x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Jameel Prize is 'about nurturing talent'

Fady Jameel, the man behind the Jameel Prize, tells us about its role in contemporary art.

Fady Jameel says the award allows
Fady Jameel says the award allows "artists to continue exploring the roots of Islam and the role of its traditions in the world today". Courtesy ALJCI

As president of Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI), Fady Jameel is concerned with the welfare of individuals. The organisation, named after his grandfather, funds international art and culture programmes including the restoration of public art in his native Jeddah.

Why did ALJCI found the Jameel Prize?

Islamic culture has had a strong influence over the centuries and we want to nurture this connection. With the Jameel Prize we encourage artists to continue exploring the roots of Islam and the role of its traditions in the world today, whether it is in the form of traditional or contemporary artwork, craft or design.

Why is it important to recognise Islamic traditions today?

Our traditions remain very much alive in Muslim countries and the Middle East in general. Our traditions influence the way we approach our contemporary lifestyles. When people appreciate art, we want them to think about where the inspiration came from. Once they discover the roots, they should be understood correctly. The reality is that Islam is a tolerant culture; we have many poets and thinkers who have shaped the world in a positive way. This message can be clearly found when interpreting contemporary art today.

How do you feel when you see Jameel Prize winners go on to become more successful in their careers?

Extremely proud and humble at the same time, since our efforts to support artists and Islamic art have paid off. There is nothing more satisfying than to see someone who maybe otherwise wouldn't have had the opportunity to do so flourish in what they are good at. This is what all of our initiatives are about, nurturing talent and assisting them so they can grow and succeed independently.

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