One of the country’s most highly regarded Muslim artists is the recipient of the Australian Muslim Artists Art Prize 2021.
Fatima Killeen’s collagraphic print, The Crooked Narrative fuses images of a pomegranate and a hand grenade, and speaks to the juxtaposition of the destructive weapon (which takes its name from the French word pomme-grenade) and the sacred fruit – a symbol of life and fertility.
Speaking from lockdown in Canberra, Killeen was overcome when Islamic Museum of Australia’s Founder and Director, Moustafa Fahour OAM delivered the news via Zoom on Wednesday 18 August 2021.
“I was so happy just to be shortlisted. This exhibition is always an incentive to me to keep working and not give up. I’m always keen to share my ideas and show some concern I have for Muslim nations through my work. This is as good as it gets for me,” said Killeen.
Australian Muslim Artists is an annual exhibition hosted by the Islamic Museum of Australia (IMA) in partnership with La Trobe University, which this year saw entries from artists across the country.
Mr Fahour said Ms Killeen was a deserving winner in a very competitive field.
“They say a picture paints a thousand words. Fatima dedicates her time and craft to interpreting compelling and important narratives. Her work enables the viewer to see matters of war and destruction through a unique lens, and to consider the impact of war in a different light.”
“When La Trobe University first came on board to support the Art Prize three years ago, we never imagined that a pandemic would interrupt our lives so uniformly, and over such an extended period of time. Artists and the arts industry have suffered tremendously over the last two years, and that we’re able to support them through this exhibition is a privilege, and it’s so exciting to have received so many high quality submissions,” said Mr Fahour.
Once again, the seventeen shortlisted works represent the depth of talent among Muslim artists and highlight the cultural diversity of Muslims in Australia. In 2021, artists included those who migrated from countries such as Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Nigeria, India and Malaysia.
Further, this year, a record number of female artists submitted work, and were included in the shortlist.
La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO, said the University is committed to supporting initiatives such as the Australian Muslim Artists Art Prize which build strong connections with Australia’s diverse communities.
“La Trobe congratulates Fatima Killeen on her work, The Crooked Narrative. It is a piece of great depth and complexity and is a worthy winner,” Professor Dewar said.
“La Trobe University is honoured to sponsor the Prize and delighted to welcome the first female recipient with such a powerful work.”
Shortlisting for Australian Muslim Artists was conducted by a panel of judges including Dr Stefano Carboni, currently CEO of the Museums Commission for the Ministry of Culture, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Bala Starr, Director of La Trobe Art Institute; community representative Dr Anisa Buckley and IMA curator, Dr Mahmoud Mohammed.
The Australian Muslim Artists exhibition is on display from 20 August – 20 November 2021 at islamicmuseum.org.au. Museum guests can see the physical exhibition when the IMA re-opens.
As an acquisitive prize, the artwork will become part of the La Trobe Art Institute which manages a collection of art acquired by the University and which has an exhibition and education facility in the arts precinct of central Bendigo.