Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi, Member of the UAE Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated 'The Jameel Prize 2009', a contemporary art exhibition hosted by Sharjah Museums Department (SMD) at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization in the presence of Sharjah Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler H.H Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Sultan Al Qasimi and other senior government officials. The exhibition, which continues till October 24, 2010, is a prestigious touring showcase organised by the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London.
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 on Islamic culture and its role today.
Manal Ataya said: "The 'Jameel Prize 2009' exhibition highlights the achievements of contemporary artists directly inspired by the aesthetic vibrancy of Islamic civilization. The selected artworks not only inspire but also encourage discussion, and thus contribute to much needed intercultural dialogue and understanding"
She added: "Sharjah Museums Department strives to support the artistic endeavours of contemporary artists, especially if their work reflects an engagement with the artistic traditions of the Islamic world. The Jameel Prize 2009 will be a unique experience for visitors to the exhibition at Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization."
The 'Jameel Prize 2009' exhibition in Sharjah features the works of nine artists and designers: Afruz Amighi, Hamra Abbas, Reza Abedini, Sevan Bıçakçı, Hassan Hajjaj, Khosrow Hassanzadeh, Susan Hefuna, Seher Shah and Camille Zakharia.
Their works are varied in approach, structure, and tonality, reflecting the richness and diversity of the Islamic traditions that inspired them. Ranging from jewellery and photomontage to turned wood and screen prints, their contributions highlight the dynamism of Islamic art traditions, and how complex and eloquent the art and design inspired by this tradition has become.
Aisha Deemas, Curator of the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, said: "The 'Jameel Prize 2009' is our key exhibition event at our museum this year. Building further on our earlier exhibitions that showcased the diversity of Islamic art from across the world at our Museum, the event will offer a new window to understand the continuation of Islamic heritage and artistic traditions in a contemporary context."
Awarded every two years, the 'Jameel Prize' is open to artists and designers of any nationality and creed. The nominations for the inaugural awards came from countries ranging from the USA, Germany, Lebanon, and Uzbekistan to China.
The New York-based Iranian-born artist Arfuz Amighi was the winner of the 'Jameel Prize 2009' for her submission 1001 Pages, 2008, an astonishing piece, which will be at the heart of the exhibition at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization.
The award-winning work uses light and shadow to create complex and engaging designs whose precise location can elude the viewers. The suspended art-piece is illuminated using an overhead projector, which casts a shadow of the intricate pattern against a wall. All the other works on display similarly highlight an innovative approach to art using various media.
Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel provided the financial support for the renovation of the V&A's Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art, which opened in 2006. Zaha Hadid, regarded as one of the world's leading architects, is the Patron of the Prize. The touring exhibition is supported by Abdul Latif Jameel Community Services Programs (ALJCSP).
The British Council partners with the Sharjah Museums Department in providing an exciting educational programme to accompany the exhibition.
The partnership forms an integral element of the British Council's Cultural Relations activities in the UAE and in the wider Middle Eastern region.
By running a rich programme of activities to complement the exhibition and engaging with a diverse audience, the British Council aims to provide an opportunity for all to take part and to reflect on the interesting theme of the Jameel Prize – whether it is for Arts enthusiasts to attend a talk and panel discussion around "Islamic art at the V&A: the background to the Jameel Prize", for university students to improve their skills through a professional montage/collage workshop and to learn from the Jameel Prize artists' experiences in developing their works; for emerging artists and the general public to develop digital art work and compete online, or for families and friends to enjoy participating in fun creative activities said Michel Bechara, Director of Projects, The British Council, UAE
Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization aims to display, interpret, research and further develop the collections for a wide range of local, national and international audiences, and to stimulate knowledge, appreciation and enjoyment of Islamic art, history, science and culture.
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