Pakistani artist Ghulam Mohammad has won the £25,000 Jameel Prize 4 for his five works of paper collage, four Untitled and one with the title Gunjaan (2014). Ayşe and Ece Ege, founders of Turkish fashion label Dice Kayek and winners of Jameel Prize 3, presented Ghulam Mohammad with the Prize at a ceremony at the Pera Museum, Istanbul, on Tuesday 7 June.

image Ghulam Mohammed, Jameel Prize 4 winner. Photo © Suna and Inan Kırac, Foundation Pera Museum

The judges felt that Ghulam Mohammad’s work stood out for its excellence of concept and execution. He trained in the Islamic tradition of miniature painting, and, in his diminutive works in paper collage, he developed a medium that reflects that tradition in terms of his approach and the scale on which he works. Yet his practice has a striking character of its own. His craftsmanship is impressive, and it reflects many virtuoso traditions in the Islamic world, especially those associated with calligraphy. His way of working resembles a meditative process, during which he translates real text from discarded books into the language of art. His work is remarkable for its multi-layered meanings, his avowed concern being with the hierarchy of languages in Pakistan and his personal experience of it. The judges were particularly moved by the paradox between the intensity and the modesty of his collages.

image Ghulam Mohammed, Untitled / Photo Credit: Usman Javaid

Martin Roth, Director of the V&A and chair of the panel of judges, said, “As in previous Prizes, selecting the winner was extremely difficult, given the very high standard of the shortlisted work. Over the four cycles of the Jameel Prize so far, the award has been made to artists and designers at every stage of their creative lives. I am pleased to see that Jameel Prize 4 has been won by such a promisıng young artist at the beginning of his career.”

Mr Fady Jameel, President of Community Jameel International, said, “We would like to congratulate Ghulam Mohammad, the first artist from Pakistan to win the Jameel Prize. Using second-hand books, Mohammad’s intricate collages of paper cuttings of Urdu script pasted on Wasli paper create new meanings and celebrate the great heritage of Islamic art, craft and design. The vision of the Jameel Prize is to promote artists who explore traditional Islamic influences through contemporary art.”

image Ghulam Mohammed, Untitled / Courtesy of Ghulam Mohammad

Ghulam Mohammad’s four works Untitled (2014) and one with the title Gunjaan (2014) demonstrate his highly intricate work, taking individual paper cuttings of Urdu script and adding components of gold and silver leaf and ink to complete his collages.

The Pera Museum, Istanbul, Turkey presents an exhibition of works by the winner and the ten other artists and designers shortlisted for the fourth edition of the Jameel Prize until 14 August 2016. They are: David Chalmers Alesworth, Rasheed Araeen, Lara Assouad, CANAN, Cevdet Erek, Sahand Hesamiyan, Lucia Koch, Shahpour Pouyan, Wael Shawky and Bahia Shehab.

Awarded every two years, the Jameel Prize, founded in partnership with Art Jameel, is a £25,000 international art prize organised by the V&A, for contemporary artists and designers inspired by Islamic traditions of art, craft and design. This is the first time that the Jameel Prize is launched at an external venue and the exhibition will in future rotate between the V&A and guest venues around the world.

image Ghulam Mohammed, Untitled / Courtesy of Ghulam Mohammad

The winner was decided by a panel of judges chaired by Martin Roth, Director of the V&A. The judges are potter Alan Caiger-Smith, Ece and Ayşe Ege, founders of the fashion label Dice Kayek and winners of Jameel Prize 3, Rose Issa, curator, writer, publisher and producer and Hammad Nasar, curator, writer and Head of Research and Programmes at Asia Art Archive (AAA), Hong Kong.

Launched in 2009, the winner of the first Jameel Prize was Afruz Amighi for her work 1001 Pages (2008), an intricate hand-cut screen made from the woven plastic used to construct refugee tents. In 2011 Rachid Koraïchi was awarded the prize for his work Les Maîtres Invisibles (The Invisible Masters, 2008), a group of embroidered cloth banners which display Arabic calligraphy and symbols and ciphers to explore the lives and legacies of the 14 great mystics of Islam. In 2013 the winner of Jameel Prize 3 was Dice Kayek, a Turkish fashion label established in 1992 by Ece and Ayşe Ege for their work Istanbul Contrast, a collection that evokes Istanbul’s architectural and artistic heritage. This was the first time the Jameel Prize was awarded to designers. Ayşe and Ece Ege are on the judging panel for this year’s prize.

image Ghulam Mohammed, Untitled / Photo Credit: Usman Javaid

The Jameel Prize is supported by Art Jameel. The prize was conceived after the renovation of the V&A’s Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art, which opened in July 2006 and will be celebrating its tenth anniversary this summer. The gallery is an outstanding presentation of the rich artistic heritage of the Islamic Middle East, and the Prize aims to raise awareness of the thriving interaction between contemporary practice and the great historical legacy of the region. It has also contributed to a broader understanding of Islamic culture as well as its place in the contemporary world.

The Jameel Prize 4 exhibition is curated by Tim Stanley, senior curator for the V&A’s Middle Eastern collection, with Salma Tuqan, the V&A’s curator of Middle Eastern contemporary art and design.

image Ghulam Mohammed, Gunjaan, 2014. Private Collection of Abid Merchant / Photo Credit: Majyd Bayg

Ghulam Mohammad

Ghulam Mohammad was born in 1979, in Kachi, Pakistan. He lives and works in Lahore, Pakistan, where he graduated from Beaconhouse National University with a BA in Fine Arts in 2013. Mohammad uses language and script as a medium of expression of both his own identity and cultural, historical and contemporary identity. His works are intricate collages of paper cuttings of Urdu script pasted on Wasli paper sometimes embellished with gold and silver leaf and Iranian ink. Solo exhibitions include KutubKhana, Sanat Art Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan (2015). Group exhibitions include Lahore Literary Festival, Lahore, Pakistan (2015); Canvas Art Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan (2014); Sanat Art Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan (2014); Art Hub, Abu Dhabi, UAE (2014); Satrang Art Gallery, Islamabad, Pakistan (2014); Ejaz Gallery, Lahore, Pakistan (2010); Hamail Art Gallery, Lahore, Pakistan (2009) and Arts Council, Quetta, Pakistan (2009). Mohammad was awarded the Beaconhouse Emerging Talent Award for Art, Lahore Literary Festival in 2015.

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