The Jameel Prize 2011: Preview

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Video Transcript

The starting point of The Jameel Prize was the formation of the Jameel Gallery of Islamic art at the V&A and this was generously funded by Abdul Latif Jameel and houses the V&A’s superb collection of Islamic art which they started in the 1850’s.

The Jameel Prize is a step further from there and it’s a new showcase for contemporary art and design and it reinforces the link between Islamic Art and contemporary art and design inspired by this tradition.

The aim is really to provide a platform for artists and designers that work with this way and also to show the thriving interaction between contemporary practise and Islamic art and the fact that these ideas and these techniques are still very relevant and very much alive today.

We had close to two hundred applications and submissions this year from countries ranging from Nigeria, China, Australia, Iran, France, so it was quite a tough decision for the judges. They filtered it down to ten artists and designers really selected completely on the strength of their work on the application form which was work that was very very strong, showed a deep respect for Islamic art and design and a deeper understanding of it and also ideas and techniques that were relevant and used in very innovative ways in their work.

I think what’s interesting about the prize is that even through the artists’ span such a huge geographic region, there are common threads and strands when you look around and wander around the exhibition and I think that’s because the common denominators between all of that is really the kind of basis of Islamic tradition. I think the attention to detail, the handmade and the idea that the materials become part of the work is quite important in these artists work. So the some of these materials such as brick or mirror work traditionally are used as decorative forms but here they’ve become the subject of the work itself.

Prize giving ceremony where we’ll announce the winner is on the 12th September this year and we’ll have the judges that come together to decide on the winner. The day before on 11th September, we have a full day of programming at the V&A where all of the artists and designers will be presenting new work, talking about some of their work in the exhibition, various presentations and film screenings, which will be a lovely way of understanding some of these artists work further and getting a chance to meet with them.

We are really eager to bring this to a new audience across Europe and across the States and we feel that the international tour is a very unique part of the prize and really important exposure of these artists’ work and the chance to build on parallel programmes, and introduce audiences and open up their minds to what Islamic art is.


The Jameel Prize was initiated in 2009 with a view to highlighting contemporary artists and designers whose work is rooted in Islamic tradition. In this film, curator of the Jameel Prize, Salma Tuqan, guides us through the 2011 shortlist.

Jameel Prize curator, Salma Tuqan, guides us through the shortlist of ten artists and designers...