Tamayouz Excellence Award

Tamayouz Launches the second cycle of the Dia Al-Azzawi Prize For Public Art

Tamayouz Excellence Award is proud to launch the 2023 Dia al-Azzawi Prize for Public Art. Named after the renowned contemporary Iraqi artist Dia al-Azzawi, in recognition of his role in furthering modern art and culture in the Arab world and beyond, the prize is the latest addition to Tamayouz’s growing awards programme, which champions positive contributions to the urban environment.

The Dia al-Azzawi Prize for Public Art is a biennial award that aims to empower emerging and established artists and designers who have completed public art between January 2017 and December 2022. The prize will highlight art in the public realm across Arab countries, while introducing the artists behind them to a wider community and regional government authorities responsible for public art in the Middle East.

By focusing on public art, the Dia al-Azzawi Prize will recognise art that is not housed in museums or private collections, but rather, artworks in urban contexts, including murals, sculptures, monuments, urban performances, installations, graffiti and architecture, from permanent to temporary.

Coventry University Academic and the Founding Director of Tamayouz Excellence Award, Ahmed Al-Mallak said: “We are delighted to launch the Dia al-Azzawi prize, as a biennial celebration of the the work and achievements of Iraqi artist Dia al-Azzawi. A driving force behind the award launch is the response to a challenging phase for public art in the Near East and North Africa — where there is a crucial need for a more accomplished and exemplary contemporary evaluation and assessment of work.”

The award also intends to respond to such challenges by inviting the public and professionals to take part in a debate, and explore the importance of public art and its intention of place-making, highlighting its ability to make long-term transformative changes to the environment. This will be achieved through the publishing of a body of research related to the shortlisted project, public talks and lectures.

The prize encourages multidisciplinary collaboration, and individuals or teams of various professional backgrounds, including (but not limited to) architecture, design, art, urbanism and landscape, are welcome to submit their projects, as long as these projects were completed within the last five years.

About Dia al-Azzawi

Regarded as one of Iraq’s greatest painters, Dia al-Azzawi started his artistic career in 1964, after graduating from the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad and completing a degree in archaeoloAgy from Baghdad University in 1962. In 1969, Azzawi (with Rafa Nasiri, Mohammad Muhriddin, Ismail Fattah, Hachem al-Samarchi and Saleh al-Jumaie) formed the New Vision Group (al-Ru’yya al-Jadidah), uniting fellow artists ideologically and culturally as opposed to stylistically. Through his involvement with the New Vision Group, Azzawi found inspiration in contemporary subjects and issues, particularly the plight of Palestinians. He was also briefly a member of Shakir Hassan Al Said’s One Dimension group (Jama’t al-Bu’d al-Wahid). From 1968–76, Azzawi was the director of the Iraqi Antiquities Department in Baghdad. He has lived in London since 1976, where he served as art advisor to the city’s Iraqi Cultural Centre from 1977–80. Azzawi’s move to London led him to rediscover book art (dafater), an art form that he has encouraged other artists from Iraq and the region to explore. As well as his painting practice, Azzawi also works in sculpture, tapestry and printmaking.

Tamayouz Excellence Award is sponsored by Dewan Architects + Engineers, Kufa – Makiya Charity, the Iraqi Business Council in Jordan, Coventry University, Bonair Ltd, the United Nations Global Compact – Iraq Network, Round City Magazine and Oman Society of Engineers.