An intricate painting resembling interconnected threads, symbolising the fragility of familial relationships, and serving as a poignant representation of the Hazara experience has been awarded the Australian Muslim Artists Art Prize 2023.
The detailed, and life-like work by Rubaba Haider is one of sixteen pieces on display in the Islamic Museum of Australia’s annual, shortlisted exhibition whose acquisitive cash prize is supported by La Trobe University.
Haider’s work reflects her lived experience as a Pakistan-born Hazara, whose forebears relocated there to avoid persecution in Afghanistan. The persecution followed her family to Pakistan, resulting in their immigration to Australia in the mid-2000’s.
Of her work, Haider says she’s inspired by the idea of location/relocation, the loss of old relationships and the gaining of new relationships as a result of movement.
“The threads, knots and sutures show the resilience of some relations that hold on dearly and persevere through hardships while the unravelling of threads show those relations that become lost and dark.” Ms Haider said.
The exhibition features an array of artistic disciplines, including painting, photography, digital art, calligraphy, and mixed media. By bringing together a diverse range of artists, the exhibition aims to celebrate the rich tapestry of cultures within the Australian Muslim community and foster a deeper understanding of the intersection between art, faith, and identity.
Islamic Museum of Australia General Manager, Mei Nee Cheong said the exhibition is a celebration of artistic expression that transcends boundaries and challenges perceptions.
"Through this exhibition, we hope to showcase the immense talent within the Australian Muslim community and create an inclusive space where people from all walks of life can engage with art that reflects the diversity of our nation," Ms Cheong said.
La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO said the Australian Muslim Arts Prize recognised the immense creative talent within Australia’s Muslim community.
“This is the fifth year La Trobe University has been involved in the Australian Muslim Art Prize, and each year the quality of the work from artists around Australia is outstanding,” Professor Dewar said.
“We are proud to recognise and celebrate the wonderful achievement of this year’s winner and warmly congratulate Rubaba Haider on her award.”
Islamic Museum of Australia Senior Curator Dr Mahmoud Mohammed said the interest in the Australian Muslim Artists exhibition has increased since the introduction of the La Trobe University sponsored prize.
“While we’re thrilled the Prize has been awarded to a Melbourne-based artist for the first time, it was wonderful to see submissions from Australian artists based in Sydney, Dubai and Oman,” Dr Mohammed said.
Shortlisting for Australian Muslim Artists was conducted by a panel of judges including Dr Stefano Carboni, 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 Senior Curator at Islamic Museum of Australia, Dr Mahmoud Mohammed.
The Australian Muslim Artists exhibition is on display from 16 August – 11 November 2023 at the Museum and online at islamicmuseum.org.au.
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.
Mei Nee Cheong, General Manager, Islamic Museum of Australia
0414 264 987, firstname.lastname@example.org
Charisse Ede, Senior Media & Comms Manager, La Trobe University
0404 030 698, email@example.com