The sixth edition of the Jameel Prize has chosen design as a new thematic focus this year. Over 400 entries were received from designers all over the world however only eight designers were shortlisted by an international jury that included Dr Tristram Hunt (Director of the V&A – Chair), Alice Rawsthorn (design critic and author), Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi (writer, researcher and founder of Barjeel Art Foundation), Mehdi Moutashar (artist and joint winner of Jameel Prize 5) and Marina Tabassum (architect and joint winner of Jameel Prize 5).
The works of the eight designers from India, Iran, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the UK will be presented in an exhibition at the V&A which will be on display from the 18th of September to the 28th of November 2021. The winner will be announced at the exhibition’s opening.
Jameel Prize: Poetry to Politics exhibition is devoted to contemporary design inspired by Islamic tradition, it reflects the ways in which Islamic art and culture remain rich sources of inspiration for contemporary design.
Jameel Prize: Poetry to Politics will tour to two international venues after the V&A.
Meet the finalists
Golnar Adili (USA)
Golnar Adili’s practice explores aspects of her identity through Persian language and poetry, her work on display in the Jameel Prize pays homage to her father, transforming one of his letters into an installation both monumental and delicate.
Hadeyeh Badri (UAE)
Hadeyeh Badri’s weavings incorporate Arabic writing into the dense and delicate fabric. The text is personal, taken from the diary of Badri’s beloved late aunt, and Badri uses weaving as a way of reconnecting with her. Calling upon poetic tropes and their connection to memory, Badri considers her textiles intimate, imperfect monuments to loved ones.
Kallol Datta (India)
Kallol Datta’s design process involves rigorous creative research and experimental pattern-cutting. In his bold contemporary clothing, Datta mines and combines the shapes of the abaya, manteau, hanbok, hijab and caftan, with gestures of enveloping, layering and veiling.
Farah Fayyad (Lebanon)
During popular uprisings in Lebanon in 2019, Farah Fayyad and a group of friends installed a manual screen-printing press at the heart of the Beirut protests. They printed artworks and slogans by local designers onto the clothing of protestors, bringing Arabic typography into the public and political sphere. Equally passionate about Arabic typography, her contemporary typeface, Kufur, is based on historic Kufic calligraphy.
Ajlan Gharem (Saudi Arabia)
Ajlan Gharem’s work explores the changing nature of society in Saudi Arabia. Gharem’s architectural installation Paradise Has Many Gates is true to the form and design of a traditional mosque, but is made of the cage-like chicken wire used for border walls and prison fences. Although the wire feels uninviting, even frightening, it also renders the mosque transparent and open – even welcoming.
Sofia Karim (UK)
Sofia Karim’s Turbine Bagh project was inspired by the 2019 protests in Shaheen Bagh, a neighbourhood in Delhi, against the Indian government’s Citizenship Amendment Act. The Act is part of an alarming rise in Islamophobic attitudes and legislation in India. As the protests have grown into an historic civil rights movement, Karim invites artists, writers and thinkers to design samosa packets for Shaheen Bagh.
Jana Traboulsi (Lebanon)
Stemming from research into Middle Eastern book-making traditions, Jana Traboulsi’s Kitab al-Hawamish (Book of Margins), 2017, explores margins and marginalia in Arabic manuscript production. Kitab al-Hawamish celebrates subtle elements of book design: from letter shapes to phonetics and footnotes, the materiality of parchment and the role of recitation, the function of catchwords, and the origins of paper formats.
Bushra Waqas Khan (Pakistan)
Bushra Waqas Khan’s inspiration and source material is affidavit paper, which is decorated with national emblems and Islamic patterns, and used for all official documents in Pakistan. Khan transfers the paper’s patterns onto fabric, which she cuts and embroiders into elaborate garments.