Tamayouz Excellence Award is proud to announce the launch of a new award to its programme, the Dia al-Azzawi Prize for Public Art in the Arab world.
Tamayouz Excellence Award is proud to announce the launch of a new award, the Dia al-Azzawi Prize for Public Art. Named after the renowned contemporary Iraqi artist Dia al-Azzawi in honour of his many achievements and his role in furthering modern art and culture in the Middle East 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 biannual award that aims to empower emerging and established artists and designers who have completed public art between January 2016 and June 2021. 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 an annual celebration of the the work and achievements of Iraqi artist Dia al-Azzawi. A driving force behind the award launch is the degradation of the quality of public art in the Arab world, and the Dia al-Azzawi Prize aims to address and challenge this by recognising public art that reflects its community, shares stories and humanises the urban environment.”
The award also intends to tackle such issues by inviting the public and professionals to take part in 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 done by publishing a body of research and data related to the shortlisted projects, and making the informative case studies accessible to the general public.
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 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.
Tamayouz Excellence Award is sponsored by Coventry University, the Iraqi Business Council in Jordan, Kufa – Makiya Charity, Dewan Architects + Engineers, Ayad Al-Tuhafi Architects, Bonair Ltd, British Airways, Final Fix Interiors, JT+Partners, LWK + PARTNERS, and the United Nations Global Compact – Iraq Network.