Iranian born Afruz Amighi has been chosen as the winner of the first Jameel Prize for her work, 1001 Pages (2008). Mark Jones, Director of the V&A
presented Afruz Amighi with the prize, worth £25,000, at a ceremony at the V&A on Tuesday 7 July at 19.30.
The Jameel Prize is a new international art prize for contemporary artists and designers inspired by Islamic traditions of craft and design. Amighis winning work is informed by a broad range of Islamic sources, including carpet design, miniature painting and architectural decoration. Aged 34, Afruz Amighi was born in Tehran and lives and works in New York.
1001 Pages (2008) is from a series of shadow pieces in which she uses light and shadow to create complex and engaging designs whose precise location can elude the viewer. She employs a stencil burner to hand-cut the design from a thin, porous sheet of plastic a material used in the construction of refugee tents. The work is suspended, and an overhead projector illuminates the piece, which casts a shadow of the intricate pattern against a wall.
Mark Jones, chair of the judging panel and Director of the V&A, says Afruz Amighi has created something new, something that is skilful but which transcends that skill. The work is both striking and subtle, as well as being beautiful. Its use of projected light and shadow loosens the viewers focus on the created object, marking a passage from the material to the immaterial.
An exhibition of work by the winner and eight other short-listed artists and designers opens tomorrow (8 July) and runs until 13 September.
The Jameel Prize aims to raise awareness of the thriving interaction between contemporary practice and the rich artistic heritage of Islam, and to contribute to a broader debate about Islamic culture. The Prize will be awarded every two years.
The winner was decided by a panel of judges chaired by Mark Jones, Director of the V&A. The judges were: Jananne Al-Ani, artist; Khaled Azzam, CEO, The Princes School of Traditional Arts, London; Ali Yussef Khadra, Founder, Canvas Group, Dubai; Charles Merewether, art historian, writer and curator; Venetia Porter, curator, Middle Eastern Department, British Museum and Parviz Tanavoli, sculptor.
The eight other short-listed artists and designers are Hamra Abbas, Reza Abedini, Sevan Biçakçi, Hassan Hajjaj, Khosrow Hassanzadeh, Susan Hefuna, Seher Shah and Camille Zakharia.
Afruz Amighi (b. 1974 Tehran, Iran) lives and works in New York. Amighi received a BA in Political Science at Barnard College and a Master of Fine Arts from New York University in 2007. She has completed a residency program at the School of Visual Arts in New York and was selected for the Aljira Center for Contemporary Art Emerge Program in collaboration with Creative Capital (2006). She is currently working on a solo exhibition at Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, New York (opening spring 2010). Group shows include Just a Ghostly Paper Sigh, 31 Grand Gallery, New York (2007); Please Touch, G.A.S.P. Gallery Boston, Massachusetts (2006); and Young Americans, Charlotte and Philip Hanes Art Gallery, Wake Forest University, Winston Salem, North Carolina (2005). Amighis works explore the often-tumultuous social and political history of Iran. Highlighting her own absence from the people and events that shaped these accounts, she casts a unique perspective of modern Iran. Her work references the architecture, myths and religion of present-day Tehran together with textures taken from Persian carpets, beaded curtains and prayer beads.