Tamayouz Excellence Award

Dia al-Azzawi Prize for Public Art

جائزة ضياء العزاوي للفن العام

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The Dia al-Azzawi Prize for Public Art 2023 is now closed.

About the prize

In 2021 Tamayouz Excellence Award launched its newest award, the biennial Dia al-Azzawi Prize for Public Art, which is part of Tamayouz Excellence Award’s programme of championing and celebrating the built and urban environment worldwide. The new award is named after the internationally celebrated Iraqi artist Dia al-Azzawi, one of the pioneers of modern Arab art, and will run biennially.


  • Recognise artworks within the urban context that have had a transformative impact on their community.

  • Empower and support young and emerging artists, architects, designers and studios.

  • Respond 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.

  • Create educational material in both Arabic and English based on the academic review, analysis and research undertaken on the submitted entries.

  • Introduce emerging and established regional artists to a wider community, nurturing a long-lasting network and community of like-minded individuals interested in the betterment of regional urban environments.

  • Establish dialogue with local authorities responsible for public art with the mission of enhancing public art in the Middle East and North Africa to that of an international level of excellence.
Al-Tahrir Tunnel Graffiti - Tishreen Uprising Artists
Photos A La Chair 7 - Background Artists Frances Stafford and Mustafa Halwachi


  • The Dia al-Azzawi Prize for Public Art seeks transformative permanent and temporary projects of all types ranging from murals, sculptures, monuments, urban performances, installations, public spaces, graffiti, architecture and planning. These artworks should not be exhibited in private spaces or as part of private collections, but rather in public spaces ensuring their accessibility to wider communities.

  • To be eligible for consideration, projects must be completed between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2022 and should have been exhibited have been exhibited long enough to allow for their impact on the surrounding environment to be verified.

  • There are no fixed criteria for the type, nature, or cost of public art projects, but eligible projects must be based in any of the following countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

  • Public Artworks submitted to previous cycles of the Dia al-Azzawi prize are not eligible.

award cycle

Each cycle comprises of 5 stages*

  • Nomination: receiving nominated artwork.


  • Longlisting: Nominated works will go through originality, appropriateness and eligibility screening conducted by a Tamayouz longlisting jury panel.
    Shortlisting: Longlisted artworks will go through a rigorous process that holistically and critically reviews the artwork and its impact; a shortlist of up to 20 public artworks will be selected.

  • Research: Based on the longlisting and shortlisting reviews, data gathering and independent research, a body of research will be created around the shortlisted works to be used as case studies and published in the award’s annual review/journal.

  • Winner selection: The final Tamayouz judging panel is comprised of established artists, architects, urbanists, designers and academics who will review the shortlist and select one winner and up to seven highly commended works.

  • The organising committee may contact the artists, architects or designers responsible for the artwork for further information or clarification.
Flatland - Studio Mais Alazab 3
Dia al-Azzawi prize statue

The prize

The winner of the Dia al-Azzawi Prize for Public Art will receive a statue and medal designed by Dia al-Azzawi. If the winner is a team, each member will receive a medal, while the whole team will receive one statue. Travel and flight expenses to attend the annual ceremony will be covered for the winner only (if the winner is a team, then they must select a representative to have their travel costs covered).  

Important dates

  • Launch: 1 March 2023
  • Submission Deadline: 30 November 2023
  • Shortlisting: Spring 2024
  • Winners Announcement: 2024
Dia al-Azzawi prize medal
Symphony of absence by Dina Haddadin


  • The Dia al-Azzawi Prize for Public Art is given every two years.
  • Submission Period: 1 March 2023 – 1 November 2023
    Criteria: Excellence is the fundamental criteria of the Dia al-Azzawi for Public Art: Excellence that is achieved through transformative impact on the project’s environment, excellence through design, narrative, engagement, materials and technique. Particular attention is given to public art projects representing the spirit or the collective feeling of modern times. Public art that reflects collaboration is encouraged.
  • Shortlist: The shortlist will be announced Spring 2024*
    The Jury: Nominated projects will be reviewed by a shortlisting panel. The selection of the recipient of the award will be made by the Jury after reviewing the submission materials and the reports of the shortlisting panel.
    Ceremony: The award’s prize will be given during the Tamayouz Excellence Award ceremony, which will be announced later during the year.

    * As the award organiser, Tamayouz Excellence Award reserves the right to modify the award schedule if deemed necessary.

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 archaeology 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.

    Azzawi’s artwork has been exhibited worldwide including a comprehensive retrospective held at Mathaf, Doha in 2016. His work has been collected by numerous prestigious museums and institutions including Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah; Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris; British Museum, London; Colas Foundation; Foundation ONA, Casablanca; Calouste Gulbenkian Collection, Lisbon; Guggenheim, Abu Dhabi; Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman; Kinda Foundation, Riyadh; Library of Congress, Washington D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum (LACMA), Los Angeles; Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha; Museum of Modern Art, Baghdad; Museum of Modern Art, Damascus; Museum of Modern Art, Tunis; Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah; Tate Modern, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London and The World Bank, Washington, D.C.

Play Video

Tishreen Uprising’s artworks win the inaugural Dia al-Azzawi Prize for Public Art in the Arab World

The prize also recognises two highly commended artworks this year, Flatland, a multi-faceted architectural installation by the Amman-based Studio Mais Al Azab and Symphony of absence, an installation part of “Island 861” a research project by Jordanian architect and artist Dina Haddadin.

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