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About the Jameel Prize

The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition. The past achievements of the Islamic world in art, craft and design are reflected in the work of many contemporary practitioners in these fields. The aims of the Prize are to raise awareness of this new work and to explore it as part of a wider debate about Islamic culture and its role today.

The Jameel Prize, worth £25,000, was first awarded in 2009 and is held every two years, when work by the finalists is shown in an international touring exhibition. Both the Prize and the exhibition are organised by the V&A in partnership with Art Jameel.

The Jameel Prize is open to artists and designers from any ethnic, religious or cultural background.

The background to the Jameel Prize

The V&A houses one of the world's great collections of Islamic art from the Middle East. This can be seen at its best in the Museum's splendid Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art, which opened in July 2006. The Jameel Prize complements the Gallery by providing a showcase for contemporary art and design that reflects the Islamic traditions of the past on display there.

The V&A began to collect art from the Islamic world in the 1850s, and it was the first institution in the world to do so with a purpose. The Museum's mission was to reform design, and it was thought that Islamic ideas about structuring patterns and matching decoration to shape and function could improve British design, as indeed they did.

This link between the Islamic traditions of the past and contemporary practice is still very much alive, and the Jameel Prize shows how artists and designers use these traditions in a way that is vividly relevant to the contemporary world.

'1001 Pages' (detail), Afruz Amighi, 2008. Courtesy of Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, © V&A images

'1001 Pages' (detail), Afruz Amighi, Jameel Prize winner 2009. Courtesy of Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, © Photo: V&A images

'1001 Pages', Afruz Amighi, 2008. Courtesy of Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, © Photo: V&A images

'1001 Pages', Afruz Amighi, Jameel Prize winner 2009. Courtesy of Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, © Photo: V&A images

How does the Jameel Prize work?

Entry for the Jameel Prize is by nomination. The V&A has identified a growing band of specialists around the world with knowledge of contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition. For each Prize, they are invited to put forward the names of artists and designers whose work they consider eligible.

The artists and designers nominated in this way are invited to submit an application based on work produced in the previous five years. An independent panel of judges then meet to choose a shortlist.

Each finalist for the Jameel Prize is selected for a particular body of work, and they are invited to show examples of this work in a group exhibition, held at the V&A or another prominent venue. The judges then view the exhibition, from which they select the winner of the Prize, who is then awarded £25,000.

International Tour

Each edition of the Jameel Prize exhibition includes an international tour. This first Jameel Prize exhibition was shown at the V&A in 2009 and then travelled to six venues in the Middle East and North Africa during 2010 and 2011. The Jameel Prize 2011 was also seen at the V&A before touring to venues in France, Spain and the United States in 2011 to 2013. Jameel Prize 3 received more than 140,000 visits at the V&A in 2013 and 2014 before being shown in Russia and the UAE. Future prizes will travel to new regions of the world.

At each venue, the exhibition has been accompanied by a very popular public programme. These have included workshops with the shortlisted artists and designers, art and design competitions, academic lectures and events for children and young people.

Jameel Prize 2009 Tour

8 July – 13 September 2009 - V&A, London, UK
23 January – 30 January 2010 - National Museum, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
14 April – 19 May 2010 - National Museum of Damascus, Syria
25 June – 13 August 2010 - Beiteddine Palace, Lebanon
16 September – 24 October 2010 - Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, United Arab Emirates
12 November 2010 – 9 January 2011 - Sakip Sabanci Museum, Istanbul, Turkey
28 January – 27 February 2011 - La Villa des Arts, Casablanca, Morocco

Jameel Prize 2011 Tour

21 July – 25 September 2011 - V&A, London, UK
6 December 2011 – 26 February 2012-  Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France
28 March – 15 July 2012 - Casa Arabe, Madrid, Spain
12 December 2012 – 10 March 2013 - Cantor Arts Center Stanford University, California, USA
24 May – 11 August 2013 - San Antonio Museum of Art, Texas, USA

Jameel Prize 3 Tour

11 December 2013 – 21 April 2014 - V&A, London, UK
21 May – 17 August 2014 - Hermitage-Kazan Exhibition Centre, Kazan, Russia
10 October – 23 November 2014 - The New Manege, Moscow, Russia
16 March – 6 June 2015 - Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilizations, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates


The Patron of the Jameel Prize is the award-winning architect Zaha Hadid.

Zaha Hadid is widely recognized as one of the world’s most innovative architects who tests boundaries of architecture, urbanism and design. She was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2004. Each of Hadid’s seminal buildings, including the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, the BMW Central Building in Leipzig and the Nordpark Railway Stations in Innsbruck have been hailed as architecture that transforms our vision of the future with new spatial concepts and bold, visionary forms.

For more information about the Jameel Prize, please read the Frequently Asked Questions

In partnership with Art Jameel
Art Jameel

Art Jameel

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