Cantor Arts Center hosts The Jameel Prize

The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University has the privilege of being the first institution in the US to host The Jameel Prize: Art Inspired by Islamic Tradition exhibition.
It is a special show, made up of works of art from ten artists who are in with a chance of securing the prestigious award, which is delivered every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
The international award is bestowed to contemporary artists who have created works inspired by Islamic tradition, as well as utilising long-established techniques unique to this particular art form.
What this exhibition shows is that Islamic inspired art can be relevant in the contemporary world, which also adds to and helps foster new discourse about Islamic culture and its place in society today.
Additionally, what is also revealed, is, as is befitting of the prize, the international scope of the selected artists. They have come from countries like the US, Pakistan, Spain, Egypt and Nigeria.
This includes the Pakistani artist Noor Ali Chagani, who describes his work as the “transformation of miniature painting to sculpture”; Hayv Kahraman, an Iraqi-born artist who has said: “The body as object and as subject has a central function within my work”; and the Iranian artist Soody Sharifi, who explores the paradoxes and contradictions that naturally occur when living between two cultures.
“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,” explains the Cantor Arts Center.
“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.”
Identity is a central theme to a lot of the artists on show in this exhibition, many of them now living abroad to pursue their artistic endeavours. Thus their birthplace is a memory, a muse, something which they half-remember, and so they seek some sort of reconnection through their art. Heritage explored.
A truly beautiful exhibition, this show gives talented international artists tackling Islamic themes the due attention it deserves. This is a globalised world and the more we understand about different cultures, the better. Art transcends all boundaries.
The Jameel Prize: Art Inspired by Islamic Tradition at The Cantor Arts Center runs until March 10th 2013.
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