lundi 14 novembre 2011

Rachid Koraïchi

'The Invisible Masters', Rachid Koraichi, 2008.
Courtesy of October Gallery, photo by Jonathan Greet

Algerian born Rachid Koraïchi has won the £25,000 Jameel Prize for a selection of embroidered cloth banners from a series entitled Les Maitres invisibles (The Invisible Masters), 2008. Martin Roth, Director of the V&A, Hasan Jameel and Ed Vaizey MP, presented Rachid Koraïchi with the prize at a ceremony at the V&A on Monday 12 September.

The Judges felt that Rachid’s work matches the aims of the Jameel Prize through its qualities of design and reliance on traditional craft. They particularly admired how he has made his great spiritual and intellectual lineage accessible to all through the graphic language he has created out of his artistic heritage.

Koraichi uses Arabic calligraphy, and symbols and ciphers from a range of other languages and cultures to explore the lives and legacies of the 14 great mystics of Islam. The work aims to show that the world of Islam, in contrast to contemporary perceptions of crisis and violence, has another side entirely, evident in the tolerant and sophisticated writings of great Muslim thinkers and poets such as Rumi and El Arabi. These ‘masters’, whose fame has spread even to the West, left an imprint on successive generations and their message is just as relevant today as when first written down.

Professor Martin Roth, chair of the judging panel and Director of the V&A, said “Rachid’s work stood out because his banners have a universal appeal. They work in the white space of a contemporary art gallery, but they also hold their own in historical settings – from Parisian palaces to simple Sufi shrines.”
The winner was decided by a panel of judges chaired by Professor Martin Roth, Director of the V&A. The judges were: Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Director, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Qatar; Navid Akhtar, Executive Director, Gazelle Media; Afruz Amighi, artist; and Dina Bakhoum, Conservation Programme Manager, The Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Egypt.

Rachid Koraïchi's winning entry features embroidered cloth banners from a series entitled 'Les Maitres invisibles' (The Invisible Masters, 2008). The series is a long-term project dealing with the lives and legacies of the fourteen great mystics of Islam. Koraïchi cites great Muslim thinkers and poets like Rumi and El Arabi to show the sophistication and tolerance of Islamic ideology and how relevant it is today.

He has consistently attempted to reconcile Islamic tradition and mysticism with the aim to revive and re-invent his countries' artistic legacy. Koraïchi puts huge value upon the craftsmen he works with as the keepers and messengers of the ‘know how’. His work is a tribute to his ancestors’ spirituality, craftsmanship and journey through history and his work draws on numerology and signs.

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