Rachid Koraichi Wins the Prestigious 2011 Jameel Prize
  • Tue, 09/13/2011
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13 September 2011

Algerian-born Rachid Koraichi has won the prestigious Jameel Prize, the V&A museum in London has announced, for his work entitled Les Maitres Invisibles (pictured above).

Established in 2009, the £25,000 prize honours international art and design inspired by Islamic tradition.

Ten artists and designers were shortlisted for the award, which is presented every two years, from almost 200 nominations from across the globe.

Koraichi's winning work consisted of embroidered banners inscribed with Arabic symbols and ciphers. His work often explores Africa's complex contribution to Islamic culture and philosophy.

The artist, who now lives in Tunisia and France, was born into a Sufi family - Sufism being a mystical aspect of Islam, and his work entitled Les Maitres Invisibles (The Invisible Masters), is a tribute to 14 mystic personalities from the Islamic world.

Koraichi uses Arabic calligraphy, and symbols and ciphers from a range of other languages and cultures to explore the lives and legacies of the the 14 great mystics. Koraichi 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.

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.

"Rachid's work stood out because his banners have a universal appeal," said Martin Roth, chairman of the judging panel, and director of the V&A.

"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."

Nominated works for the Jameel Prize ranged from traditional Iranian felt garments, to complex architectural models, placed upon densely-patterned Persian rugs.

All of the pieces incorporated an element of traditional Islamic craft and design.

An exhibition of work by the winner and nine other short-listed artists and designers runs until 25 September.

The exhibition will then embark on an international tour travelling to venues across the United States and Europe including the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris in winter 2011/12; the Casa Árabe, Madrid in spring/summer 2012; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in autumn 2012; and Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University in winter 2012/13.

Afruz Amighi, who won the inaugural Jameel prize in 2009, was among the judges this year.


"Banners win Jameel prize at V&A" BBC News September 12, 2011

"V&A Announces winner of the Jameel Prize 2011" Creative Boom September 13, 2011