Turkish fashion label wins prestigious Jameel Islamic art prize

Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:36pm EST
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By Freya Berry

LONDON (Reuters) - The Turkish fashion label Dice Kayek on Tuesday won the Jameel prize at London's Victoria and Albert Museum, which honors contemporary art inspired by Islamic tradition.

The 25,000-pound ($41,100) international prize, which is awarded every two years, has Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid as patron, and this year's judges included Thomas Heatherwick, designer of the London Olympic Cauldron.

Dice Kayek, a company begun by two sisters in 1992, took inspiration from the robes of Ottoman rulers and mosques to create the prize-winning structured dresses of lamé brocade and cotton.

Among the 10 finalists was Faig Ahmed from Azerbaijan, who has reimagined the oriental carpet by melding traditional patterns with dizzying computer-generated designs.

"I'm actually using the same technology as they (carpet-makers) have used for hundreds of years. But I'm using a computer to make the sketch," Ahmed said.

The seemingly traditional design of one of his carpets melts into pixels, while another appears to collapse into itself in one corner.

"When you change a design, it's like the links between the past and future," said Ahmed, whose works can take up to four months to create. "It's making a little earthquake in the mind."

Across the gallery, Pakistani-born artist Waqas Kahn's large drawing also tricks the eye: what seem to be hundreds of undulating narrow lines turn out to be thousands of tiny dots, painstakingly drawn by hand.   Continued...

Turkish designer Dice Kayek waves at the end of her Autumn/Winter 2007/08 ready-to-wear fashion collection in Paris February 26, 2007. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol