Cantor Arts Center opens The Jameel Prize: Art Inspired by Islamic Tradition

Stanford University’s Cantor Arts Center presents The Jameel Prize: Art Inspired by Islamic Tradition, an exhibition on view December 12, 2012–March 10, 2013.

This special exhibition presents the work of 10 artists selected as finalists for the prestigious Jameel Prize, an international award bestowed by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and sponsored by Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives.

The Jameel Prize, awarded for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition, encourages the exploration of long-established practices of Islamic art, craft and design within a contemporary framework. The resulting exhibition demonstrates that artists can and do use these traditions in ways that are vividly relevant to the contemporary world. The prize also fosters a wider debate about Islamic culture and its role today.

The Jameel Prize is truly international. Awarded every two years, it is open to all entrants and not restricted to Muslims or those from the Islamic world. Entry for the Jameel Prize is by nomination. For the 2011 Jameel Prize, the names of almost 200 artists and designers were put forward from countries as diverse as the United States, Spain, Nigeria, Egypt and Pakistan. From this list, 10 finalists were selected, with one chosen as a winner for a prize of 25,000 British pounds, or approximately 35,800 U.S. dollars.

This exhibition presents art by all 10 finalists, more than 20 works that draw on the artists’ and designers’ own local and regional traditions, celebrating particular materials and iconography with strong references to traditional Islamic art. The artworks on view range from felt costumes to sculptural installations made from handmade terracotta bricks, from mirror mosaic to digital collages inspired by classical Persian miniature paintings. In many of the pieces, there is an underlying reference to the artists’ own “hybrid” cultural identity, in addition to the contrast between old and new, minimalism and ornament, home and exile.

The exhibition is organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum London (V&A) in partnership with the Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives. We also gratefully acknowledge the support of Cantor Arts Center Members and the Sohaib and Sara Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies at Stanford University, which has made possible the exhibition’s presentation at Stanford.

The Cantor Arts Center is open Wednesday–Sunday, 11 am–5 pm, Thursday until 8 pm. Admission is free. The Center is located on the Stanford campus, off Palm Drive at Museum Way. Parking is free after 4 pm. weekdays and all day on weekends. Information: 650-723-4177, museum.stanford.edu

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