Contemporary vision and Islamic tradition

Wednesday, 21st November 2018

Hayv Kahraman, House in Gaylani, 2014, Oil on wood

The V&A is presenting an exhibition of works by the eight artists and designers shortlisted for the fifth edition of the prestigious Jameel Prize.

This year’s joint winners are the Iraqi artist Mehdi Moutashar for his four bold works of minimalist abstraction rooted in Islamic geometry; and Bangladeshi architect Marina Tabassum for her visionary Bait ur Rouf mosque built in 2012 in Dhaka.

Awarded every two years, the Jameel Prize, founded in partnership with Art Jameel – an organisation that supports artists and creative communities – is a £25,000 international art prize for contemporary artists and designers inspired by Islamic tradition.

The exhibition features work that reflects the richness and diversity of Islamic traditions in art and design. Media represented includes painting on very different scales and fashion design, while the sources of inspiration range from embroidered shawls to Arabic calligraphy. Multi-media installations evoke the symbolism of light and challenge Western approaches to art history.

The six other artists and designers in the exhibition are Iranian-born Kamrooz Aram, who seeks to challenge modern, Western interpret­ations of art history, including those covering the Islamic world; Hayv Kahraman (featured above), from Iraq, who combines references drawn from Islamic art, as well as the Japanese tradition of woodblock prints and the Italian Renaissance; Hala Kaiksow from Bahrain, a young fashion designer who launched her eponymous sustainable label in 2016; naqsh collective, which is the output of two sisters from Jordan – architect Nisreen and graphic designer Nermeen Abudail; Younes Rahmoun’s installation is made up of 77 hats in coloured wool, all with different patterns, made by a craftsman in his home town in Morocco; and Wardha Shabbir, from Pakistan, who draws on the ideas that underlie the Islamic garden, painting flora and fauna associated with cultivated spaces with painstaking care.

A series of specially commissioned short films on each finalist – drawn from 375 nominations from around the world – can be viewed online at:

• Jameel Prize 5 – Shortlist Exhibition. Until November 25 V&A South Kensington. Open daily 10am-5.45pm, and 10am-10pm Fridays. Admission free. 020 7942 2000

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