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Art on the move
by Muhammad Yusuf July 16, 2015
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Art Jameel and the Crossway Foundation have announced the appointment of Monira Al Qadiri as the Artistic Lead for the Jameel Journey to Japan 2015. Abu Dhabi-based UAE national airlines Etihad Airways is official airline partner of the project.

This year’s competition is open to 18-25 year old nationals and residents of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and the United Kingdom. Eight winners will have the opportunity to travel to Japan in November 2015 where they will experience Japanese culture. Past editions have visited Brazil and Andalucia.

Kuwaiti visual artist Al Qadiri was born in Senegal in 1983 was educated in Japan. She says: “It has always been my dream to share my knowledge and experience of Japanese art and culture with younger practitioners from the region.

“Being in Japan can stimulate the mind of any artist in a myriad of ways, and this journey can become a gateway to endless sources of inspiration for years to come”.

In 2010, she received a PhD in inter-media art from Tokyo University of the Arts, where her research was focused on the aesthetics of sadness in the Middle-East region stemming from poetry, music, art and religious practices. She is also part of the artist collective GCC, who has recently held a solo exhibition at MoMA PS1 in New York (2014).

Her work explores the relationship between narcissism and masculinity, as well as other dysfunctional gender roles. She is currently expanding her practice towards more social and political subjects.

Art Jameel, part of the Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives, fosters and promotes contemporary art and creative entrepreneurship across the MENAT region. In partnership with arts organisations worldwide, it is developing two arts centres and cultural exchange programmes to encourage networking and knowledge sharing.

In partnership with the Victoria & Albert Museum (V & A) in London, it awards the biannual Jameel Prize for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic traditions. The Crossway Foundation is a UK-based charitable foundation delivering arts and education initiatives for young people in the Middle East and the UK. It focuses on delivering international creative journeys for young people, as well as running a public programme that is free and open to all.

The foundation has been delivering journeys since 2007, working with young artists in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and Malaysia. 

In a related event, the prestigious Jameel Prize 3 exhibition held recently in Sharjah was a huge success that underlined the emirate’s place as a seat of Islamic art.

The exhibition, which ran from March 16 to June 6, displayed the Islamic-inspired work of the 10 artists and designers short listed for Jameel Prize 3. Eight programmes of free initiatives and workshops for children, teachers, students, individuals with disabilities and families ran alongside it.

Almost 19,000 people visited the show, among them VIPs, including ambassadors of Serbia and Germany and the Consuls General of Germany and the US.

The Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization was the first venue in the Middle East to display the diverse works of the artists, who were short listed from a field of more than 270 global nominations.

Tim Stanley, from the V&A’s Middle Eastern collection, was one of the two curators responsible for the exhibition. According to him, “the Jameel Prize 3 exhibition was a tremendous success, having proved very popular with visitors eager to see some of the best international contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition. Sharjah’s roots in Islamic heritage made it the perfect place to host the exhibition in the Middle East and showcase the impact of Islamic civilization on today’s art and design”.

The diverse works of the 10 artists ranged from Arabic typography to fashion inspired by the mosques of Istanbul, video installations and meditative drawings. Among the workshops on offer was a series led by Pascal Zoghbi – one of the 10 Jameel Prize 3 finalists – for students from the American University of Sharjah (AUS) on the history of Arabic fonts.

Manal Ataya, Director General of the Sharjah Museums Department, said: “It was an honour for us to host this exhibition to mark yet another successful collaboration with the V&A. The works in Jameel Prize 3 demonstrated the influence of Islamic traditions in contemporary art. We are very pleased with the outcome of the exhibition and the effect it had here in Sharjah. Supporting artistic talent is something that’s very important to the Sharjah Museums Department”.

Jameel Prize 3 was won by Parisian fashion brand Dice Kayek for Istanbul Contrast, a collection of garments created in 2010 that evoke Istanbul’s architectural and artistic heritage. In the exhibition, the work of Dice Kayek’s founders, Ece and Ayse Ege, was joined by the works of nine short listed artists and designers – Faig Ahmed, Nasser Al Salem, Nada Debs, Mounir Fatmi, Rahul Jain, Waqas Khan, Laurent Mareschal, Florie Salnot and Pascal Zoghbi.

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