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Iranian Artists at V&A

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The Jameel Prize is Victoria & Albert museum’s international art prize awarded to a contemporary artist or designer inspired by traditions of Islamic craft and design. This year, ten artists and designers have been shortlisted and the exhibition will display works ranging from felt costumes to sculpture made from hand-made terracotta bricks, and from mirror mosaic to digital collages inspired by traditional Persian miniature paintings. The winner will be announced on 12 September.

The first Jameel Prize was given to the Iranian artist Afruz Amighi in 2009 for his ‘1001 Pages’ installation. And this year 5 of the artists shortlisted for receiving the V&A’s £25,000 international art prize are Iranian too: Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Bita Ghezelayagh, Babak Golkar, Hadieh Shafie and Soody Sharifi. 
The Jameel Prize exhibition's co-curator Salma Tuqan on the selection criteria for the prize
Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian is one of Iran’s most celebrated artists with a career spanning more than five decades. She will exhibit 'Birds of Paradise' (2008), a work that demonstrates her distinctive style of adapting and combining Iranian traditions of mirror mosaic and reverse glass painting techniques with a modern aesthetic. Mirrors are cut and set in geometric patterns and integrated with coloured glass, referencing a range of influences in Islamic art, architecture and science. This particular work is inspired by the many feathers left by sparrows on her balcony in Tehran.
Bita Ghezelayagh works in the traditional Iranian craft of felt-making. She will show three pieces from her 'Felt Memories' series (2008-9).
Ghezelayagh is inspired by the Islamic tradition of talismanic garments worn to protect the wearer from misfortune and most often used in a military context to give physical and spiritual protection when the ruler went into battle. She reinvents this tradition, which would originally have used luxurious materials by substituting this for an everyday rural material such as felt.
Babak Golkar will show a new piece entitled 'Negotiating the Space for Possible Coexistencies No.5' (2011). Golkar’s multi-disciplinary work often examines socio-cultural issues experienced from living in both the Middle East and Canada.
This work is part of a series that uses the pattern of Persian carpets as a blue print for architectural scale models. The model sits on top of the carpet so that the relationship between the two forms is accessible to the viewer, creating a conceptual connection between the traditions of Modern and Post-Modern architecture and the traditions of the nomadic society. The work also challenges the spatial economies of the two traditions offering a space for cross-cultural dialogue.
Hadieh Shafie will show two new works, '22500' (2011) and '26000' (2011) which are a continuation of her signature paper scroll works. In Hadieh Shafie’s work, the notion of meditative process, repetition and time as found in Islamic art, craft and architecture is a constant element.
Made up of 22,500 and 26,000 strips of paper, each scroll is marked with printed and hand written Farsi text then tightly rolled into concentric circles, concealing or revealing different elements of the text. The concentric forms of both text and material take their inspiration from the dance of the whirling dervish. Shafie’s paper scroll works demonstrate a constant element of her work which is the significance of process, repetition and time, all rooted in the influence of Islamic art and craft. Soody Sharifi will exhibit two prints 'Frolicking Women' (2007) and 'Fashion Week' (2010).
Sharifi creates digital collages using enlarged scans of original Persian miniatures in which inserts her own photographic images, creating what she calls ‘Maxiatures’. Sharifi’s digital collages explore tension between public and private spaces.
Source: V&A’s press release

 *Algerian born Rachid Koraïchi has won the £25,000 Jameel Prize for a selection of embroidered cloth banners from a series entitled Les Maitres invisibles (The Invisible Masters), 2008, the V&A  announced on Monday, 12 September 2011.

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