Jameel Prize 3

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.


Dice Kayek were announced as the winners of Jameel Prize 3 for Istanbul Contrast, a collection of garments that evoked Istanbul’s architectural and artistic heritage. Ece and Ayşe Ege were presented with the prize by Martin Roth, former Director of the V&A, and Fady Jameel, President of Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI) at an awards ceremony at the V&A on Tuesday 10 December 2013.

Dice Kayek is the Turkish fashion label established by sisters Ece and Ayşe Ege. Their collection Istanbul Contrast evokes Istanbul’s architectural and artistic heritage. Caftan, made of hand-woven lamé brocade, refers to the luxurious robes worn by the city’s former Ottoman rulers. For Dome 2, light-weight cotton organdie was folded to echo the ribs of lead-covered domes of the city’s mosques and palaces. Hagia Sophia, a white satin coat with complex, hand-stitched embroidery and ancient glass beads, was inspired by Byzantine mosaics.

Ece and Ayşe Ege were born in Bursa, Turkey. They live and work between Istanbul and Paris.

The judges felt that Dice Kayek's work demonstrated how vibrant and creative Islamic traditions continue to be today. Their translation of architectural ideas into fashion shows how Islamic traditions can still transfer from one art form to another, as they did in the past.

This, the third Jameel Prize, has continued to attract nominations from around the world, and for the first time the shortlist features work from Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan and India. We are delighted to continue our work on the Jameel Prize with Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI).

Martin Roth

There were almost 270 nominations for the Jameel Prize 3 from countries as diverse as Algeria, Brazil, Kosovo, Norway and Russia. A panel of judges, chaired by V&A Director, Martin Roth, selected the shortlist of ten artists and designers. The work of the shortlisted artists and designers was shown at the V&A from 11 December 2013 – 21 April 2014.

Martin Roth, Former Director of the V&A
Thomas Heatherwick, designer and founder of Heatherwick Studio
Rashid Koraïchi, winner of the Jameel Prize 2011
Nada Shabout, Associate Professor of Art History and the Director of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Institute (CAMCSI) at the University of North Texas, USA
Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès, Founding Director of the Khatt Foundation, Centerfor Arabic Typography

The late Zaha Hadid, award winning architect, was Patron of the Jameel Prize.


Faig Ahmed

Faig Ahmed designs carpets as part of a diverse art practice which also includes painting, video and installation. His carpets are based on Azerbaijan’s ancient weaving traditions. They are made by hand and, for the most part, follow a conventional design. In each case, though, Ahmed reconfigures part of the pattern. In Hollow, one corner of the carpet seems to have collapsed, while in Pixelate Tradition, much of the pattern has disintegrated into pixels. By disrupting traditional forms, Ahmed shows how, "Ideas that have been formed for ages are being changed in moments".

Faig Ahmed was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, where he lives and works.

Nada Debs

Nada Debs, a furniture and product designer, blends Middle Eastern craftsmanship with Japanese minimalism. Her Concrete Carpet combines a light-weight form of concrete with Arabic font design. The 'carpet' is divided into 28 panels. This structure recalls the use of tatami mats in Japan to cover interiors. Each panel features a letter of the Arabic alphabet, with one example of this letter highlighted with mother-of-pearl inlay. The font was designed for Debs by Pascal Zoghbi, also a finalist in Jameel Prize 3.

Nada Debs was born in Japan. She lives and works in Beirut, Lebanon.

Mounir Fatmi

In his multi-media installations, Mounir Fatmi often uses Arabic calligraphy in new ways. One traditional calligraphic convention is to arrange texts in impressive wheel-shaped compositions. In the video work Modern Times: A History of the Machine, Fatmi uses these circular compositions literally as wheels, the parts of a noisy locomotive that hurtles forward relentlessly. The work points to the dystopic world we are creating. In the Middle East, ramshackle cities grow without stopping, while prestige building projects are commissioned on an inhuman scale as displays of power.

Technologia offers a metaphor for the contemporary world in constant, erratic movement, with no end to production and consumption. The images repeat so rapidly that they cannot transmit their content – we do not get the message. The forms suggest both the circular compositions found in Arabic calligraphy and Marcel Duchamp's Rotoreliefs, the first examples of kinetic art.

Mounir Fatmi was born in Tangier, Morocco. He lives and works there and in Paris.

Rahul Jain

Textile designer Rahul Jain set up a workshop in Varanasi in India to recreate magnificent silk textiles of the past. The workshop has five drawlooms, at which local Muslim weavers work in pairs. Under Jain’s guidance, they weave silk and gold and silver thread in impressively complex techniques, such as those used to make textiles for the Mughal emperors in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Snow Leopard and The Birds of Paradise designs stay true to the pattern structure of historical textiles, but the patterns themselves have been interpreted in new ways.

Rahul Jain was born in New Delhi, where he lives and works.

Waqas Khan

Waqas Khan trained in the traditional practice of miniature painting, but uses the skills he learned to create drawings on a large scale. He says, 'The process is almost architectural, like building something slowly brick by brick'. The 'bricks' are dots, marks and lines, assembled with precision and delicacy into deceptively simple compositions. He also compares his work to a diary, in which "Each dot is like a word".

Khan's practice reflects aspects of Sufism, the mystic current in Islam. He works without a magnifying glass, usually at night, holding his breath while drawing and exhaling only once the ink is on the paper.

Waqas Khan was born in Akhtar Abad, Pakistan. He now lives and works in Lahore.

Laurent Mareschal

Laurent Mareschal is concerned with the impermanence of our lives. He often uses Palestinian sources for his work, acknowledging the particular impermanence of Palestinian lives. His large, ephemeral, site-specific works draw on everyday materials such as spices, soap and food. With these he creates patterns based on, among other things, the decorative floor tiles in old houses. His work is deliberately fragile, and Mareschal expects his audiences to participate in transforming it – for example, by eating the food.

Laurent Mareschal was born in Dijon. He lives and works in Paris.

Nasser Al Salem

The calligrapher Nasser Al Salem works in various media, not just on paper. In Kul, he exploits one of the most dramatic forms found in the Arabic script – the combination of the letters kaf and lam that spell out the word kull, meaning 'all'. He repeats the word on a diminishing scale to create a perspective effect that suggests infinity and all-inclusiveness, complementing the literal meaning of the word. In Guide us Upon the Straight Path, Al Salem uses a new and evocative calligraphic style based on the 'script' of the hospital monitor to write out a believer's prayer.

Nasser Al Salem was born in Mecca. He lives and works in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Florie Salnot

Florie Salnot is a designer concerned with social issues. For her Plastic Gold project she works with women from Western Sahara. The Sahrawi women now live in refugee camps at desert sites in Algeria. Inspired by the traditional jewellery worn by these women, Salnot has devised a craft they can practise despite their limited resources. She uses only hot sand, simple tools and spray paint to transform discarded plastic bottles into necklaces and bracelets.

Florie Salnot was born in France. She now works between Hamburg, London and Paris.

Plastic Gold was supported by London-based Sandblast charity, promoting Saharawi refugee voices through the arts.

Pascal Zoghbi

Pascal Zoghbi is a typographer who specialises in Arabic fonts. Until recently, the range of fonts available for printing in Arabic was very small, but font design is now a growing field. The challenge is to devise fonts that stay faithful to the conventions of the Arabic script while matching contemporary needs. In 29LT Fonts Collection, Zoghbi illustrates this process with each letter of the Arabic alphabet, linking historical forms to his own typography.

Zoghbi's design studio, 29Letters, has created new typographical styles for newspapers, magazines, architecture, wayfinding and software. They also created the font Nada Debs used for Concrete Carpet.

Pascal Zoghbi lives and works in Beirut, Lebanon.