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The Prince's School of Traditional Arts Announces Details of Annual Student Prize - The Jerwood Prize
Painted ceiling for mosque in progress.

LONDON.- The Prince’s School for Traditional Arts (PSTA) has today announced details of the second Jerwood Prize for Traditional Arts. Established with the Jerwood Foundation in 2008, the prize is an annual award granted to one student at the PSTA to recognize exceptional work and talent in the field of traditional arts and craftsmanship. This year, five students from the PSTA degree course will compete for the £5,000 Jerwood Prize which will be presented at a special award ceremony on 14 July 2009. The only school of its kind, the PSTA’s principle aim is to encourage appreciation and understanding of the universal values fundamental to the arts of the great traditions of the world; the short-listed students this year include those from Bangladesh, Iraq, Jordan, Lahore and the USA.

“I am delighted that the Jerwood Foundation will be involved with the Prince’s School for Traditional Arts once again, demonstrating academic rigour, discipline and exemplary achievement” commented Alan Grieve, Chairman of the Jerwood Foundation. “The School represents a very special example of all that the Jerwood Foundation stands for; to fund responsible and imaginative initiatives within the visual and performing arts, to support talented professionals in the early years of their careers, and to support excellence in all areas of human endeavour.”

Although theoretical programmes exist at postgraduate level in many western universities, there are few, if any, colleges apart from the Prince’s School where the practical skills of traditional arts are taught at this level, and where all the major traditions are studied in tandem, enabling students to explore the connections between them. The hand-crafted traditional artworks of postgraduate students will be exhibited at the School’s gallery in Shoreditch, from 7-17 July, marking the end of their degree and offering the public a wonderful opportunity to view and purchase some of their finest work. This year’s short-listed artists include:

Tasleema Alam is from Bangladesh and worked as an administrator/PA for 17 years before she joined the School. Her motivation for undertaking the MA at PSTA originates from a desire to explore her roots from diverse perspectives, including faith and culture - reflecting her upbringing; partly in UK, partly abroad. Along with friends, Tasleema has established a networking group for Islamic artists to provide a platform to gain commissions in the UK. Her final year project happened to coincide with a commission for Madina Mosque in Sheffield. The mosque has four areas to be designed and managed: the entrance hall ceilings; 2 mihrabs and a dome. Tasleema has managed the entire project. Her personal commission is a painted ceiling, inspired by the Moroccan technique, Zwaq, which will be the main piece for her MA show.

Layali Arabat, originally from Jordan, graduated with a BA in traditional Islamic art from the Al-Balqa University in Jordan. On completion of her MA, she will return to Al-Balqa University to teach. Her final project is a study of Islamic geometry using different materials and techniques, including: painting geometric and Islimi designs; wood marquetry to create a mirror frame; ceramic plates using Arabic calligraphy; and a ceramics table top inspired by the Alhambra, Granada and the Moroccan Zillij mosaic technique. These pieces are designed for enjoyment and practical use, as beauty and function are essential principles within traditional arts.

Sabah Bapir is from Iraq and moved to the UK in 2001 to practice traditional Arabic calligraphy. For his final project he has researched the underlying geometric form of each calligraphic letter. Through an in-depth knowledge of these structures he has experimented with colour and materials to produce contemporary artworks. Using the 99 names of god he has produced ceramic pots and paper-based traditional calligraphy.

Sara Salman graduated from the National College of Arts, Lahore in 2002, with a major in painting. She practiced as a professional artist and teacher before coming to the PSTA. For her final project she has used geometric design to explore floral structures and patterns. She has collected floral references whilst travelling in Britain and used them as a basis for a series of paintings. After graduating she will return to Lahore to teach the philosophy and approach to art that she has practiced at the School.

April Varnerl is from the USA and is a painter. For her final project she has created a series of ceramic plates using inglaze and under-glaze to develop new designs using pencil drawings and watercolours. She has taken inspiration from geometric design and Islimi patterns.

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