In 2006, HRH Prince Charles inaugurated the Jameel Gallery in London’s Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum. Renovated through an initiative of Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives, the V&A’s Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art is one of the most important galleries in the V&A that displays many important pieces of Islamic art. Since then, the V&A and Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives have launched several programs, including scholarships, training courses and the Jameel Prize, which was started in 2008.

Awarded every two years under the supervision of an international specialized panel, the winner of the first Jameel Prize was Afruz Amighi, born in Iran and living in New York, for her work 1001 Pages (2008), an intricate hand-cut screen made from the woven plastic used to construct refugee tents. Works of winner artists made a global tour that included Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Morocco and United Arab Emirates.

This year, the V&A announced the shortlist for the Jameel Prize 2011 during ‘Art Dubai’ which was held in the UAE. Ten artists and designers have been shortlisted for this year’s prize, which is awarded every two years.

They are:

• Noor Ali Chagani

• Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian

• Bita Ghezelayagh

• Babak Golkar

• Hayv Kahraman

• Aisha Khalid

• Rachid Koraïchi

• Hazem El Mestikawy

• Hadieh Shafie

• Soody Sharifi

Almost 200 nominations for the Jameel Prize 2011 were received, from countries as diverse as the United States, Spain, Nigeria, Egypt and Pakistan. A panel of judges, chaired by V&A Director, Sir Mark Jones, selected the shortlist of ten artists and designers. Mark Jones said: “The quality of the work shortlisted for this year’s Jameel Prize is outstanding. The output of the finalists is very varied, reflecting the richness and diversity of the Islamic traditions that inspired them. The work shows how complex and eloquent the art and design inspired by this tradition has become.”

Fadi Jameel, President of Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives International, stated that the idea of Jameel Prize comes in line with Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives International to raise awareness about the contemporary artworks inspired from traditional Muslim arts and designs, and to support artistic talent throughout the world.

The work of the shortlisted artists and designers will be shown at the V&A from 21 July until 25 September 2011 and draws strongly on the artists’ and designers’ own local and regional traditions, celebrating particular materials and iconography with strong references to traditional Islamic art. The works on show will range from felt costumes to sculpture made from hand-made terracotta bricks and from mirror mosaic to digital collages inspired by traditional Persian miniature paintings. In much of the work there is an underlying reference to the artists’ own ‘hybrid’ cultural identity; the mix of old and new, minimalism versus ornament, tradition and modernity, and home versus exile.

The winner of The Jameel Prize 2011 will be announced at the V&A on 12 September 2011. The Jameel Prize is a £25,000 international art prize for contemporary artists and designers inspired by Islamic traditions of craft and design.

The gallery is an outstanding presentation of the rich artistic heritage of the Islamic world, and the prize aims to raise awareness of the thriving interaction between contemporary practice and this great historical heritage. It has also contributed to a broader understanding of Islamic culture and its place in the world.