Rachid Koraïchi, Seven Doors of Heaven, metal
Made in Paris, 1993
Rachid Koraïchi was born in 1947 in Algeria. He is from a Sufi family, Sufism being the mystical aspect of Islam. He studied at the Algerian École des Beaux-Arts before moving to Paris in 1971, where he continued his studies at a variety of institutions including the Parisian École des Beaux-Arts. Koraïchi's work is rooted in calligraphy but he is a master of various media, including ceramics, textiles and metalwork. He has twice exhibited at the Venice Biennale.
Koraïchi's Seven Doors of Heaven was on display in the Ground Force Africa Garden. The work, made of metal and drawing on calligraphy, is a reference to the seven doors of heaven and hell mentioned in the Qur'an. The number seven is also associated with the Sufi concept of the 'journey', which is reflected in the design of the Africa Garden.
Another work by Koraïchi, The Path of Roses, can be seen in the Sainsbury African Galleries (Room 25). This installation consists of several different elements, including embroidered silk cloths, ceramic ablution bowls and steel sculptures (pictured). It pays homage to the thirteenth-century Sufi mystic and poet Jalal al-Din al-Rumi who travelled through North Africa before founding the Dervish order in Turkey. Like much of Koraïchi's work, it explores Africa's complex contribution to Islamic culture and philosophy.
J. Mack (ed.), Africa: arts and cultures (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)
On loan from Rachid Koraichi, courtesy of the October Gallery .