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Jameel Prize 3 Exhibition in UAE Draws Huge Crowds
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 24 - 04 - 2015

Sharjah. The opening was also attended by Dr. Ibrahim Badawood, managing director of Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI). — Courtesy photo


Saudi Gazette report

A full program of free initiatives and workshops themed around the prestigious Jameel Prize 3 Exhibition has attracted hundreds of visitors from all sections of the community to the Museum of Islamic Civilization in Sharjah.

The international prize for art inspired by Islamic heritage is awarded by London's Victoria and Albert Museum in partnership with Art Jameel, one of the Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI).

Hosting a range of seminars aimed at all ages, from school children, to university students and the general public, the activities will continue until June 6, when the exhibition closes.

Last week, Pascal Zoghbi – one of the 10 Jameel Prize 3 finalists – conducted a series of Academic Workshop programs for students from the American University of Sharjah (AUS).

A well-regarded figure in the world of design and famed for his one-of-a-kind Arabic typography, Pascal flew to the UAE especially for the three-days of workshops and passed on his knowledge to the next generation of aspiring designers and artists.

“Throughout the academic workshops, I taught the students the history of Arabic fonts and their development through time. I showed them what inspires me and the different ideas and techniques I usually use when it comes to the creation of new shapes and types of Arabic fonts,” explained Zoghbi.

“The key sessions at the workshop discussed the seven different types of the Kufi font, and how it developed from the traditional bold look without dots in the first era of Islam to the beautiful geometric shape that relies on the dots and circles system in the Abbasid era, culminating in five new types in later eras. I also asked each student to choose a traditional word, write it in one of the Kufi scripts, and then to design a traditional word in a contemporary style, which I call abstract. I was surprised with their amazing artwork and they exceeded my expectations.”

Commenting on being shortlisted for the prestigious Jameel Prize 3, Zoghbi added: “What distinguished the third edition of the Jameel Prize in comparison to previous years, was the introduction of new art categories, including fashion design, jewelry design, and the creation of more modern collages based on traditional Arabic Calligraphy. I was nominated for the award not only for one specific artwork, but also for my important contribution in the creation of new Arabic fonts, which has enriched Arabic and Islamic culture, which I am proud to be part of and honored to represent. I am extremely proud to have been shortlisted as one of the 10 finalists for Jameel Prize 3.”

The key fonts he created with his 29 LT group were Azer, Bukra, Zard, Zayn and Al Abjadeyah Al Mohadda (UA NEO N &B). Each font has a meaning and a different use in the language. Azer font is a text and display type and is known for being friendly, while Zard is more serious and formal font. A number of newspapers in Lebanon and the Gulf have recently adopted Zard for their electronic and print platforms.

Renata Papsch, General Manager – Art Jameel International, said: “The success of these academic workshops is solid evidence of the continuous role that Jameel Prize initiatives play in reviving the contemporary Islamic art scene, as well as driving interest from a new generation. We would very much like to see younger people getting more involved and contributing to this unique type of art.

I was impressed with the work of the students, which was inspired by the artwork of various Jameel Prize finalists, especially Pascal Zoghbi. I hope that these talented students will continue to practice what they have learned here and would like to see some of them in the near future applying to such a prestigious prize”.

Last month, members of the public flocked to a ‘Contemporary Design' workshop inspired by the work of French designer Florie Salnot, one of the 10 finalists of the Jameel Prize 3. Entitled ‘Desert Jewelry', the workshop was delivered by a talented local designer, Manmeet Padam.

School children up to the age of 18 have also toured the exhibition, which has provided a unique learning experience, and specially commissioned academic programs for university students of fashion have also been hosted, with classes on typography and jewelry design to come later this month. The museum also successfully hosted families with children aged 9-13 at its hugely popular Spring Camp from March 30 to April 2. With lots of activities, the camp invited children for two days of interactive learning and fun, allowing younger members of the family to create their own designs based around the Jameel Prize 3 artworks.

Additionally, the museum also ran a four-day Different Disabilities Spring Camp that was again tailored around the Jameel Prize 3 Exhibition. It gave guests a chance to unleash their inner creativity while learning about textiles, sketching and cutting, and fashion manufacture.

“We are delighted to have welcomed and engaged so many visitors to our wide range of workshops built around our Jameel Prize 3 Exhibition,” said Manal Ataya, director general, Sharjah Museums Department (SMD).

“Academic engagement is one of our key priorities and our upcoming Pascal Zogbhi workshops promise to really add value to the studies of university students attending from Sharjah, offering many educational benefits for those attending – the opportunity to learn first-hand from such a talented artist is invaluable and unique in the UAE.

“To be able to inspire and educate such a wide array of the community has been a unique privilege and is a very important facet of our work. The exhibition will run until June so visitors that have missed out will get the chance to learn more about not only this wonderful contemporary art prize but about Sharjah's rich cultural heritage.”

The exhibition features diverse works of 10 artists and designers – including Arabic typography, fashion inspired by the architectural and cultural heritage of Istanbul, video installations and meditative drawings – that were previously on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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

The Jameel Prize, whose patron is award-winning architect Dame Zaha Hadid, was launched in 2009 to showcase the rich artistic heritage of the Islamic world.

The £25,000 prize aims to create a broader understanding of Islamic culture and its place in the world by demonstrating its influence on contemporary art.


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