Art: Afruz Amighi Wins the Inaugural Jameel Prize

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Afruz Amighi Winning the Jameel PrizeHaving funded the acclaimed Jameel Gallery for Islamic Art at the Victoria and Albert Museum in memory of his Father, Saudi business man, philanthrope and entrepreneur Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel’s latest realisation with the V&A is the biennial Jameel Prize for art.

At 730pm Tuesday 7th July Afruz Amighi was the jubilant recipient of the inaugural Jameel Prize of £25,000 for her delicate piece of hanging tracery, 1001 Pages, made from the plastic sheeting given to refugees.  Born in Iran and based in the US 35 year old Afruz Amighi was chosen from a hundred nominees who were shortlisted to nine.   Amongst the distinguished panel of judges were the seemingly ubiquitous Zaha Hadid and the British Museum’s eminent Venetia Porter.  See V&A video of the announcement at the bottom of this article.

1001 Pages by Afruz AmighiThe exhibition of all the shortlisted Jameel Prize artists runs 8th July to 13th September, those shortlisted are/were: Hamra Abbas, Reza Abedini, Afruz Amighi, Sevan Biçakçi, Hassan Hajjaj, Khosrow Hassanzadeh, Susan Hefuna, Seher Shah and Camille Zakharia.  Click HERE for more detail and pictures.

Can or does the heritage of Islamic art inspire contemporary art and design?

This is the subject that the Jameel Prize tackles. Islamic, in this context, is not restricted to Islam as a religion per se, rather the common cultural thread with which the spread of Islam linked the Indo-European, Arab, North African and the myriad of other cultures of the region spanning east from Morocco into India. Nor is the Jameel Prize limited to people who find their origins in that region, the prize is open to anyone who draws their inspiration from Islamic heritage.

The works of the short listed artists are to be found in an inconspicuous side-gallery on the western side of the V&A’s central courtyard. Though slightly nonplussed by the somewhat claustrophobic condition and low light we discovered an intriguing mix of art and styles, from Moroccan Hassan Hajjaj’s witty installation, Le Salon, Hassan Hajjaj via Iranian Reza Abedini’s stylised posters incorporating calligraphy and Lebanese Camille Zakharia’s geometric patterns made from road markings, to the geometry of Egyptian/German Susan Hefuna’s take on a mashrabiyyah screen and, of course, Afruz Amighi’s stunning piece, 1001 Pages. At every turn there is art that illuminates a different aspect, that draws from the other side of the, frankly, many sided coin of Islamic heritage. Consider Hamra Abbas’ piece “Please Do Not Step: Loss of a Magnificent Tale”, words written on the floor whose letters are made up from a collage of words, or Sevan Biçakçi’s jewellery with miniature designs and micro mosaics; the richness of the exhibition is a feast.
Reza Abedini
Our sole issue with the Jameel Prize exhibition is, why is it so small? The answer we assume is in the adage, “mighty oaks from little acorns grow”.  Go and see the Jameel Prize exhibition and take in the Jameel Gallery too.


V&A’s Jameel Prize page: Jameel Prize
Hamra Abbas, born in Kuwait and currently lives between Pakistan and the USA. 
Reza Abedini, born in Iran and lives and works in Iran and the Netherlands. 
Afruz Amighi, born in Iran and now lives and works in the USA. 
Sevan Biçakçi, born in Turkey, where he still lives and works. 
Hassan Hajjaj, born in Morocco and now lives and works between Morocco and the UK. 
Khosrow Hassanzadeh, born in and lives in Iran. 
Susan Hefuna, born in Germany and lives and works in Egypt and Germany. 
Seher Shah, born in Pakistan and now lives in the USA. 
Camille Zakharia, born in Lebanon and is now living in Bahrain.

Afruz Amighi Announcement and Interview:

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5 Responses
  1. jamshid amighi :

    Date: July 9, 2009 @ 7:39 pm

    What can a proud father say? I always knew she was very special and talented. Those who know her value her humanity more than her exceptionaltalent.

  2. sirous Farvahari :

    Date: July 28, 2009 @ 5:25 am

    I am proud of her. She is a special person and have a wonderfull parents who support her all her life.

  3. Lio Faridani :

    Date: July 29, 2009 @ 10:15 pm

    Dear Afruz congratulate you on your fantastic accomplishment of winning the famouse Jameel Prize! It brings great pleasure for me to see an artist like you achieve such wonderful and well-deserved success. This will, no doubt, bring notice to your artwork and heighten your prestige in the art world. I found your piece ‘1001 Pages’ to be very inspiring and unique; a beautiful and delicate interpretation of Persian art and design.

    I wish you all the best on your future endeavours, and hope that you continue to draw inspiration and motivation from this formidable success.

    Best regards,

    Lio Faridani

  4. EXPOSITION: Les nominés du Jameel Prize 2011 à l’IMA | Ustaza à Paris :

    Date: December 7, 2011 @ 12:25 am

    […] Rachid Koraïchi qui a remporté le prix cette année (petite vidéo en prime), contre Afruz Amighi l’année […]


    Date: January 8, 2012 @ 2:51 am

    Dear Afruz I received the above massage by a visitor of my youtube Karim Amighi. My Congratulation to you and your parents! Born as “Amighi” is an obligation to achieve the excellency!

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