Victoria and Albert Museum

The world’s greatest museum of art and design

About the Jameel Prize

The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition. Its aim is to explore the relationship between Islamic traditions of art, craft and design and contemporary work as part of a wider debate about Islamic culture and its role today.

The Jameel Prize at the V&A and the international touring exhibition are in partnership with Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives. The prize was conceived after the redesign and redisplay of the V&A's Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art, which opened in July 2006.

Jameel Prize background

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 to widespread acclaim in July 2006. The Jameel Prize complements the Gallery by providing a showcase for new 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. The Jameel Prize shows that this link between the Islamic art of the past and contemporary practice is still very much alive.

The role of the Jameel Prize is to give work of this kind a higher profile. Certainly, it is helping to promote art and design inspired by Islamic traditions to potential patrons. The Prize also demonstrates that artists can and do 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?

This first Jameel Prize exhibition in 2009, featuring works by the winner and the other eight finalists, was shown at the V&A from 8 July to 13 September 2009. Subsequently, the exhibition was on an international tour, travelling to venues in the Middle East and North Africa. The Jameel Prize 2011 toured Europe and the United States. Future prizes will travel to new regions of the world.

Entry for the Jameel Prize is by nomination. Nominations for the Jameel Prize were invited from a wide range of specialists with a knowledge of contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition. The names of more than 200 artists and designers were put forward in this way. Submissions came from countries as diverse as the USA, Germany, Iran, Lebanon, Uzbekistan and China.

The nominated artists and designers were all invited to submit an application based on work produced in the previous five years. More than 200 artists and designers did so. An independent panel of judges then met to short-list the best submissions.

The artists and designers short-listed for the Jameel Prize are invited to show examples of their work in a special exhibition at the V&A. These are either the work for which they were short-listed or from the same series. The judges then view the exhibition, and select a winner. The Prize of £25,000 is awarded to the winner during the prize-giving ceremony.

Patron

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 tranforms our vision of the future with new spatial concepts and bold, visionary forms.

Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives



In partnership with
Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI).

William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain

22 March – 13 July 2014. Experience the world of William Kent, the most prominent architect and designer in early Georgian Britain and explore how his versatility and artistic inventiveness set the style for his age when Britain defined itself as a new nation and developed an Italian-inspired style.

Visit the V&A exhibition William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain