personal storytelling, will be showcasing two hand-drawn animations that are devoted to his parents: A Thread of Light Between My Mother’s Fingers and Heaven and A Short Story in the Eyes of Hope.

Jawa El Khash, a Syrian artist based in Canada, will exhibit The Upper Side of The Sky. It is a 3D simulation that resurrects archaeology and ecology that has been endangered or destroyed from her homeland.

Kuwaiti-Puerto Rician artist Alia Farid’s film entitled Chibayish and a sculpture In Lieu of What Was are works that explore tensions over resources in borders across the Arabian Gulf. Her work is based on years of research and time spent with communities in the southern region of Iraq.

Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian are an Iranian art collective based in the UAE. Their animation If I had two paths, I would choose a third explores the rippling effect of the social and political act of destroying icons, images or monuments.

Indian artist Khandakar Ohida’s film Dream Your Museum is an intimate portrait of her uncle, Khandakar Selim, who built an extraordinary collection of objects over the past 50 years.

Zahra Malkani from Pakistan presents A Ubiquitous Wetness, a work that is the accumulation of her research of sound and sonic practices intersect with mystical devotional practices.

US based Iraqi-Iranian artist Marrim Akashi Sani, artist, writer, designer and filmmaker will showcase Muharram, a photo series exploring the complex, nuanced and ambivalent process of assimilation, particularly in religious practice.

Across the shortlisted works, facets of Islamic culture, society and ideas are explored through a number of themes, including domestic, spirituality, ecological and political.

After an open call in 2023, the institutions received 300 submissions of which the seven finalists were selected by a jury comprising artists Morehshin Allahyari and Ajlan Gharem, curator Sadia Shirazi, and academic Laura U.

The winner of the prize will be announced on November 27. The finalists' art will be displayed at an exhibition entitled Jameel Prize: Moving Images at the V&A from November 30 to March 16, before going on an international tour.

Updated: May 29, 2024, 2:09 PM